Shedquarters: Part 1 – The Build

SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

I spent alot of time in these wellies in the Spring and Summer of this year. If you follow me on Social Media you’l know why. If you don’t, then you may not be aware that I finally got the sewing space of my dreams or, as I like to call it #shedqurters 😉

This is the log cabin in question (although it looks a little different now but more on that in later posts!). It’s a 4m x 3m kit form construction. 38mm thick “logs” and double glazed. It’s an upgrade from the summerhouse that I had to leave behind when we moved last year. And overall we lavished much more time, money and thought on this one than the last. Largely because having worked in one before I had a better idea of what I needed from this one; but also as a kind of compensation that I had to wait a year to get my sewing space back! And man am I in love with my new space. There’ll be a full tour of the finished space of course but the process was a long one with alot to share. So I’ve split it up into 2 posts. This is the nitty gritty part!SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

The cabin itself is a Mercia 4m x 3m Home Office Director Log Cabin. It’s JUST under the point where building/planning regulations for our size of garden kick in. So if you’re thinking of doing something similar it’s worth bearing in mind. It’s a little complicated in so much as it’s not a straightforward “formula”. It has to do with what percentage of your overall outdoor space the building will take up, the clearance around the structure and it’s proximity to the house/neighbours, whether it has electric etc. More info on regs can be found here for the UK. For other parts of the world I guess local authority websites will hold the answer. We ordered direct from the manufacturer and paid the extra to have it erected. It’s totally doable yourself but  soooo much quicker when you have someone that knows what they’re doing.

This is the spot we had earmarked for Shedquarters. There was quite alot of work to be done ahead of the installation date! First we had to clear that space and lay a concrete base…SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

First step was to get the garden in order, dig borders and paint fences, then prepare a new base for the shed which needed to be moved to the opposite end of the garden…about a fortnight’s work there believe it or not!SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

While I took care of the garden and fences, the teen did the base pretty much all by himself. Colour me impressed! (We did pay him, we’re not slave drivers, lol!) He lifted some of the paving slabs from the area that we were clearing  for Shedquarters and used them to make the base you see here, then filled in with a sand mix. I think he did a pretty good job!SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

We got some help in to move the shed. It involved detaching the carcass from the base. Moving the shed base into position on the new concrete base, and then with four of us (one in each corner) we lifted the carcass into position on top of that. They’re heavier than they look!SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

Of course I had to empty the contents of the shed before we moved anything which left me with this chaos to reorganise….which took me several hours because I took the opportunity to clean and organise everything at the same time before putting everything back…SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

I kept myself motivated by picturing where my new sewing spot would be, ha ha! (It takes some imagination at this point I know!SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

Still, earphones in and with a steady supply of caffeine, by the end of the afternoon we had a well organised shed and this area was ready for the next day….SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

…when THIS happened! Last time I did all of this groundwork, pegging out and laying down the hardcore ALL BY MYSELF! I swore blind then, that I would never do it again. It is back breaking. (although I will forever remain proud of that achievement!) So this time we paid a local tradesman to come in and do this part…SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

The size of the base will be specified by the cabin supplier and is obviously proportionate to the size of the cabin itself. You can buy ready made bases or pay your cabin supplier as part of the package. But it does start to get pricey when you add in the extras and we were already paying for installation of the cabin itself (an additional £500 ish on top of the cost of the building itself).SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

The following day saw our tradesman laying the handmixed concrete. (Which I ended up helping with since he was on his own and “tamping” concrete is really a two person job!) On the last build (my previous summerhouse at the old place) we paid to have ready mixed concrete pumped into the base I built. And I have to say I think it’s preferable to the method above. It’s wetter for a start and finds it’s level more naturally with minimal tamping. The consistency is better because it’s all mixed in one go. And it’s quicker too…

SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

On a personal note Elliott was quite poorly and ended up being hospitalised during this time. When it came to laying the concrete we decided he could bury the nasty medicine bottle in the concrete base, lol! I love that he understands about “closure” on a horrible experience at his age. (He’s fine now. Fully recovered). I honestly think it made him feel better to get his own back on that nasty medicine bottle, lol! So anyway….somewhere under my feet when I sew…is a plastic medicine bottle with his name on it!

The base had it’s hiccups which meant additional cost and work for us. We suddenly realised a week before the building was due that it was off square and not quite level; and started panicking that the team would refuse to install it if the base wasn’t up to spec…1

In reality it was probably ok. (And to be fair to our tradesman the whole garden is on the wonk so lining anything up is tricky) But we didn’t want to leave that to chance. So J and I spent the next week mixing concrete and self levelling screed and trying to get everything level and square…2

That was a hard back breaking week. (25kg bags are not for the light hearted!) Lots of coffee. Lots of swearing.  Lot’s of head scratching. Lot’s of measuring and remeasuring; but we got there…SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

The night before installation of Shedquarters…we had our base ready…SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

Luckily from that point on we left it to the professionals and just supplied coffee and tea!

The “building” arrived the next day. The day of the big build!!!! This is how it turns up on the back of a low loader and carried by hand…piece by piece into the garden. I did help with that part. I was keen to see it start going up.  I was on tenter hooks that day and if you follow me on IG you would have seen a blow by blow account of this in real time. Let me tell you….seriously impressive how quick this goes up. SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

 

One Guy. Geordie Alan. Bless him! If you ever order from this company ask for him. SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

The floor bearers go down first. Vital that this bit is super accurate in terms of right angles as any wonkiness gets accentuated with each subsequent log that gets placed on top….

SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

Floor boards!

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The beginnings of the walls! Eeeep! Just looking at these pics, I can remember how excited I was…

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How the logs interlock to form the structure….

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They stack up on top of eachother and then get knocked into place with a rubber mallet…

SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

Windows slot in in one pre-made unit…

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2 either side and 2 to the front. Lots of light!!!SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

Right at the eleventh hour reinforcements arrived to help with the roof. But Alan was the real hero of this build. At this point we are 5 hours in from when he laid the first floor bearers. And up until this point it had just been him! Impressive right?? (Took 2 of us 3 days to do this last time!)

SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

And there we have it! I could have cried with joy seeing it finally installed. I hadn’t realised just HOW much it meant to me to have my sanctuary back until I saw it standing there in front of me. I’m even welling up a little thinking about it as I type! Shucks!

Shedquarters makes my heart sing every time I “go to work”. But we’re a long way yet from the finished article. I have much more to show you. Much more work to be done at this stage. Little did I know how long it would take me to make it my own. Or how much paint! But I’ll save that for the next post!!SHEDQUARTERS - THE BUILD

 

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26 Comments

  1. Joanna September 22, 2015

    It looks so nice. 🙂

    Reply
    • portia September 22, 2015

      Thanks Joanna 🙂 It looks quite a bit different (ie even better) now it’s finished!

      Reply
  2. Hélène September 22, 2015

    Lucky you, Portia! What a marvelous little house, with such a clever design! Can’t wait to see how you will design the interior.

    Reply
    • portia September 22, 2015

      Thank you Helene 🙂 The interior layout is simple, calm and super functional. It’s still evolving in terms of the smaller details but hope to get a proper tour up very soon 🙂

      Reply
  3. Patti September 22, 2015

    I can sense your excitement through your writing and look forward to hearing about the rest of the build. I would love a sanctuary away from it all!! Great job!

    Reply
    • portia September 22, 2015

      Ah thanks Patti! I’m glad that comes through!

      Reply
  4. Jo September 22, 2015

    Oh I loved seeing this in real time on IG but this is such a great post – I agree we can really hear how exciting it is! Very jealous – I do have my own room but I’d love to be ‘away from it all’ in the garden!

    Reply
  5. zilredloh September 22, 2015

    This is amazing! Happy little shedquarters. 😀 Congrats on having your sewing space back.

    Reply
    • portia September 22, 2015

      Thanks zilredoh 🙂 I am a happy bunny 🙂

      Reply
  6. Sue @ A Colourful Canvas September 22, 2015

    I have to say, that is a stunner of a shed! All those windows, and those French doors are gorgeous!

    Reply
    • portia September 22, 2015

      Thanks Sue! The windows really flood the light in but have to have every door and window open on warm days. Hopefully that bodes well for the winter though in terms of heat retention!

      Reply
  7. daisy jones September 22, 2015

    Portia I’m loving this and it seems like yesterday those pics were on ig!
    more more!
    best daisy x

    Reply
    • portia September 22, 2015

      I know, mad right?! It seemed like forever waiting for it to happen, lol!

      Reply
  8. Claire September 22, 2015

    Wow, looks lovely, and not too dissimilar from a summerhouse we’ve just completed, ours is about half the size of yours though!

    Reply
    • portia September 22, 2015

      Oooh, nice one! What colour did you go for?

      Reply
  9. Elisabeth September 23, 2015

    After swapping around our bedrooms and stuffing my sewing space and our guest bedroom into the smallest room in the house, I sure am envious of your shed!
    It looks lovely, and I hope you manage to stay warm in winter!

    Reply
    • portia September 23, 2015

      Yes Elisabeth! The winter “test” is still to come!
      Will keep you posted. Get a shed!!

      Reply
  10. Kat @ House of Lane September 23, 2015

    OMG that is gorgeous! Like a little country cottage.

    Reply
    • portia September 23, 2015

      Thanks Kat! It looks a little different now 😉

      Reply
  11. Helen September 23, 2015

    Oh God, we’ve just had a bottle of that horrific medicine too! My son had it for infected eczema and it took us 2 packs of Starburst to get through it. It’s disgusting. Although the threat of more isn’t enough to stop him scratching and picking…

    Shedquarters looks amazing. Sometimes it really is just worth the extra expense of paying the professionals!

    Reply
    • portia September 23, 2015

      Seriously rank isn’t it Helen?!! Regards Shedquarters it really was worth the extra!

      Reply
  12. Lisa September 23, 2015

    That’s the coolest! I want one now! 😉 It sort of makes me think of how Lincoln Logs work with how it all fits together (do you have those toys in the UK?).

    Reply
    • portia September 23, 2015

      I will have to google that Lisa, lol!

      Reply
  13. Sew2pro September 24, 2015

    I have been daydreaming about one of these for so long. The space I’d have! And my house would be so much tidier!

    Looking forward to updates and how it works out for you.

    Reply
  14. lttlbrfc September 25, 2015

    I am jealous! My office and sewing space are shared with laptop, sewing machine and serger sharing a desktop. What is your source of electricity?

    Reply
    • portia September 25, 2015

      Mains power from the house. It’s about 10ft from the exterior wall of the house and luckily its the side with the mains junction box. So we just had to lift some of the paving slabs inbetween and run some armoured cabling under then along the side of the house. Px

      Reply

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