Upcycled garden office

Garden office built from 95% reclaimed and sustainable materials

Thanks to Covid-19, Brother, like every other business, has had to rethink how and where we work with homeworking very much part of the mix. This has meant people around the world have had to be creative in how they achieve a good home/work/family balance and we’ve seen some innovative solutions.

One of our managing partners, Dominic, ummed and ahhed about doing something in his garden. But with limited space and with everything in direct sight of the house he wanted something unintrusive, moveable, and sustainable. He settled on a shepherd’s hut built out of as many reclaimed materials as possible and converted into a sustainable garden office.

Materials used included:

  • reclaimed trailer chassis and wheels from a salvage yard allows the structure to be moved in the future (have office, will travel)
  • reclaimed pallet wood for cladding on the outside ends (coated in natural linseed oil for protection), ceiling, and feature walls
  • reclaimed stained-glass feature windows
  • upcycled double-glazed framed window frames for main windows
  • upcycled glass-paneled door cut in half to create a stable door
  • reconditioned Coughtrie bulkhead outside light
  • reclaimed floorboards for flooring
  • reclaimed light switches and sockets
  • many off-cuts of rough sawn and planed wood for skirting and trim
  • reclaimed monkey-tail window fittings
  • music system and furniture were sourced from an existing cache
  • groundworks:
    • backfilled with builders rubble from a fallen wall
    • retained using old railway sleepers from the local railway depot.

Where reclaimed or recycled wasn’t achievable there was still an emphasis on sustainability when sourcing the outstanding materials:

  • corrugated-steel cladding is difficult to reclaim in usable condition, however, it is long-lasting and recyclable
  • internal lighting system uses low energy LED spotlights
  • infrared heating system uses only 40% of the energy of other electrical alternatives by heating the objects and bodies in the room (the heat doesn’t escape when you open the door)
  • Rockwool insulation in the floor, walls, and ceiling.

We think it looks great, but is it practical as a home office? Dominic says the whole family uses it as a tranquil bolthole at different times of the day or week, with his dedicated time during normal office hours. We’ll give you an update after we’ve seen off the winter!