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The shed saga – creating a home office.

Let me bring you up to speed, incase you missed the earlier post. We are building a home office in the garden for me to work from. We have purchased a premade shed called Willow (I kid you not). Installation is a ‘family project’. The shed/home office is under construction, and here is our progress so far.

On December 27, we were one day away from finishing the shed. The roof had been built and was lying on the grass in our garden ready to be installed. On December 28, we were going to put the roof on and close it in. Rain is forecast to be coming our way for the rest of the week.

It has been a lot of work to get the shed to this point. We started building it on December 20 and worked on it every day except Christmas. Mr M has done most of the work, he’s the foreman and the kids and I are the labourers, a crew with intermittent interest in the project.

On the morning of the 28th, Mr M announced we needed to move the shed. He’d been reading the building regulations overnight and discovered it was too close to our neighbours. There is a difference between a garden shed and a home office. The shed/home office was in the wrong place. It had to come down so we could reposition it. To say the news was disappointing would be putting it mildly.

To move the shed, we had to demolish a wall that had a passionfruit vine on it. The kids got out some spray paint and practised their graffiti skills. I am a huge fan of satirical street artist Banksy, and we had all seen a Banksy exhibition a few years earlier. In a blink, they were poised and ready, spray paint in hand. My children are not showing the talent of Banksy, but they loved producing their graffiti.

The kids enjoyed demolishing the wall. And I have put my hopes of becoming self-sufficient in the passionfruit department on hold. I have loved creating something as a family. But before you think that I am going to get out my guitar and sing like Maria von Trapp, bear with me.

I have learnt many things during this process. Firstly, there is a limit to what the kids can be involved in. Secondly, there is a limit to how much they are interested in pursuing ‘your project’. Since December 20, the TV and screen time have occupied our kids. Especially when I needed to get them out of the heat of the day and when they became bored with painting the shed.

The shed also turned out to be larger than we thought, and our neighbours were not that happy with the sight of it. A green garden shed that sat innocuously in the corner of our property had transformed into an orange wooden structure that stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb. Thankfully, our neighbours are great and together we worked out a solution that involves plants and paint. They have suggested colours they could live with.

A friend owns two Great Danes, and he says the cheapest part of owning a dog is buying the puppy. These words have been rolling around in my head since the shed saga. The extra costs of building include the equipment and supplies that you need to construct it. Then there are the lining, insulation, plaster, paint, new floor or rug, desk, bookshelves, filing cabinets etc. It has been easy for me to jump to the fit-out. However, concentrating on laying the best foundations is the vital part.

In short, we took three steps forward and two back. We have been here before, as our last building project involved putting a third floor into our home. So, we are facing puzzles to solve. I will let you know how it goes.

We need a name for the home office, do you have any suggestions? My friend Mrs S suggested ‘the villa’. Also have you had any similar building challenges? I would love to hear about them.


I am a coach, mother and wife, living in the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. I grew up in South London, in an immigrant family in the suburbs. But I had good fortune with my parents: Dad was born in Calcutta, India, and my Mum came from communist Poland. In the 1970s I got to leave Croydon, and travel with my family through India, and behind the Iron Curtain. I saw parts of the world that my classmates could not comprehend. It sparked my wanderlust and gave me a great respect for how big and diverse our world is. And I gained an ability to move between different cultures, assimilating into them.

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