What started off as an idea to buy an ‘off the shelf’ garden room soon developed into much more. Denise talks about turning a disused area at the end of the garden into a fully functional, self contained Summer lodge.
A room for relaxation
I had always been wedded to the idea of having my own yoga room – somewhere that I was able to practice yoga outside of classes and also a quiet space away from the usual hustle and bustle of family living. After some careful research into the various options I decided that it would be just as economical and individual (and fun) to design and build my own structure.
Reclaiming a secret garden space
I was itching to clear a space at the bottom of my garden which had been a dumping ground for some years. It is hidden out of sight from the house by a tall hedge and until you move past the hedge you don’t know that the space is there – my very own secret garden!
I am known for not doing anything by halves!
I thought it made sense to also make things self-contained with a small kitchenette and adjoining shower room. This could then act as an extra sleeping zone when we had guests to stay. I decided on a timber construction but didn’t want it to feel “sheddy” once inside. To overcome this a concrete base was laid which immediately gave the structure some gravitas and it became a credible space.
Once the base had “gone off” the build took less than three weeks to complete – slate roof and all. By the fourth week we were able to start putting paint on the internal wood-clad walls which is more of a wash than solid paint finish – think a ‘faded beach house’ look.
The heating is underfloor and the floor itself is laid with wide boards with a limed wood finish. The UPVC bi-fold doors stretch almost the whole length of the structure and can be opened up on to a small deck and beyond to the elements, capturing a true outside-inside feel.
From shed to Summer lodge
The finished lodge is a a beautiful and tranquil addition and it has been a delight to dress the space – the vaulted ceiling means that pieces with huge proportions works best. I have recently had a switch around and swapped the sofa bed for a beautiful white day bed where I can light my favourite candle, read a book or simply look out on to the beautiful garden.
Part of the garden
The garden surrounds and envelopes the lodge, making it feel very much part of the greenery. The lodge feels as though it has always been there now, nestling into the surrounding habitat like an old friend. We used two metal obelisks from Sunbury Antiques Market to mark the entrance to the lodge, and the garden has grown to include these too. The soil and sunlight is amazing in this particular corner of the plot and the small plants and shrubs that were originally planted are now reminiscent of the triffids in a tropical sanctuary.
It is also my sanctuary, I deliberately made the place technology-free so it is a perfectly quiet and undemanding place to head for to take a break from the the noise and notifications of modern life. I love nothing more than coming down here early in the morning (I’m an early riser!) with a cup of tea to think about the day ahead.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
- Planning permission is not required for an outdoor building such as this, providing certain criteria is met. See local government planning guidelines for more information. You will need to notify the local building regulation department.
- Use the highest grade of insulation (such as rockwool) in the roof, walls and floor to ensure that the building remains warm and prevents damp creeping in over time, also cutting down on heating costs.
- The exterior of the building was clad in Cedral Lap Weatherboard which comes in countless colours and is extremely economical. It cost approximately £300 for this structure.
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