Cuprinol’s Shed of the Year 2021 shortlist of 22 finalists includes a roll-call of quirky and incredible designs. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites to inspire you to get your creative juices flowing.
Related: Garden shed ideas – projects and designs for your own dedicated outdoor room
We knew that lockdown would result in people getting creative in their gardens, but the Shed of the Year competition inspired the most talented entries yet and has totally blown us away. No longer just a simple storage structure, sheds are becoming the new way for people to embrace their passions, whether it’s transforming them into a work studio, their own bar or as a mini getaway in their own garden.
So, what did this year’s competition bring? Well, a whopping 331 entrants (double the amount of 2020’s competition) showed off their creations and although it was a tough process, the judges at Cuprinol have managed to whittle it down to 22 finalists. There were six categories: Budget, Cabin/Summerhouse, Pub & Entertainment, Unexpected/Unique, Workshop/Studio and Nature’s Haven, with three entrants in each category.
Ready to see some of our favourites?
Cuprinol’s Shed of the Year shortlist finalists
First up is this A-frame cabin belonging to Kieran Bentham, which not only has a really striking modern design, but also features glass and aluminium framed doors that open onto a deck. It’s clad in cedar with cedar shingles on the roof and has been furnished with mid-century furniture inside.
Used as a summerhouse and home office, this cabin features a mezzanine bedroom, wood burner and bar with beer and wine chillers.
‘I had a clearing in the garden that was crying out for a shed,’ says Kieran. ‘I’d never done any carpentry before, so this was a massive learning curve. I did everything apart from the wiring and the glass front – I can’t quite believe I was able to pull it off!’
What looks like a generic garden shed on the outside is actually a gastro-style pub on the inside. ‘The Snug’ is a relatively small shed that’s been left unpainted and blends in with owner Alex Reynolds’ garden – however, open the doors and you’re instantly transported to a cosy bar that feels a million miles away from its Stockport cul-de-sac residence.
Inside you’ll find a corner bar complete with a beer pump, a wine rack, space for a fridge and shelving for beers and glasses. Little touches, such as the drinks shelf around the perimeter, wood cladding and a brass foot rail on the bar enhance that pub feel further and there’s even a wooden bench (with a leather padded cushion) and a few bar stools.
‘We wanted to be able to host garden parties while making the most of our Snug, so we attached a foldaway scaffold board shelf to the outside and a 90-degree opening window,’ says Alex. ‘This means not only can we have five people inside, but we can also host people sitting or standing at the folding shelf.’
Shobie’s Hair & Wig Studio
Found in a countryside haven on the outskirts of London, Shobie Lee’s mint-coloured shed was initially built to fill a gap with her time after 46 years in the hairdressing profession. Now it provides a facility for people experiencing medical hair loss and is surrounded by Shobie’s Zen-inspired garden and courtyard, to give visitors a little peace and tranquillity.
Inside, this two-seater salon features a hair-washing area, wig-styling station, a library of self-help books, refreshment services and a curtained off area for privacy. There’s also a range of wigs, products and head scarfs to choose from.
‘I feel that giving people hair that looks natural and attractive, gives them back a little of their confidence to face the world again,’ says Shobie. ‘The Hair Shed plays a major part in this. Being in my private garden, the service I provide is made extremely personal for individuals and families who would otherwise feel uncomfortable in a commercial salon environment.’
Les Rowe’s shed is ideal for entertaining and is made from mostly recycled materials, featuring sloping sides, a seven-sided domed roof and the most beautiful stained windows. Set on the location of an old chicken run, the wood from this was used in the base of the frame, while some of the floor is reclaimed maple from a school gym and the stained glass is from a synagogue in Cardiff.
‘I’m not at all religious, but I love the atmosphere created in religious buildings and have tried to create some of that in my shed,’ says Les. ‘The ‘In Memoriam’ glass is not about the dead, its beautiful colours and fantastic designs evoke all kinds of memories and reflections in a peaceful uncluttered space. I also made a pond that can be viewed through the open doors.’
In the middle of the floor you’ll see a star, which was made from reclaimed pitch pine and is actually part of a trap door in the centre, which Les uses as a beer cooler.
The Bra Boss of Kent HQ
Joanna van Blommestein’s summerhouse was already located at the bottom of her garden when she bought our first house back in 2018, and was originally used to keep a washing machine and tumble dryer. Joanna, however, had the idea to turn it into the headquarters for her new lingerie business venture and revamped it herself with a lick of paint inside and out.
Inside is an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful bras, all under one little shed roof! ‘Ladies can come here to have a peaceful and private bra fitting experience,’ says Joanna. ‘Unlike larger department stores, there’s no queueing, no stress and it is a quirky experience like no other.’
Which of these is your favourite shed? You can see more of each of the designs we’ve featured, along with the rest of the finalists by clicking here.
Related: Shed paint ideas – including how to pick and apply the right weatherproof paint for the job
Why not get creative in your own garden and become a ‘sheddie’, too?
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