An idyllic bijou bird-hide in the woods near Shrewsbury has come out tops in the Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021 competition.
Nature lovers David and Rosie Hoult spent 12 months creating a modest, Moroccan-themed sanctuary nestled among the trees of their Ploxgreen garden.
What started as just a bird table fashioned from a tree stump, with decking, became their award-winning 'Hideaway'. Working on the project helped the couple stay positive during lockdowns.
Rosie, 59, a trainee holistic therapist, said: "We’re so proud to have designed and built an award winning shed which started out as a pleasant distraction and DIY project that grew into a labour of love. Building the shed gave both myself and David purpose during a time when all the comfort of routine had gone out of the window."
Retired husband David, 65, set to work using redundant planks, scaffold boards, framing timber and glazed units rescued from a skip - thanks to all this recycling, the project cost just £350.
"It's become our little haven to escape to," Rosie adds. "l spend time in it most days either feeding or watching the birds, reading or David and l will sit in there together just chatting and relaxing.”
Twenty-two finalists competed for nine titles, with a winner for each decided by public vote. The Hideaway collected the gong for 'Nature's-Haven'. The overall Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021 was won by Danielle Zarb-Cousin, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex. She built her 70s-inspired Creme De Menthe bar in the back garden of her parent’s house.
Head judge and founder of the competition Andrew Wilcox said judges had been 'blown away' by the creativity, passion and dedication of 'sheddies' this year. "Whether they’ve built a pub or bar, a place to socialise, a business or just a space to relax, there seems to be no limit to what they can achieve," he added.
Kirsty Woodbine, marketing manager for Cuprinol, said the ingenuity of entrants this year was 'unrivalled' in the competition's 15-year history.
Categories included Budget (Tranquility Base, Les Rowe, Wirral), Cabin (Bra Boss of Kent HQ), Pub (Creme de Menthe), Unique (Bungy's Backyard Bar), Workshop (Peculiar Pear), Nature's Haven and Lockdown (Winterwood).
Tranquility Base, by Les Rowe from the Wirral, is a triumph or artistic vision with its seven outward sloping sides, using stained glass windows from a synagogue in Cardiff. The Bra Boss of Kent shed is home to a lingerie business and Bungy's Backyard Bar, in Plymouth, has everything from darts, to a karaoke disco!
Last year's winner was a nature-inspired Bedouin Tree Shed, built around the trunks of two trees.
It's not the first time a Shrewsbury shed has wowed the judges. John Plumridge spent more than four years converting his shed into a working pub 'Woodhenge', winning Shed of the Year 2012 (sponsored by Cuprinol).