Blackheath family sanctuary wins Shed of the Year 2020

The prestigious Shed of the Year title has been awarded to a nature-inspired sanctuary built between two tree trunks in a garden in Blackheath.

Daniel Holloway’s Bedouin Tree-Shed has been crowned the Cuprinol Shed of the Year after providing a lockdown sanctuary for the 55-year-old and his family.

The Blackheath residents triumphed over hundreds of other stunning and creative sheds from across the UK after an exclusive shortlist was drawn up and then voting opened.

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Julie Twydell, another south east Londoner, also impressed with her budget entry.

The Bromley resident’s ‘Hobbit House’ won its category after Julie managed to put together a spectacular entry for under £250 using old recycled bits and bobs.

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Other impressive entries included PPE workshops to garden schools, with lockdown spurring on the nation’s sheddies to ever more imaginative heights.

The competition’s first ever Special Commendation went to the school shed, but it was Daniel’s Bedouin Tree Shed which was crowned Shed of the Year 2020.

What started out as a conventional shed in a Blackheath garden was slowly transformed over a period of eight years.

Extensions and modifications has seen the shed grow to encompass three levels with a footprint of roughly 5m by 5m, and most impressively encompass two living trees.

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Beautifully built around the trunks of an Ash and an Evergreen Oak, the shed hosts a number of treasures from the expedition organiser’s extensive travels through Africa.

The shed is decorated with vintage etchings, butterfly specimens and finely carved ancient hardwood Indian columns.

Furniture was plundered from skips and reclamation yards and a wood-burning stove provide warmth and comfort. The floor is made of oak planks, following the contours of the trees inside.

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Daniel described it as an escape from city living: “A chaotic shed from the outside, but serene and calming once you step inside…….almost Bedouin in feel.”

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“Being in harmony with nature is incredibly important for us as a family” Daniel adds. “We’ve been absolutely committed to avoid impacting the root system of the trees as we’ve been extending the shed,” said the shed’s owner.

Daniel, alongside wife Beccy, 51, and children Sam, 12, and Lyza, 14, said they were “delighted” to be named Shed of the Year 2020.

“When lockdown arrived, the shed really took on a life of its own, bringing us closer together as a family,” explained Daniel.

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“Spending time in it taught us some valuable lessons about appreciating what is precious and provided solace for us all during those really uncertain weeks and months.

“We whiled away many an hour in there listening to music, playing games and quietly reflecting.”

The Bedouin Tree-Shed topped the Nature’s Haven category in a public vote before being awarded the overall title from a panel of judges. Daniel will receive £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products.

Kirsty Woodbine, Marketing Manager for Cuprinol, said: “The extraordinary events of this past year have seen the nation’s sheds take on a host of new roles in our lives – from a family refuge to a sheducation hub. It highlights how creative and considerate we can be even through the most difficult of times.

“Now more than ever our gardens, patios and outside spaces provide welcome respite from the uncertainties of the world outside – allowing us time to reflect, relax and socialise.

“At Cuprinol we’re committed to helping people make the most of the outdoors so they can enjoy all the benefits getting closer to nature brings.”

Bromley marketing manager Julie credits working on her Budget Pallet Hobbit House for keeping herself occupied during lockdown.

“If I didn’t have it, I’m not quite sure what I would have done instead,” she says.

Made entirely from recycled materials Julie reveals: “Nothing is really straight, correct or perfect and that’s what I love about it.

“I like its rustic charm. I can read there, have a glass of wine, watch tv with the cinema screen, do craft and building projects – it’s great.”

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