The Cuprinol ‘Shed of the Year’ winner for 2021 has been announced. The winning shed is a far cry from the standard garden shed ideas, instead, it has been upgraded to a mint coloured ode to happy hour.
This year’s worthy winner is 29-year-old Danielle Zarb-Cousin, a model from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, who created her Creme de Menthe-inspired shed during lockdown and entered it into the Pub/Entertainment category.
Now in its 15th year, the Shed of the Year competition proved more popular than ever. This year, transforming our gardens has never been so popular, whether it’s with a garden mirror, paint ideas or living wall ideas, but it’s the humble shed that’s really ignited people’s creativity.
The competition was flooded with entries, with the Shed of the Year finalists ranging from pop-up garden pubs to miniature churches. Despite it being a tough decision, the judges were impressed by Danielle’s use of colour, interior design and vintage decorations.
Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021 winner
‘I went through a bad time with a break-up,’ says Danielle of her split from fiance Jonny Mitchell of Love Island fame. ‘It was the worst thing that could’ve happened – going into lockdown and not being able to see anyone or date. Building the shed became a focus for me in a time of chaos. It was a little sanctuary and something I’m really proud of.’
On the outside, the mint-coloured building is a far cry from its original state as an unloved brown shed that sat in Danielle’s parents garden. After moving in with them at the beginning of the first lockdown, Danielle decided to transform it into a retro haven, complete with an orange interior and cocktail bar.
‘Moving back in with my parents for lockdown wasn’t ideal and I needed my own space,’ she says. ‘It became a place I could go and write and not be disturbed.’
Inside, a vibrant orange cocktail bar takes centre stage, giving the shed a Seventies feel, along with plenty of retro decorations, furnishings and vinyl records that Danielle collected from charity and vintage shops.
‘I really hope it encourages people to get a bit more creative and stop replacing items with brand new things,’ she says. ‘With my generation, everything is just so easily accessible. You can order something and have it so quickly, but it’s a throwaway culture.’
Danielle, who alongside eternal shed glory, will also receive £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products, has been using the space to write a blog, on subjects from heartbreak and dating to lifestyle, which she is now in the process of turning into a book.
‘I’m still working on the book because I want it to be perfect, and I always sit in the shed and write because it’s just so peaceful and quiet and I can really focus,’ she says. ‘I’ve also started writing some short stories, and I do that all from here.’
‘I’m so happy I won,’ she says. ‘It’s been a long process, so it’s nice to know it’s paid off.’
Cuprinol’s Shed of the Year Winner 2020
Bedouin Tree Shed
Last year’s shed-building superstar Daniel Holloway walked away with first place after wowing judges with his nature-inspired refuge Bedouin Tree-Shed. Daniel’s labour of love is built around two tree trunks in his back garden and is decorated with vintage etchings and specimens of butterflies, while a wood-burning stove adds an extra cosy feel during the winter months.
‘I was surprised, but also felt very honoured and happy that the shed had been recognised as a worthy winner,’ Daniel said. ‘It’s very much a personal space, but as a result of Covid restrictions it has evolved into a communal space for our family and close friends to gather and relax, in the back of the garden and away from the house.’
Since winning, Daniel has even more plans for his shed, including using Victorian quarry tiles for a patio, connecting the shed to an area used as a fire pit.