By April 10, 2013 Read More →

Garden Office Week – Smart Garden Offices

How and why we created the garden office Book Nook

Work from Home Wisdom - Garden Office Week - The Book Nook by Smart Garden Offices

We’re midway through Garden Office Week and Charlie Dalton of Smart Garden Offices describes how he came up with his new feature ideal for home working book worms:

It’s great to be writing again for Judy and her lovely Work from Home Wisdom site. My previous posts for WfHW have alluded to my garden office geekery so this time I’ll come out of the OCD closet as a full on garden office nutcase!

One the regular comments levelled at me and my buildings is their intrinsic “blokiness”. So whilst I never plan to compromise on the construction or robustness of any garden office I did however have a complete rethink into additional interior options.

The Brief
The brief was quite short: get feminine. I asked a wide collection of women “What do you want in terms of personal space?” This dialogue was not about the garden office per se, but about an individual zone, a headspace, a sanctuary and a retreat. And then could we bring this into something that started as an garden office design and bring it to fruition as a tangible product that we can offer as an optional extra within our buildings.

It wasn’t as simple as you might think.

Everybody has a different requirement and definition of personal space. Combine that styling prompts from Le Corbusier to Cath Kidson and it was clear that we couldn’t create something that would keep everyone in the land happy. Pinterest gave inspiration and confusion in equal measure.

So we started from scratch again and collected a bunch of words to deconstruct “personal space”. Private, cosseting, warm, snug, comfortable and foetal were words that sprang out. But on the fringes of this were words like library, cubby, den, nook, books, refuge, “stuff space” and hidey hole.

So we started to get a picture of what we needed to do.

Personally I’ve always rather loved window seats, they’ve a lovely combination of comfort and snugness, offering a great reason just to sit, watch and think. So it made good sense to build our garden office new interior around a window as this could combine the snugness and cosseting while also providing a real focal point to the item.

Then we turn our intention to that term “stuff space”. So this wasn’t going to be a full on library (we’ve built many in the past) – this was going to a space for stuff…. And it wasn’t for us to dictate what the stuff was going to be.

During the development process over many months we started to call this “the nook” and “the snug” and both terminologies kind of stuck. We added “book” because, well quite frankly, it sounds great and nicely sums up the kind of feeling of sanctuary you used to get in an old style bookshop.

Following the cosseting brief, I particularly wanted the Nook to look like it was “hewn” out of the body of the building – we have a lovely interior to our buildings and it made good sense to continue the styling cues into the fabric of the item as well. So we’ve included matching timber trims to every edge (and believe me there are plenty) of the Nook so it looks like its been extruded from the walls.

Then we’ve added a lovely deep upholstered cushion and all round bolsters to give that Cleopatra effect. There are integrated steps too so you can hop up in comfort – these create holes that just perfect for shoe storage too. (Click on the photo above to view it full-size).

It’s been an overwhelming response we’ve had to the Book Nook since we launched last month and it looks like it will be a popular addition to many of our Smart Garden Offices.

Of course, I’d love more feedback from Work from Home Wisdom readers too.

In fact, leave a comment on this post and you could win a copy of Shedworking by Alex Johnson, the ‘complete guide to relocating a business to the end of the garden’.

Enjoyed this? Check out more expert Garden Office Week advice on building your own garden office.

Posted in: Garden offices

2 Comments on "Garden Office Week – Smart Garden Offices"

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  1. Kaitlyn says:

    This week is making me seriously envious. Love, love LOVE this one!

  2. It’s been attracting a lot of attention, Kaitlyn.
    What shall we have next, CafeWorkingWeek?