Garden Affairs Bespoke Garden Studio Case Study

Garden Affairs have produced this case study regarding one of their latest bespoke garden studio builds

SIPS construction Artist’s Studio with green roof – 100sqm

This contemporary, eco-friendly complex of artist’s studio, workshop, toilet and 2 x carports has recently been completed for our client in Bath, Somerset, replacing a derelict breeze block construction triple garage at the end of the garden.

Artist Ruth Moser came to Garden Affairs Bespoke Structures Division looking for a turnkey solution for her Garden Studio project, to include planning permission and building regulations approval. From the conceptual plans provided by our client’s Architect, Bath based Alex Morris, Garden Affairs produced detailed drawings and finalised the finished design.

Once planning was approved, the site was excavated to a level that ensured the new building stood no higher than the previous garage block. Insulated concrete foundations were laid and decking was constructed to link all the rooms of the ‘L’ shaped structure together as well as providing a seating area with stunning views over the valley of Bath, Somerset.

Photo shows the workshop side of the studio with it’s large double doors offering direct access for delivery of art materials. Both sides of these doors are integral carports, providing warm and dry spaces for the garaging of cars.

Exterior Construction

The Studio was constructed from SIPS (structurally insulated panels) providing superior insulation value to that required by current building regulations. The outside was clad in Western Red Cedar vertical cladding which will silver over time to mirror the colour of the windows and door frames (grey, powder-coated aluminium). These high specification aluminium doors and windows were chosen to provide a sleek modern look with the maximum glazing area required. WC doors and workshop doors were also clad in cedar to provide an attractive seamless design.

Photo below shows the interior of the Art Studio. A floor to ceiling side window in powder coated aluminium was installed to make the most of stunning views across the valley of Bath. The main doors of the studio are fully glazed to maximise the amount of natural daylight.

Internal Finish & Electrics

The main Artist Studio area (above) was finished with plastered and painted walls and laid with hardwood flooring. Stainless steel fronted work units were installed together with a sink and over 12m of solid wood worktop.

The separate workshop was plastered and painted and fitted with a central remote control Velux window and 16 low voltage down lights to provide a magnificent 36 sq m of workshop space. Narrow frosted glass windows were installed either side of the custom made highly insulated garage doors. 12 double plug sockets were installed at workbench height around the room and like the studio electric radiator wall heaters were chosen as they have no naked elements that could cause a fire risk from sawdust.

Remote control, thermostatically controlled wall mounted heating provides for total comfort. 12 low energy 13W down lighters were installed to provide ample lighting. Centrally a remote control Velux window provides natural daylight and ventilation.

An externally accessible wc was installed and over a hundred metres of soil pipe were buried under terraced lawns to connect into the properties main sewer system. Externally, motion sensitive lights were added to the carports for security and wall lights were installed above the decking which can be turned on and off from the house.

Green Sedum Roof

The entire 100 sq m roof structure was then finished off with a sedum green roof with an irrigation system, adding to the structure’s eco-friendly credentials. Two double glazed roof lights allow for extra light without affecting views to or from the site.

VIEW MORE photos of this project in our customer gallery

Garden Affairs talks to Ruth Moser

How long have you been working as an artist?

After working for 25 years as a Fine Artist and exhibiting widely here and abroad, I retrained as a Textile Designer and completed my MA at Bath Spa University in October 2011. My interest in interiors and fabrics and wanting to expand my skills and range led to this decision.

Where did you work before the studio?

I have moved house quite a few times over the past 25 years and have been fortunate enough to always have a spare room where I lived for working in, so there was never a need to rent space. However, I had to be very disciplined not to let everyday distractions take over or disrupt my creative work. Doing my MA course seemed the ideal time to build the studio and make a fresh start.

What made you decide to choose a garden studio rather than rent space?

It has been my dream for many years to have my own professional studio and I have saved for many years to make this dream come true. Basically I wanted a place of my own and as my creative work requires solitude, the studio in the garden is an ideal place for me to work. From a financial perspective it also made more sense, as it is an investment that will enhance our property as a whole and add value to it. Also, with rent you get no return on your money and there is always the risk of the rental agreement being terminated for one reason or another. I wanted something permanent.

From a more romantic perspective, I have always loved the idea of having my own “den”. I have fond childhood memories of spending many happy hours in my grandfathers shed or in the tree house he built for me.

What made you decide to choose a contemporary design as opposed to traditional?

I have always loved wooden buildings of any sort. Growing up in Switzerland, the traditional wooden chalet and also modern contemporary architecture were equally inspiring to me. However, there are several reasons I choose a modern design. It was partly because of the flexibility and solidity of the sips construction method, the clean and professional look, the light and airy feel and the fact that it was possible to have a Sedum roof, because of the environmental benefits. Part of my research at Bath Spa University was sourcing and using organic, Fair Trade or recycled fabrics and materials, so I was keen that at least part of my workspace would reflect my business and design philosophy. We also wanted to incorporate our two carports into the whole building and the sips construction method made this possible.

I am also a great admirer of Scandinavian architecture and people who have seen the studio and workshop have commented on the Scandinavian feel of the whole building.

Why did you choose Garden Affairs for your build?

After researching several outdoor building companies I visited Garden Affairs, who were local to me and I liked the whole feel of the company and what they were doing. I did get quotes from other outdoor building companies which I had researched, but Garden Affairs seemed to have the most flexible approach. Some of the other companies only had standard designs and we wanted something very bespoke.

What do you feel are the main benefits to working from your new studio?

I can now separate my home life from my work life in a more effective and constructive way. The whole set up of my business feels much more professional. I can now invite customers to my workspace knowing that it will make a good and professional impression, which would not be the case with a spare room.

What do you like most about it?

The whole building is stunning, but I would have to say it is the view onto my garden and Bath beyond. When I am working in my studio, seeing the lights of Bath and the Abbey all lit up is most inspiring and uplifting.

To view examples of Ruth’s work visit her website at:

This just shows what can be created with bespoke garden studio design – a totally tailor-made solution, that looks great! For more information visit the Garden Affairs website.

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