How’s it going for you after a year of working from home? I’m willing to bet that your interior space is splitting at the seams. And boundaries between work, leisure and family life are getting distinctly blurred. But even if that’s not the case, we could all do with an extra room in the house now and again to escape to. Or even better, at the bottom of the garden. Which is why Architect Rodrigo Moreno Masey has built ‘a decorated shed’ at the bottom of his, as a flexible, multi-functional space to be used by himself and his young family. It’s also rather stylish.
Take a Look
The design process led Rodrigo to consider the limitations of the traditional shed concept and how our changing lifestyles require an adaptable space that can be a blank canvas, A space that will evolve and allow for multiple possibilities. Not just for working from home. Nor is today’s shed simply an extension of a house, nor a pure expression of a rural retreat. Instead it represents a distinct, separate place where a number of different activities can take place.
“Garden sheds have changed” states Rodrigo Moreno Masey, founder of architecture firm MorenoMasey, “what was once a suburban attempt to hold on to a rural typology, the mini-barn or potting shed has become a multi-functional other space”.
The design of his garden shed is based around a handful of simple ideas:
Shape and Scale
The shape was designed to have the outline of a building that is unquestionably a garden shed. It has four walls and a pitched roof, and is set within a Victorian terrace. It is tall, deep, and sitting square on, at the end of the garden. It frames the outside space both visually and functionally.
Material and Texture
Reclaimed timber cladding has been used to distinguish the building as being nondomestic and distinct from the house. The silvered, aged oak boards are laid with gaps to create a geometric pattern. Rodrigo decided to forgo gutters, and the roof and walls are designed to blend seamlessly with no superfluous detail, meaning the scale and use remains ambiguous. The timber boards reveal a large opening to the main space and simultaneously conceal a door to the storage area. The contrast of the geometry and the texture is both hard and tactile, both controlled and random.
Form and Function
The rest of the design is functional, yet doesn’t have a fixed function. It is used as an office, a study, a gym, a conference space, a TV room, a playroom, a cinema, a library, a bar or a simple shelter.
The finishes are chosen to be unspecific. A practical tiled floor extends to the terrace outside, while an unfinished plywood wall allows things to be fixed to it. A grey wall acts as a screen to project
onto and some shelves have been hung for storage. The door is a simple glazed garage door, rolling up over the ceiling to leave a clear opening, and there are no panels to clutter the reveal. The boundaries between inside and outside have been effectively blurred.
Rodrigo shares his inspiration,
“This decorated shed is pure fiction, a collection of borrowed ideas from things I have seen, the cladding from a barn in Austria, the door from a brewery in Oregon, the physical form so ingrained into our cultural language as house. And the space itself – a blank canvas, a space to be, to enjoy, to work and rest, alone, with family or friends. A space for fiction still to come. Surely that’s all we really want from our sheds? Not a copy of a barn, not a copy of a house, but a true other space.
Perhaps this is not a decorated shed after all; maybe it’s just a shed”.