With 24 million Brits now working from home because of COVID-19, the trend for buying, designing and building home offices has rocketed, a dedicated workspace becoming the new normal for those attempting to balance a harmonious family life, while being able to work efficiently.
Which will explain why demand for Inside Out Oxford’s garden rooms has gone through the roof.
Co-founder Walt Cundy explains: “We’re taking orders deep into 2021 but we have so much fun building garden rooms that we absolutely welcome all the interest we’re getting at the moment.”
And having just won ‘BEST BESPOKE GARDEN ROOM DESIGN AND BUILD COMPANY’ for South East England in the prestigious BUILD Real Estate and Property Awards this week, you can understand why.
And we should know because Inside Out designed Ox In A Box HQ! “We were delighted to be asked to design and build the Ox-in-a-Box HQ – a multi-purpose garden room installation, with a panoramic view over the lovely garden back to the main house. It’s a great example of what can be achieved in a bespoke design,” Inside Out fellow co-founder Jim Gabriel says.
“It was a real conversation that progressed from Ox In A Box’s initial thoughts to something really sophisticated that everybody can be rightfully proud of.”
Inside Out Oxford creates extraordinary spaces for work, rest and play and the company prides itself on turning its clients’ dreams into reality. They also work with eco-friendly, sustainable materials that don’t cost the earth.
So who better to talk to about designing the perfect garden room?
“A good garden room can easily add two or three times what you’re spending to the value of your property, so it’s worth making sure it’s been properly built from the outset — good insulation, good damp-proofing, structurally solid materials, and top quality workmanship. Ultimately it’s an investment,” Jim advises.
But where to begin? “Start by asking do you want to work in it? Play in it? Exercise in it? Socialise in it? Sleep in it? Escape to it? It’s sometimes difficult to think outside the box, so my first piece of advice would be to try and give yourself an empty canvas, a clean sheet.”
“Designing the perfect garden room is a functional requirements exercise first and foremost.”
“It is very easy to spend money, and difficult to save it,” Jim continues. “So don’t overthink things before taking decisions on the eventual design. And don’t pour too many requirements into the mix, because they all come with a price.”
“One of the last considerations should be what it looks like in terms of style, cladding, colours, and so on. And while it’s difficult to separate form from function, that’s where we can help.”
“Thinking about a garden room is often constrained by what you’ve already seen in somebody’s garden, or online. It’s sometimes difficult to think outside the box, no pun intended, although with so many off-the-shelf garden room designs being rather box-like perhaps the pun is deserved.
“We design everything from scratch so each project is unique. The conversation starts with the functional requirements and delivers in round one a two-dimensional floorplan design.
“The design at this stage represents what we think would elegantly and sympathetically fit the chosen space, meeting the functional requirements and taking into consideration how the sun travels across the garden during the day, the relationship with trees and other plant life, access from the main house, and what you are allowed to build without going out for planning permission.
“Having a drawing to react to makes the rest of the conversation straightforward, and we quickly progress to 3D versions of the project. The design phase is rather fun. It ensures ‘buy in’ from everybody from the outset, and enables everybody to have a say,” Jim continues.
Inside Out Oxford must be delighted about this week’s award? “We’ve put so much thought and positive energy into designing our projects with our customers that it’s great to be recognised for this. It’s a lovely achievement for the team and very motivational. Long may it continue!” Walt says.
It is the third year running that Inside Out Oxford has won this national award. In 2018 and 2019, the team took home the title for Best Bespoke Garden Room Design and Build Company for the UK.
The BUILD Real Estate and Property Awards showcase the most talented builders and property agents in the UK.
BUILD Awards manager Laura Hunter congratulated Inside Out Oxford, and said: “Though this year has been challenging for many, the success of Inside Out Oxford speaks of their spirit, drive and ambition.”
As for us at Ox In A Box HQ, we are absolutely delighted with our new office space which at night becomes a family room, escape and getaway.
Ox IN A Box’s Sarah Edwards says: “Even if you truly love every aspect of your job, if you do not have a dedicated workspace, it is challenging to separate home and work life and all too quickly the lines become blurred and the place that you should retreat to after a day’s work does not have the same appeal.”
“Garden buildings offer an escape – whether they are used as a workspace or a room for reading, playing music, indulging in creative pursuits or for yoga practice. To have somewhere to just ‘be’ has never been more important – for all of us whether we need peace and quiet or to focus on our work.”
Interested if so you’d better get your skates on. “Each one takes us a few weeks to build, and we work with multiple teams, so we can usually turn orders around at a pace but the sooner you get in touch, the sooner we’re likely to be able to build one for you,” Walt concludes.
Go to http://insideoutoxford.uk for more details and contact information.