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This section of our blog features updates from Garden Spaces HQ keeping you up to date on exciting developments to our range of buildings.
It’s safe to say that we’re all a lot more environmentally conscious than we used to be. We’ve seen a big uplift in the amount of recycling, efforts to reduce emissions from engines, lower the amount of energy used in our homes and offices and even a campaign against wasteful, single-use plastics. While all of these things are great in limiting the amount of damage done to the environment, is there something that we can do to take positive steps?
There was a time when the words ‘mobile’ and ‘phone’ were never seen together and The Net was something John Barnes would hit with alarming regularity. Although our lives have been radically improved by modern technology, the knock-on effects of higher levels of stress and anxiety over the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ have been suggested.
Fashions tend to react quickly to new ideas or technology, taking over for a while before disappearing, either never to be seen again or to wait just long enough to be ‘retro’. It’s not just chunky knit sweaters, kipper ties or ripped jeans that we buy only for them to embarrass us in future photos, but our homes are also susceptible.
It’s now 21 years since the first edition of Harry Potter book was released and in that time we’ve seen another six sequels and eight movies, as well as a plethora of additional follow up books, plays and movies focussing on other aspects of the wizarding world not directly featuring Ron, Hermione and Harry.
One of the joys of the garden room is that it’s separate from the main body of the house – and therefore can be whatever you want it to be! Most family homes are very practical; you may love pale carpets, but they don’t work with a family dog that loves muddy puddles and they’re a magnet for any toddler’s jam sandwich!
At one point in the UK, it was generally accepted that young people would leave their family home when it came time to get married and then, years later, once they’d had children of their own, they’d invite one or even both of their parents to live back with them in what was at one time called their dotage.
We’ve long been fans of using extra garden space to give families much needed living areas. Garden areas can be a blank canvas or as specific as you like; everything from a playroom to a home cinema - and it seems the UK agrees with “Improve, Don’t Move” becoming a mantra.
It was once the sign of a luxurious and sumptuous home, usually a country manor or large estate, but a billiard room has long been thought of as the ultimate show of prestige. Billiard rooms were originally a way to bring outdoor lawn games inside and gained popularity with the wealthy classes in the 18th and 19th Centuries when they were often paired with libraries, studies or even smoking rooms as a place for relaxation.
Well, the dead of winter has struck, we’ve had the usual headlines of “Snowmageddon!” and it’s looking like January and February are going to be slightly more sleet-y and icy than we’ve been used to for the last few years and temperatures could be lucky to hit double digits! While you may think that the time for enjoying the garden is over, we’re going to pay some close attention to Garden Spaces rooms that allow you to enjoy your garden all year round!
The trend in the UK is for our homes to be much smaller than those of our international neighbours. In 2016, the average size of a home sold in the UK was 90m2 which is around 10% smaller than the Spanish average and a whopping 155m2 smaller than the average home sold in the USA. Although new build homes are slowly increasing in size, the cost of buying one is growing even more rapidly. Given these figures, is it ever acceptable to think of parts of our home as ‘wasted space’?
It seems like since we all got internet access, everyone has (to some extent) become an amateur genealogist or local historian! There are hundreds of accounts and groups across social media, showing and recording how our towns and cities have changed, been remodelled and updated over the years. Historic photos that show parks, shops, and especially pubs that are no longer around can be shared without having to spend hours digging in the archives.
Our ideas about peace and relaxation have come a long way over the last few years. Over the last fifty years or so, we’ve had any number of ways to relax and chill out – some have stayed with us, such as the long bath or the glass of wine, while others have fallen by the wayside.
It’s long been known that getting the creative juices flowing can be challenging, a process that sometimes feels like getting a delicate flower to blossom. Sometimes, inspiration may simply strike, but it can’t be relied upon to always be there, especially if your mind is frequently distracted.
A number of years ago, the rules around planning permission were relaxed to stop small projects requiring approval – allowing homeowners to improve their properties and prevent local authorities from being unnecessarily tied up with paperwork. For most people, this means that they have a lot more freedom in deciding on modest improvements to their home.
Although the British have always had a love of the garden and enjoying the great outdoors, it seems like making the most of your outside space has never been more popular! Everybody, no matter what the budget, wants to have a little space in the garden – no matter if it’s a man cave, she-shed, gym, hobby or craft space!
We may be a little biased in our love of having a garden oasis of calm, but we’re certainly not the only ones! There are thousands of people across the world who have a room at the end of their garden that does almost anything – including a home gym, an office, an art studio, a hair salon or home cinema!
It’s an oft-quoted statistic that moving house is one of the most stressful things we experience, after bereavement. It’s easy to understand why people dislike it so much; not only does it involve leaving behind a home that’s been the location for thousands of life experiences and memories, it also involves finding somewhere new and lots of financial and legal paperwork – which is very rarely fun!
The Internet gets a lot of credit (and blame!) for various things, but it’s become central to our everyday living in a short amount of time. The first ever product sold online was a Pizza Hut pizza in 1994, but if you’d told people then that we’d soon even be buying houses on the internet, they’d have thought you were crazy!
Many parents find that having children to be equally wonderful, exciting and overwhelming time – and one of the big surprises is how much space such tiny little people take up! Almost before they’re born, babies seem to have more things than their parents and it only gets worse as they get older!
No matter how much they love their job, everybody, if they’re honest, has thought to themselves “Wouldn’t it just be easier if I could work from home?” It might be said while climbing out of bed at 6am on a rainy November morning or while sitting stationary in a traffic jam for the third time this week; the simple fact is that there are a great number of benefits to working from home.
The first week of June marks the beginning of barbecue season for many British households – so if you were looking for an excuse to gather some friends and food and enjoy a large, outdoor cooking session, then go right ahead!
There’s been an awful lot about “the Sharing Economy” in recent years; many people are using things they own but don’t use all the time to generate an income. Kitchen desking has been around for a while – the idea is that while you go out to work, you allow somebody who needs a desk or office space to use your kitchen table as a workspace for a small fee. You get money for something you’re not using, they get an affordable workspace with wi-fi and tea and coffee making facilities.
We’ve written extensively about all the potential purposes for your garden room, whether you want a home office, a gym or even a child’s playroom – but your intended purpose is only part of the story. There’s also the location, the aspect and any number of other things to consider. One thing you may not have thought about is why light should play such an important part in your decision on getting a garden room.
As a nation, Britain is particularly house-proud – we love our homes and we spend an awful lot of time and effort on decorating, buying additions and making sure that they’re the perfect representation of us. Unfortunately, life has an awful habit of getting in the way, so soon our houses have to make compromises and we start to lose a bit of our carefully cultured look.
There’s a common phrase that’s often used to describe people who have a second passion or hobby; “Boys and their toys”. Obviously it doesn’t just apply to men, but it’s almost inevitable that a strong interest can often make a hobby take on a life of its own.
The number of purposes a garden room can serve is almost infinite – anything and everything including home offices, playrooms, guest accommodation and even a home cinema can be built right at the end of your path. A garden room is often a solution to a specific need… but what if its chief purpose was to make your garden more usable and inviting?
Whether you follow the news avidly or just happen to catch morning radio bulletins while commuting, it seems apparent to all that the world is more stressful than it used to be. World events, politics and even extreme weather make headlines daily and between radio, television and even our phones, it can be hard to unplug.
There’s a situation in Britain that’s so common, it could be a rite of passage! It’s probably very familiar; a gym membership is purchased and a Direct Debit set up. After a few weeks, due to family or work, gym visits taper away and the Direct Debit payments are taken for a few more weeks before being cancelled and the membership ended.
We all know how family life can sometimes get a little… hectic! Almost every night of the week will see a whirlwind of kids getting home from school, parents getting home from work, trying to cook a family meal and get everyone to sit and eat before various after school clubs, going to the gym, packing bags for the morning and organising bedtimes!
The wonderful thing about garden rooms is that they’re as unique as the people who have them. No matter what problem they were built to solve, they quickly become a valuable and much loved part of the home, useful for everything from cinema rooms to guest accommodation. Every home with a garden room immediately benefits from the extra space for the family.
It’s been a dream of a huge swathe of the population ever since the invention of the public house… ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could have a pub at home? Good beer, a roaring fireplace and no last orders bell!’ While some people would like a quiet space to sit with their favourite tipple and others would like a space big enough to fit in all their friends and family, the good news is that you can finally get your wish!
When the weather turns cold, there comes an inevitable change – nationwide – of behaviour, people stay home more, take part in fewer outdoor activities and generally stay closer to a nice warm hearth. While there are fewer daylight hours, fewer dry, sunny days and generally less amenable conditions to spend much time outside, it becomes a bit of a restriction on even simple pleasure, such as enjoying the garden.
As we approach the end of the year, the majority of the newspaper columns are filled with that perennial mixture of predictions regarding everything from spring fashion and next year’s big food trends, all the way down to which bands will get their big break and whether the knee-high sock is due to make a comeback.
Recent figures from the Trades Union Congress show that the UK has over 4.2 million people who are “remote workers” – or put simply, that work from home. For those tied to a desk, it’s long been a dream to work from home, but why do it and how do you go about making it a success?
You may remember that a while ago, NASA – yes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration! – did a fairly in depth survey looking for the plants that are of most use in outer space to create oxygen and naturally cleanse the air. We reported on some of the most interesting findings in our blog here so that your garden office can remain a clean, airy space with good quality fresh air!
There are very few people who wouldn’t like to take on a little bit of home improvement or development for any number of reasons. Family life can often benefit from some extra room, whether it’s to indulge a hobby, start a from-home second business or even the dream of many families, the cinema or entertainment room!
For some reason, it’s completely and naturally expected that families will not only ‘grow’ but inevitably will ‘outgrow’ the home. We seem to accept this completely, but does it always have to be so?
If you are lucky enough to have a garden room, then you’re already familiar with the joy of seeing your garden from a unique perspective. Using the extra space and shelter in your garden not only means that you have a brilliant way to enjoy your garden, but a way to extend the usability of your garden all year round. In turn, many people find that once they have a garden room, they become a lot more green-fingered!
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden room, you’ll know how valuable an addition it can be to family life. Having a small space that can act as everything from a family cinema room to a home studio to guest accommodation can really give your family some valuable extra room. The question is what can you do to make the most of the space you have?
It’s almost an annual event, but every November sees a large number of articles in the papers and online that have titles like “How to survive Christmas with the family” or “Destress the Festive Season”. There are many theories about why Christmas has become so stressful, including advertising and pressure from the media, but is it down to a significant change of lifestyle?
The man cave has - culturally speaking - been granted a special place in the male psyche. It’s a place where men can get together, drink beer or whiskey, watch sports and make off-colour jokes without risking being told off. Recent years, however, have seen a rise in what are termed she-sheds, which are - on the whole - much more refined places that are suited to arts and crafts and don’t smell like cigar smoke. We’re not saying, of course that there aren’t man caves full of appliqué or that she-sheds up and down the country don’t have live sports and a cooler of beer in them, but are these places to indulge ourselves and just ‘hang out’ actually more about having a personal retreat from the hectic modern world? In previous years, “Father’s study” was somewhere to spend time and read, but do these modern equivalents serve the same purpose?
Not many people would relish the idea of having a second job; getting up and doing a full day’s work, commuting, getting home and then heading right back out a few nights a week to do another job is more than most people could face. Having a full-time career leaves many of us looking for hobbies that exercise our bodies or minds in other ways, as a means of using our talents and finding a way to relax… but what if your hobby was your second job?
If you’re one of the lucky ones who is able to use their garden space as a home office, then there’s a list of things that must be done to ensure that you have a productive and efficient workspace.
It’s almost a universal rule of every family moving into a new home; the new house is more than big enough and it will remain clean and tidy! Despite the best intentions of every new inhabitant that they’ll embrace Swedish Minimalism and have uncluttered spaces, it’s inevitable that families always grow to fill the space they have.
The last few years don’t necessarily feel like they’ve held a lot of good news for British families, but recently we’ve started to see a definite pick up in house prices, which is good for homeowners. Now that prices have started to rise and there’s less of a risk of being trapped in negative equity, more and more homeowners are tempted to put their property on the market.
The internet has been credited – and in some cases blamed – for a great number of things, but one of the greatest is in allowing huge numbers of services to be delivered faster, more efficiently and cheaper. It's also the basis of the rising work-from-home economy, allowing more and more of the British public to use their home spaces as office spaces.
Although the mention of a garden party may bring forth images of Royal Invitations delivered on velvet cushions, with gentlemen wearing morning suits and medals adorning every lapel, they’re really not just for royalty!
Making the choice to pull away from the rat race and work from home can have a huge number of benefits, including lifestyle, work-life balance and even be financially better. Using the extra space from your own garden and having a garden room constructed to give you a dedicated workspace is a fantastic way to capitalise on the new way of working and maintain focus.
Ever since a certain Mr Llewelyn-Bowen first graced our screens and took DIY away from the purely practical and towards the flamboyant, the UK has really fallen in love with interior design. There are huge numbers of websites, magazines and television programmes all dedicated to making your home an expression of you and your family, constantly updating to show the latest trends.
We Brits have always had a love affair with the garden, whether it's the rolling acres of a country manor or the humble garden lawn with attractive borders. Since the Victorians were able to import and cultivate more exotic species, we've had a steadily growing exchange with the rest of the world; ideas and styles are shared globally between green fingered friends and the Internet has allowed anyone to get inspired with their outdoor space.
A multi-purpose and versatile garden room can have an amazing effect on family life, providing the base for any number of family activities, such as summer barbecues, parties and guest accommodation. The extra space and extra facilities are a real boon for families looking to make the most of their home and give everybody a little bit of extra space.
Wildlife and nature has long been a fascination for the British and the love of the natural world really shows no sign of abating. With such a 'green and pleasant land' on our doorsteps, it's no surprise that our favourite pastimes and pursuits involve the great outdoors and we continue to love all manner of creatures that we see whenever we're out and about.
When it comes to finalising all of the design features and specifications of your garden room, there are a number of careful considerations to make. Arranging the space, the internal walls and the kitchenette or shower space; it all takes a lot of work and one area you may find that you don't give a lot of consideration is the roof above your head. Rather than defaulting to a standard roofing material, you could in fact enhance your garden building by choosing a sedum living roof.
Once you've decided to go ahead with installing a garden room for your family, the temptation is to run ahead with the fun things; to start looking up wallpaper patterns, floor coverings and soft furnishings. If you're including a kitchenette, you may be looking at cabinet colours, or any lamps and appliances that you're going to need.
Now that Autumn has announced its presence and intention to stay in no uncertain terms, there's a temptation to look at the garden wistfully, as if to say “Oh well, see you next year”. The fBritish summer has some amazing features and always brings up images of long days, barbecues and single white fluffy clouds in an otherwise brilliantly blue sky. It's why many of us choose to enjoy the garden throughout the 'good' weather and make the most of it.
Britain has always held a proud sporting heritage and recently there has been much talk of investment at the 'grass-roots' level, essentially getting people to take up their favourite activities just for the joy of the game.
While the most important decision of building your home office as a garden space may appear to be how large it should be, or where it should be located, there are a series of decision which are equally important but tend to get pushed further down the list.
Our stand this year is typical of our popular Elegans studio range and showcases our latest materials and finishes - Join us on stand G431 to find out more.
While the August weather has been variable at best this year, there's still a lot of time to get out and enjoy the garden and any good weather that's on its way. The garden gets a lot of love and attention during the summer months and this, typically, is the time when many people think about getting the most usage out of their garden room. From barbecues, family parties and relaxing evenings, the long summer days lend themselves to relaxing outside in the warm weather.
Every family knows how these things happen, as the family grows and gets older, they take on new hobbies and activities, they buy more equipment, such as bicycles and gym machines and, generally speaking, they grow to fill up the space in the house. Just about every family would say they'd like more space, but there comes a time when some families know that they need to take action. Moving house is an extreme solution, which is expensive, disruptive and is said to be the most stressful event that people do.
When it comes to defining 'Britishness' there are a great number of qualities that all jostle for attention. There's no single, overriding stipulation that shows “Great Britain” but it's often explored and investigated – even making it into one of Hugh Grant's film speeches, whereby “Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles... [and] David Beckham's right foot” are all listed as what Britishness has to offer.
When you tell people that you work from home, there's usually a fairly familiar run of comments and sentiments that follow. Firstly, the person working from home has to try and not sound too happy about being able to work at home; secondly the person receiving the information has to try and not sound too jealous. There's then the usual exchange regarding commuting and crowded motorways or even more crowded trains, the questions about whether you work in a dressing gown and finally about discipline and the distractions of home while you work.
One of the ideas that seems to have originated in the United States and really taken hold over here is the 'Man Cave'. Although British men have had personal spaces for many generations before, they were referred to in terms such as 'Father's Study' and generally brought up images of wingback chairs and shelves of old leather-bound volumes.
According to a recent poll, the British are generally a gentle, fairly easy to please bunch. When asked about our favourite pastimes, the most popular activities included long walks in the countryside, reading in the garden and the odd pint at the pub. Looking a little further down the list, it also included playing with children and pets in the garden, birdwatching and, surprisingly in the digital age, reading the paper.
The world of business and retail has changed beyond all recognition since the invention of the Internet; it's now possible to not only order a new television, buy car insurance or even pay the mortgage online, but you can also find any number of handmade treasures for your home.
No matter how good anyone's intentions are when taking out a gym membership, it's entirely likely that there will be an extended period when work runs late, or the gym seems too far away or like too much effort and visits to the gym stop. For lots of people, it seems to make much more sense to bring the gym home – for the cost of a few months' gym subscription fees, it's possible to buy a range of exercise equipment to work out at home, from cardio vascular machines to weights to resistance machinery.
There are many times when a garden room is so much more than a ‘nice to have’, it becomes a necessity. Garden spaces can be extremely valuable for the peace and quiet they offer the artistic painter, or the peace and quiet they offer the family of teenagers learning the drums!
One of the most luxurious renovations that people have been making over the last few years is the installation of underfloor heating. The principle of the system is exactly the same as that of conventional central heating radiators, to heat water and circulate it through the home, allowing it to dissipate heat throughout. The key difference is that with a conventional radiator, there's a danger that the heat may not spread particularly far and there are isolated warm spots in a room.
Once again we will be exhibiting at Grand Designs Live at ExCeL London. find out more about what to expect from the show.
The trend for home and remote working continues to rise. Our infographic highlights some key points.
Garden buildings can make ideal music rooms; as a quiet space away from the rest of the house, it means you limit not only the number of distractions, but also the risk of disturbing others in your home.
Thanks to the method of construction and materials used, many garden rooms offer a natural level of soundproofing, meaning that whether you’re rehearsing as a group of delivering tuition, it can be a quiet area that lends itself to music.
Here we take a look at when, why and how you might like to upgrade to create a near silent retreat.
The need for plenty of fresh air, exercise and interaction with nature has long been recognised in education as essential to children’s brain development, but what about adults? Isn’t is also true that grown ups can benefit from a little green space too?
The trend for quirky holiday rentals is on the rise, with off-the-beaten-track rental sites making it easier than ever to let out your spare space. Is it possible to turn that last 20 feet of your garden into profitable space by installing a holiday lodge and renting it out?
Winter is a beautiful, picturesque and magical time, perfect for chocolate box pictures and Christmas Cards, but imagine one morning you open your curtains to a scene straight out of The Snowman. You hesitate before opening the back door, fearing the icy blasts as you run across the garden to your office. What thoughts do you use to motivate yourself?
As the cold weather draws in, we share with you are top tips for converting your garden office into a luxurious winter-retreat.
The most common view is that unless you have a sizeable garden with entire areas going to waste, you won’t have the space needed to make use of a garden room. Regardless of the dimensions you have to work with, you’ll more than likely be able have a useful and versatile room.
Your garden is a valuable asset to your home, providing you children with the opportunity to get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Tempt them away from the TV and into the daylight with these top tips for creating a safe, child-friendly zone.
"Start-up business" is one of the most commonly heard phrases these days - and people around the world are turning their bright ideas into successful business opportunities. What better place to start than from your own creative space in your garden?
Typically, garden rooms tend to be constructed out of necessity, for use as home offices, hobby spaces or studios for creating music or art. These spaces are to allow activities that would otherwise encroach on the main body of the home and so need their own space. Sometimes, however, they’re an indulgence for a home cinema, pool room or hangout space. To pack the biggest amount of relaxation and fun into your small space, follow these top tips.
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with your garden room, you’re likely to want to get it started as soon as possible so you can begin to enjoy your new space. Before starting building, you’ll need to understand the rules around planning permission to avoid wasting both time and money.
Your garden room can be an attractive outdoor feature all of its own. However, if you're trying to create a nature-themed garden that is full of life, you might want to consider using natural camouflage to help your garden room become a part of the garden. Here's a look at some of the best climber plants to help you achieve this ‘secret garden' effect.
Garden rooms can have countless purposes, such as home offices, music rooms, studios or a gym; but what happens when two family members want to use it for different things.
Here are some tips on how to create a dual-function garden room to keep the peace.
Whether you're making it, producing it or teaching it, music is one of the most common reasons for building a garden room. To make sure you use it to its full potential, here are some simple ideas for enhancing your new creative space.
Despite many believing garden gnomes to have been consigned to history, this is not a historical piece; gnomes are reclaiming their place in British gardens! Here’s how these friendly garden-roamers have been part of our homes over the last years.
Whatever you plan to use your garden room for, by taking some time to decorate, you can instantly transform an empty space into your own personal sanctuary. Here are 3 simple tips for turning your new garden room into a place you'll never want to leave.
A garden room provides an opportunity to create a truly magical playroom for children, while freeing up space inside your home that would otherwise be occupied by toys, games and buckets of arts and crafts materials.
Here we take a look at the essential tips for creating the ultimate child-friendly environment.
Garden rooms are designed to be comfortable all year round. With the unpredictable nature of the British weather, naturally we want to create a warm and inviting space that will stay cosy through the rain, wind and snow. But it's just as important to keep your garden room cool too, especially if you use your garden space as a home office or gym.
Use these top tips to create a cool room in which you can escape the midday heat.
The Southampton Boat Show in September looks set to be a fantastic event for the whole family - and Garden Spaces are delighted to be exhibiting there this year. Find out more about this year's show and what we will be exhibiting.
Like a beloved pet, or border of blooms, your living roof needs looking after to keep it in the peak of physical fitness. Happily though, your rooftop greenery is a lot less work than fido, and lower maintenance than the rest of your ground-level garden.
Home gyms are becoming more popular these days as more people want to keep fit and healthy without having to sign up to an expensive gym membership. Setting up a gym in your home does not have to be complicated or even particularly expensive. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind to get the most out of your gym.
When Autumn arrives, the temptation is to stay in the comfort and warmth of the main part of the house and not trek out in the cold to your garden room. However, with these nifty tips, you can transform your extra living space in to cosy retreat you love spending time in.
Did you know that, aside from looking good, houseplants can be valuable allies in your ongoing wellbeing? Here are five plants that can easily be added to your garden room to add a little greenery.
Did you visit us at the Grand Designs Show in May? We enjoyed a fantastic few days a this exhibition, which was, once again, a big success not just for us but everyone who attended.
Decorate your space with a nod to one of these forthcoming trends and you will be creating a truly modern interior.
The property market might be in recovery, but many people are still rightly cautious about moving house. It is a huge upheaval, causing lots of stress and a large amount of expenses.
Wacky, wild, vintage or modern, your desk is more than just a place to work, it sets the tone for your entire home office. Before you go desk shopping get your preferences and priorities clear in your mind. Here are some ideas to get you started.
A garden room is the ideal place to locate your home cinema. Away from the hustle and bustle of the main house, your entertainment won't be interrupted by the distractions of everyday living, and you can crank the sound system right up without disturbing the rest of your family.
If you want your very own theatre right across the lawn, here are five steps to follow to create the perfect home cinema.
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese belief that man should live in harmony with the environment and that everything should be done to promote the free flow of chi, or lifeforce energy, around buildings.
The colours you use in a room can influence your mood, energy levels and concentration. When you plan the interior design of your garden room, keep in mind the spaces ultimate purpose, and use these eight colour psychology tips to create the perfect collection of hues.
Once you've claimed your portion of the garden, and erected your dedicated working space, it's time to kit out your office. With these must-have garden office accessories you can rock it like a pro.
The Grand Designs Huf Haus episode in 2004 had the nation swooning for the clean geometric lines of this elaborate flat-pack building. So imagine our excitement when we were invited to create a baby brother for a Huf Haus in Kent.