Shelagh Goldie

The search for a garden office for her expanding consultancy led Shelagh Goldie of Concordant Ltd to a Shomera home office where she found not only more space but also an environment that truly reflected the nature of the company's business.

Shelagh, a specialist consultant in people issues and dispute resolution, moved into her Shomera garden office in Spring 2004. As well as requiring more physical space, like many of the two million people in the UK choosing to work full-time from home, she had experienced the difficulty of maintaining a 'work-life' balance. An office inside the house had caused a blurring of domestic duties and work demands. With the business experiencing a period of growth, it had become imperative to address these issues.

Like many busy homeworkers, Shelagh had been reluctant to consider the disruption of an extension or a move to a new property, "I simply could not contemplate taking my attention away from the business to focus on a move or building work," explained Shelagh. "The disturbance to home life would have also been very detrimental to my family." In common with many others who enjoy working from home, Shelagh had become accustomed to the lack of commuting, no travel costs and enjoyed the tranquillity of her own home environment. She soon concluded that the solution might lay at the bottom of her beautiful Cotswold garden.

Although I was interested in the idea of a garden office, I was concerned about issues of design, insulation and security," continued Shelagh. "I certainly didn't want a chilly shed or a Swiss chalet type construction. After researching several companies I soon discovered that Rooms Outdoor was not only able to meet but even exceed the standards I needed."

Once Shelagh had made the decision to use Rooms Outdoor an initial site visit followed and work commenced shortly afterwards. The office was complete, up and running in only a matter of weeks.

Like all Room Outdoor's buildings, the purpose-built timber framed office created for Shelagh has a specification which is better than a traditional bricks and mortar structure making it suitable for use 365 days of the year. The floor, walls and roof are fully insulated and with pressure treated Douglas Fir cladding, maintenance is kept to an absolute minimum. Lighting, electrical sockets and telephone points are sited to suit Shelagh's work layout which incorporates a large working area, storage and a small conference table. Plenty of natural daylight floods the office through the double glazed windows giving an impression of space and openness yet protecting the workspace from the elements with the highest standards of manufacturing.

"I was a little concerned that the office might dominate the garden or detract from it," said Shelagh. "But in fact it blends so well into its surroundings that it looks like it's always been there. It has also received a lot of interest and compliments from friends, colleagues and clients.

"Having the office away from the house has made a huge difference in helping me really focus and grow the business. I can now receive clients here in a business like environment without being disturbed. My business is about helping companies resolve challenges and disputes and being situated in the garden surrounded by plants and flowers is actually beneficial to creating the environment for resolving conflict. I also feel that my family and I have our house back as a real home."

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