Recycled, solar-powered, boat-roofed wonder wins Shed of the Year


July 9, 2013

Alex Holland's Shed of the Year 2013 (Photo:

Alex Holland's Shed of the Year 2013 (Photo:

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Gizmag sends out its heartfelt congratulations to Alex Holland, winner of this year's coveted Shed of the Year award for his solar-powered nautically-themed shed built almost entirely from salvaged materials. The crowning glory is a 14-ft boat which has been left whole and inverted to form the roof. A 20-W solar panel powers the creature comforts inside.

To create the shed's frame, the boat was fixed atop four telegraph poles plonked judiciously on a hillside amid Wales' Cambrian Mountains. (The views aren't at all bad, either). Aluminum-framed windows were salvaged from a 1940s caravan, and others were "borrowed" from Holland's farmhouse. Walls are a mixture of corrugated metal and, for a taste of the Neolithic, wattle and daub.

Inside things take a turn for the high tech. The shed's PV panel feeds a battery which provides power to LED lighting and a 12-V sound system – the only new item in the construction. The shed also boasts a plumbed Belfast sink (the generous, cuboid-shaped ones), and a 19th century wood burning stove for heat fitted with a chimney fashioned from the queen pole of an old circus big top.

Where sheds end and (sometimes pretentious) "micro-dwellings" begin is anyone's guess, but it's refreshing to come across a modestly-sized building designed for purposes other than commenting on the inherent tension between built and natural environments or seeking to blur the boundary between the indoors and the outdoors. Holland's motive? "We have discovered that the shed is an ideal space for middle aged women to get drunk and dance wildly under the stars and we intend to pursue this policy!" he writes, at "It is also an ideal place for me to sit whilst our 3 dogs run around our field exercising themselves."

Holland intends to spend the £1,000 winnings (more than twice the cost of building the shed) on a wind turbine "to give me enough electricity to make ice in the fridge for gin and tonics, and to ensure the cider and beers are always chilled."


About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

Having it win the Shed Of The Year, I wonder what the other sheds look like.

It is very eclectic. I like the idea that he used recycled material to make it. I wonder if there was any way to make it look nicer.


From his comments, I assume that he's more interested in the view out than what the shed looks like. You could build something similar (only similar, because this is nearly impossible to duplicate), and give it a more 'unified' appearance if you wanted, simply by painting the outside in one colour. But it's all in the eye of the beholder, and I like it as is.

Alexander Lowe

A true building, where an ordinary man created something that he needed, even if it is just to sit in a get drunk! This kind of dwelling has been built for thousands of years and still happens in many countries. Whilst modern buildings may be much more technical, they are quite often very impersonal and matter of fact. Not only is this built from reclaimed scrap and built for purpose, it is very personal. He will love this like his first car and whilst we all move on to technically better versions we will always remember our first cars as being 1 of the most important things in our lives. Being Britain, I'm surprised the local council haven't already moved in with bulldozers for lack of planning permission or taxed his second home?


On pourrait appeler cela le "Recyclage durable par détournement inventif"...?!..Amazing...!

Peter Dietze

Thank you for your congratulations and nice comments about my shed! It is much appreciated. All the best Alex

DJ Badly
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