Q: We have an area in our garden that isn't being used to it's best potential; we would like to convert it into a multifunctional space for use in summer and winter. Can you advise us?
A:Now this sounds like an exciting project. I had an unused area at the bottom of my garden on which I built a small studio for my kids. The key to the space was that it was multifunctional and that it could work well all year round.
There are two ways to do this. You can choose an off-the-shelf shed from a DIY store and give it a personal makeover, or you can design one from scratch so it works best for the scale, orientation and design you want.
If you do go down the bespoke route, you'll have the opportunity to design the structure yourself and get your family involved in the process, too. If this seems a bit daunting, you could approach an architectural student or young practice to design it with you. As it is a small, low-budget project the fees won't be high and expert creative input will make your
studio something extraordinary.
A timber-framed structure is the best option as it's easier to build, but make sure you insulate as much as possible so it is warm and dry in the winter. You could even add heating with a small wood-burning stove.
Multifunctional design is exciting as it allows even the smallest space to do lots of different things. The walls of my garden studio have pop-out kids' desks, a fold-out ping-pong table, a full-sized desk for me, stationery storage and even a sofa and mini-bar. Building a garden studio gives you the chance to be adventurous and create a truly unique project.