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Bespoke oak-cladded timber workshop in Shiplake

Gives owner new space for tools, hobbies and projects


                           Meet the client...

This bespoke joinery client were Hans and his wife, a couple in their 50s who live in a bungalow in a lovely country area, surrounded by fields. They already had a detached garage situated in a beautiful garden but they were looking to build a workshop to the side of the house, behind the garage for storage and use as work area. What made this project very bespoke was that they also wanted a lean-to built in between the existing garage and the new workshop in which to store their wheelie bins and hide them from view whilst also giving them easy, covered access to them. Prior to this, storage was mainly in a crowded garage making access difficult.

                                The project

As the workshop itself would be seen from the house, they were keen to have something that looked attractive and not brick-based. Hans asked me to design, make and build him an oak-cladded workshop with a window that would be natural in its appearance and in keeping with the oak railway sleepers already in the garden used as flower beds. It was also important that it would be aesthetically pleasing for his neighbours. He’d tried at many garden centres to buy something off the shelf but been widely told he’d needed it built bespoke, and was recommended to ask me to do it. I designed and advised on a structure using technical drawings, and once Hans and I had iterated the design, agreed and signed off the project, my team and I set to work in September 2019.


                   What we did...

  • First of all, between us we cleared all the existing vegetation, slabs and debris from the site away.

  • We then dug and laid the foundations which included a 4 inch concrete slab with a damp proof membrane, and a two brick course all the way around. The overall structure is 5.6m x 2.2m and the workshop itself is 3.3m long x 2.2m.

  • We also accounted for mains electricity to be added by including an electric ducking through the concrete slab so Hans could add this at any time.

  • Then the stud walls went up. These were made of treated timbers throughout, wrapped with a breathable membrane including the roof which allows it to be future-proofed with insulation.

  • We laid the roof which has a double layer of felt with cedar shingles on it. We used a double layer of membrane as we didn’t have the desired roof pitch but wanted it to still be breathable

  • I made the handmade, bespoke oak door and the solid oak casement window and we fitted these along with the 14mm double glazing in the window.

  • When all this was complete an insulated moisture resistant floor was installed.

  • The whole process took approx. 7 weeks.

                              The result

Hans and his wife Elke adore their new bespoke, handmade oak cladded workshop that gives them something totally unique to their needs and taste. It’s a solid structure with an insulated floor allowing to work in it all year round with good storage and a workbench. It also frees up so much needed space in the garage. In addition, the three wheelie bins now have their own home, out of sight in an oak cladded annex between the garage and workshop which also add covered access the rear of the garage so no one needs get wet! Hans loves his new workshop so much he’s asked me to design and make some aesthetically sympathetic oak gates for his garden and to design, make and build him a similar garden office matching the style of  his new workshop. Hans is happy to provide a reference at any time.

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