Rustic plastering

The inside of the shed needed an enormous amount of work. Decades of dirt and dust fell on my head. Half the shed was covered in old but basically sound plaster, the other half was bare brickwork. I decided to use plaster on this half also. I had to go through a range of appropriate wall-priming procedures, and took guidance from books.

I'd never plastered a wall before and didn't really know what I was doing. Luckily I needed only a "rustic" effect - and as I've come to realise, "rustic" is a useful word for describing something you've done that looks a bit crap.

The paving

In the New Year, 1999, after having a short break from the work for Christmas, I started work on the path in front of the shed, by this point mere rubble, having previously been a concrete path.

Bricks from the demolished wall were used to create the path in front of the shed, as shown on the photo on this page. (And yes, it is supposed to curve like that.) I spent a fair while playing about with patterns for the brickwork, before realising I was tired of having a garden like a building site and that I really did want to get it finished.

You may be thinking that it's not a good idea to use house bricks for paths as they crack in the frost. I had read this, but then I had a load of bricks to hand, and wasn't going to chuck them all out and get a load more. Anyway, they looked right, having been in the garden, as part of the shed, for over a hundred years already, Most of the paths in my garden are made from such bricks, which have seen many hard frosts, and I've had no major problems.

Why it was worth it

The remodelled outbuilding has been worth the effort. Victorian outbuildings are as well-built as the houses themselves are, and look so much like a continuation of the house - same weathered brick, and solid slate roof - it seems a shame not to make proper use of them.

On rainy days Millennium Shed, with its slate roof, provides perfect cover, while its open front and window in one side means a good view of the garden. It gets little sun, as it faces north, but in the early morning the sunlight shines in for a while through the east-facing window. It would be nice if it faced south, but demolishing it entirely and rebuilding it on the other side of the garden seemed rather too big a job.

Millennium Shed has proved to be a good place to sit on those damp mornings and drizzly evenings. It's like being inside while you're outside.

In 2004, the section of the floor that was originally loose chippings was turned into solid floor, with a home-made mosaic made from broken crockery - described in a new page on this site: Memory Mosaic.

And finally . . . a few health warnings, and other notes

Millennium Shed: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Path in front of Millennium Shed, November 1998.

Path in front of Millennium Shed, November 1998. Notice the "broken up bits of concrete interspersed with weeds" effect.

Path in front of Millennium Shed, made with bricks from the demolished wall.

Newly-made path in front of Millennium Shed, early 1999, made with bricks from its demolished wall. Yes, it is supposed to curve like that.