An outbuilding or garden room is a great way of adding extra functional space to your home.
You may have neglected your outbuildings in the past but perhaps with the current pandemic you have reconsidered how you can use it as a stylish and functional space. Upgrade an outbuilding with advice from architect Richard John Andrews.
Update the exterior
Check with the planning department that any change to the exterior, such as upgrading the cladding, is permitted. Then do your research. There are so many amazing materials out there, from bitumen roofing paper stuck over plywood to MD cork facade board, to traditional Japanese timber-cladding methods like Shou Sugi Ban. Zinc/metal cladding systems such as interlocking panels or bespoke diamond-format tiles can be used on roofs or walls.
Image: Koto Design
Add or enlarge the windows, as the more light you can let in the better. North-facing indirect light is the best, as rooflights and glazed walls that get direct sun can heat up in summer. Try eBay for salvaged double-glazed units, or ask for old units from someone demolishing an extension, then install them using a simple timber window frame.
Sustainable insulation is achievable for a retrofit shed or garden studio. You could strip an existing shed, cover it in plywood and then glue cork to it using a waterproof adhesive. A more solid structure such as single-skin blockwork can be clad in cork or wood-fibre structural cladding boards then rendered over.
Image: Will Pryce
Plan ahead when working on the main house and run an armoured electrical cable and water supply to your outbuilding to be used at a later date. Otherwise, speak to an electrician about adding or extending existing exterior electric and power points.