Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

18 Aug 2019

Reclaimed Summerhouse - part one

If you follow me on instagram then you will be more than aware that my husband has been building me a Summerhouse. Several reasons really, not that I need them, but because I've been on chemotherapy I have to keep out of the sun, and months spent just laying around, one does need a change of scene during the day.

Working on a budget and trying to use free and old stuff as much as possible I had a cunning plan ....

Husband had already started an area of decking overlooking the rather large pond and while it was a beautiful scene to sit and take in, I simply couldn't sit outside for too long. Standing there one day I had the brainwave that what I needed was a sheltered area, somewhere to relax and potter, take photos, sewing projects, that kind of thing. 

And so the idea for 'Church End' - the 'She Shed' came to being. 

in the process of hanging pictures and putting up some shelves

car boot finds and things dug out of the attic are being put to use here

I haven't finished decorating yet, and I've thrown together the styling just so I could get some photos to illustrate this post. I'm struggling to take photos right now, moving around and using my arms is quite an issue, so bear with me on the rough and ready shots.

We started searching for the cheapest 'summerhouse' we could find. I'm saying it like that because it is a really basic shed in actuality. I thought a rough frame to start with would help get a structure in place which we could add to in layers, to strengthen, reinforce and make look timeworn.

I won't be saying where it came from for a few reasons, the quality is terrible, husbands foot went through the thin floor on day one, there were parts missing, and other parts spare and it didn't arrive on the promised day.  When we tried to phone the UK company we could never speak to anyone in the UK, but rather a call centre in Indonesia who were never able to answer our questions. I am still absolutely baffled as to why a UK company needs their phones answering in Indonesia regarding the delivery of the item that is only a few hours away. Anyway, I knew if you buy cheap you must unfortunately expect this sort of nonsense. 

we ran out of wallpaper, more is on order !!!

Ok, so cheap crappy shed thing arrives, but it's proportions are exactly what I want, there are windows in the right places and the flimsy construction does make it easy to alter and chop about, so job done on getting a framework to start off with. It comes with instructions and Ian managed somehow to build most of it on his own with a bit of help getting the roofing felt nailed down. I'm not suggesting this is a one man job however, I would say if you are a normal human being then it's probably a two person job at least. 

First thing to add to it was another floor, I wanted a wooden floor to paint white so we called up a few local wood merchants and got a good price on some 'tongue & groove' flooring to fix on top of the existing crappy one.  

As you can see, inside and outside the end wall has been layered up with a lot of reclaimed materials. The chippy bits of wood boards came from a barn renovation our friend is doing. We basically dropped round to see him every few days and took away all his discarded materials. The arched window, still its original colour came from a reclamation yard called Womacks, just outside Norwich. We think it came from a posh Wendy House originally.

Once the floor was down we started to line the walls with insulation material, its a stiff foam sheet backed with a silver foil and the back wall definitely needed this as you could see daylight through all the panels. After covering in insulation sheets, which are easy to cut to size, we boarded over them with hardboard.

we've made curtain poles out of tree branches and I plan to make curtains soon

We added extra windows on two sides, the arched one and the small one in the back. This small one was fixed in place before the insulation and hardboard went up. I found it on ebay from a local guy who was knocking down an old outbuilding. Luckily my husband had learned how to fix windows into walls when building our cartlodge but this really is the first thing he has ever built on his own. I just had to make sure he had good tools, circular saws, etc.  

For some time now we've been scrounging pallets where we find them and from Facebook marketplace where you can often find free ones. I really should have bought a special tool for pulling these apart as it was back-breaking for my one man pallet destroying husband. 

As the hardboard walls wouldn't sustain being drilled into or take any weight for shelves and such he had a go at a pallet wall.  We might give it a wash of chalk paint sometime, we haven't decided yet. 

I keep seeing bits that need painting. There's still more finishing off to do. 
More next week about the extra touches, the decorating and the dressing of the summerhouse. I spotted a fabulous mid-century sofa bed in a charity shop and we might just have to go back and have a look at it, so watch this space. I haven't completely decided on how the wallpaper end wall will look, for now I have an old iron bed but this look is still developing as I dig out old things from the attic. 

The flowers came from a 'pick your own' morning that Southwold Flower Company had this week. I thought they would be a quick fix in terms of cheering up these photos as bare walls are a bit boring in photographs aren't they? Keep your eyes peeled for more news about Southwold Flower Company as there are very interesting plans ahead for them which, I hope, to contribute to in some small way. Just need to get myself fitter when all the treatments are over so I can start to collaborate again on beautiful projects. 

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