Working from home meets todays architecture


Working at home is becoming so common that people are starting to talk about something called a ‘work home’. One of the commonest types of work home is the suburban house with a shed at the bottom of the garden fitted out as an office, its perfect for the small business that needs to be flexible and limit overheads- an architectural practice for example.

But what about when clients visit? They’re not going to be overly impressed by a garden shed that limits light and space: Its needs to be made into a piece of architecture, a true demonstration of its occupants ’skills.

This has been translated through ‘suburban studio’, which is Ashton Porter’s north London work home and just about the more stylish garden shed you have ever seen. Clients are constantly blown away by the essence of true beauty and yet simplicity. They can see what kind of creative person they are employing and perhaps are inspired to capture their own little masterpiece.

So how do you transform a typically rusty and old garden shed into a piece of pure art? The first thing is to get the spatial relationship right. The suburban studio traced the history of their old but neglected building type from medieval times through to present day: analysing its contemporary form and translating it into their work home.

Suburban studio is what the work home project classifies as a ‘live nearby’ configuration.  This means that the work part of the work home is separate (the garden shed) with its own entrance and basic facilities- a WC and a small kitchen. Employees and visitors do not have anything to do with the domestic part of the building which is this case is mainly accommodated in the original 100 year old two storey semi.

Ashton Porter, the owner did not just stop there: he went further and created a separate little world of work. entering by the door marked ‘studio’ at the side of the house, visitors are suddenly greeted by a vaguely Japanese garden, with a goldfish pond, eucalyptus tree, a large areas of painted decking and a tiny circular lawn, no more than a token.  This is in effect a walled garden- a secret garden even- enclosed by dense hedges of bamboo and ivy and timber cladding.

The slatted timber cladding, black-painted is attached to the existing brick house, and by what its designers call a ‘floating fence’, is situated next to the studio, which is also slatted but painted grey.

Ashton Porter has a perfectly presentable office for the cost of just three to four years’ central London rent. It indeed saves the time and expense of commuting and it offers flexibility for the future.  If the practice expands it can remain as a satellite to a main office in town. If the practice shrinks, either the studio or the house could be let out to somebody else. With the addition of a shower, the studio could even become a granny flat or young person’s flat.

From glossy commercial flooring, to stunning timber cladding, there is no expense spared on detail- making this work home both efficiently functional and stylishly stunning. This remarkable property could indeed make the next big idea of 2011/2012.


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