The garden shed has long been a place of escape - a bit of a man cave if you will - but in the last few years it's gone through something of a transformation. Nowadays, the shed is less the domain of toolkits, workbenches, frozen breath hanging in the air and spider webs, and more a sanctuary for meditation, yoga and other wellbeing practices. It's not surprising then that Cuprinol, the sponsors of Shed of the Year, have coined the term 'shed-scapism' - a place where people can escape from their everyday stresses. And what better way to showcase that that with a side-serving of escapism, too?
Yes, that's right. This year's Shed of the Year has gone international! There's the usual collection of Unique, Eco and Historic entrants (to name just three categories) but this year things have stepped up a gear; a collaboration with Cabin Porn and has led to the introduction of a brand-new global category. Now, we've seen some pretty incredible structures in the past from the competition, but when we saw some of the sheds that have already been entered into this segment of the competition, our jaws quite literally dropped open.
There are gravity defying sheds on rocky outcrops with incredible views, artists' studios clustered together in a huddle (so that they look like they're sharing warmth in the Icelandic winter) and a sort of permanent tent-style shed that makes us want to get closer to nature as soon as possible!
There's a shed on a grounded boat, a reindeer observation vantage point with an incredible organic wooden interior, a flexible structure that almost removes the need for a creaky shed door and a spherical nest built in the Vancouver forest. And that is just for starters.
'Since 2008, we’ve collected cabin inspiration from around the world, with an emphasis on handmade, authentic spaces.' says Matt Cassidy from Cabin Porn. 'Like Shed of the Year, we celebrate the joys of creating, building, and DIY spirit. The competition is perfectly suited to our mission - creating a home of your own - be it a remote off-the-grid getaway or a backyard shed hideout.'
But that said, these are not sheds in the traditional meaning of the word, these are Super Sheds. Many of them have electricity, some form of cooking station, comfortable furniture or even - in some cases - Wifi! Talk about next level garden ideas. We're dying to take a round-the-world tour to see the best of them. Stay in them even. Because looking at these, any doubt in the idea of Shed-Scapism evaporates into thin air.
The Cuprinol Shed of the Year competition for 2017 is open for registration. To register your shed, in any of the categories (not just global), visit www.readersheds.co.uk.
Tough category folks. How do you even select your pick of the best garden sheds? Which is your favourite? We really can't decide! Perhaps we'll go out into the garden and meditate on it for a while...
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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