CocoCabin - my new studio, shed, workshop build

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  • I'd been meaning to get round to building a new shed, workshop and sometime studio (I'm a photographer) at the end of the garden since we moved in in 2018.

    I got planning permission for a 6m x 3.6m structure which was necessary because of the height and the proximity to the boundary. In the end, because of a) financial reasons and b) the uncertainty about how long we will actually stay on this house I downscaled my plans to a 3.6 x 2.4m space but still with the 2.4 metre eaves height and 3+ metre apex height.

    My plan was to use some large double glazing units I had, from when we replaced some aluminium sliding doors with french on the back of the house, as two large fixed windows. These were to both be on the front of the structure but then when I downscaled the design I moved them to either side of one corner.

    My inspiration was the Hebridean architecture I saw a lot of when I went to Skye - simple, eavesless cabins with steeply pitched dual-pitched roofs and clad in relatively inexpensive but hard-wearing corrugated sheeting. The attached image is an inspiration shot from my mood board.

    I make furniture a bit and am a handy person, but didn't have much experience with projects of this scale so spent a lot of time on YouTube and researching timber framing and how to use this sort of cladding etc. When lockdown happened as a freelancer I suddenly had NOTHING to do so it was the perfect opportunity to get started.

    It took me a while to find somewhere that was open and had stock during those most strict early lockdown days. Eventually I managed to get 90% of what I needed in a basket on Fullham Timbers site and surprisingly it was as cheaper and in some cases cheaper than the then-closed Selco.

    I had to wait nearly a month for everything to arrive, but when it did I had a pile of treated and untreated studwork, OSB, joist hangers, insulation, cladding and concrete blocks in my garden and the summer was on its way...

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  • Fast forward and this is the more or less finished article...

    I'd been meaning to do this thread for a while and after the cabin got some interest in the background of my current build thread, I thought I should get on it...

    Now I'll start posting some pics from the beginning for those who are interested, from foundations up to running power from the houses and installing electrics...

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  • Looks good Nick! Interested to see the build process.

  • Wow, that is lovely. I’d live to hear how you went about doing it as I’d like to build something similar in my new garden.

  • I had quick read of your Insta, really nice job. Did you have issues getting permission or did sale through?

  • The planning process was relatively easily. I did a design on SketchUp, but I can't really use SketchUp (I'd love to learn) - I just used to upload a 2D likeness labelled up with dimensions.

    Then I just screen grabbed Google earth of the house and indicated where it would be, and filled out some forms.

    I got one reply saying that something was missing from the site plan (can't remember what) so I amended it and replied. Then 8 weeks later I got permission granted. It cost me £170.

  • @nick_warner cheers that's encouraging. I might have a crack at doing some drawingd myself and applying.

  • This is a screen grab of my submitted drawing for planning, for the original larger size with both windows on the front elevation.

    This was done in SketchUp with zero working knowledge of SketchUp.

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  • Timber arriving from Fullham timber.

    18mm OSB for the floor
    11mm OSB for the walls
    47x175mm treated timber for the subfloor
    47x125mm treated timber for the roof joists
    47x100mm treated timber for the stud walls
    47x200mm for the ridge board
    100mm insulation for the subfloor
    19x30mm battens for supporting insulation and also for the metal cladding

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  • Once I'd cleared the back corner of the garden and measured out the building's footprint I laid some foundation stones.

    For a building this small single, dense concrete blocks is sufficient and there's no need for much digging, concrete or fixings.

    I dug shallow holes, lined them with several inches of pea gravel and dropped the blocks on top.

    I set a corner block first and then used a good straight stud and level to level all the other blocks to that first one.

    I tried to get the majority of each block inside the buildings footprint so that they wouldn't be sticking out too much at the end.

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  • Look like it is going to be great. Have you given any thought to weed surpressent?

  • Yes, I used a weed membrane

  • Edges of the sub floor in and weed surpressant down. At this point I spent some time making sure it was super square.

    There's a lot of ways of doing this using methods like the 3/4/5 or large folding squares but for me the best by far was simply measuring corner to corner and making sure you get the same result, racking the frame slightly to adjust it.

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  • Floor joists and noggins.

    The joists are spaced at 16 inch centres, happy to discuss this in more detail with anyone who's actually interested, but suffice to say that the UK is utterly and uniquely stupid in that we use metric for all of our timber lengths and imperial for all of our sheet materials, so you can't build anything without doing some cutting.

    From what I can tell though spacing to 16 inch centres is the best/easiest/most efficient way

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  • Made a quick jig to get the insulation-supporting battens all exactly 100mm below floor level. Treated roof battens 19x30 for this

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  • Insulation in the floor. Not much to say here. Cut with a handsaw, joists and noggins taped over with silver insulation tape to minimise the 'thermal bridging'

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  • 18mm OSB down for the floor

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  • Starting the wall framing. Again, 16 inch centers and with an extra stud sideways at each for the 'california corners'

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  • Back and side walls easy enough, front wall was definitely the most interesting with the door and window apertures.

    I actually really enjoyed reading about wall framing and learning about headers, shoulder studs and king studs. It's super satisfying.

    I got the window apertures for the two corner windows as close to the end of the wall as possible while still leaving enough meat to take the weight of the corner of the roof and headers

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  • #topcontent - loving this detail - nice one

  • I clad all the walls with the 11mm OSB before raising them. There are advantages and disadvantages of doing this.

    Obviously it's a lot easier to attach sheets on the ground than to a vertical surface. And it also means you can get your walls perfectly square using the guaranteed squareness of the sheets, and then not worry about squaring them once they're up.

    However, it does mean the walls are bastard heavy. I could have raised the walls myself if I'd raised them unclad, but doing it this way meant that I needed a mate to help me raise the walls. One of two times I needed help during the whole build.

    Fortunately the shortest wall is 2.4 metres so social distancing wasn't a problem!!

    *Note - I tried to be clever here by also attaching the battens for the metal cladding before I raised the back wall, as there's not much room behind the building. But I forgot I'd be putting house wrap on first, so these came off again when I realised my mistake...

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  • Walls going up

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  • this is fucking awesome

    will you be insulating the walls?

  • subbing

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CocoCabin - my new studio, shed, workshop build

Posted by Avatar for nick_warner @nick_warner