UCLan student transforms simple shed into haberdashery heaven for Grand Design competition

18 May 2017

Shedload of inspiration from craft room for only student chosen for prestigious national exhibition

An interior design student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has transformed the humble shed into a crafter’s paradise after being the only student selected to take part in Grand Design’s Grand Shed Project.

Julie Holgate was one of five designers chosen to take part in the competition, judged by Channel 4’s Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs, which aimed to show how a 10ft x 8ft Walton’s conventional garden shed can be turned into an extended living space by challenging designers to come up with new and innovative suggestions.  The project was part of the larger Grand Design Live event in London, featuring the work of more than 500 exhibitors.  

A keen crafter herself, the 36-year-old Masters student was inspired by her own craft room to design her ‘Sewing Shack’ shed for the competition.  Resourceful Julie used mainly upcycled furniture to create her own little piece of haberdashery heaven at the bottom of the garden.

Julie, who grew up in Hurst Green before moving to Preston 10 years ago, said: “I based it on how I would want my own craft room to look with lots of natural light, practical storage space and a tranquil feel.  I submitted my designs thinking nothing would come of it and then suddenly I’m driving a van to London ready to start styling. Taking part in the project, meeting the other designers and getting great feedback from Kevin McCloud was fantastic and has made me feel much more confident in my abilities as a designer.” 

"I submitted my designs thinking nothing would come of it and then suddenly I’m driving a van to London ready to start styling."

Key features of Julie’s Sewing Shack are a cutting table, created from a charity shop find, a cupboard with handy padded sections for storing needles and threads and a wool holder created from an old wine rack. 

“I only had 48 hours to turn a plain shed into a sewing room so it was certainly a challenge but I really enjoyed the buzz of being part of such a big event” she said.  “I hope I’ve inspired people to think about new ways to utilise their living space and incorporating recycled materials is all part of that ethos.  The cutting table in particular was a labour of love but I’m really pleased with how it all turned out.”

A key feature of the Grand Design’s Live show at London’s ExCeL, the Grand Shed Project featured the work of five designers from around the country who all came up with a variety of new ways to make use of the garden shed.  The overall winner was announced as Rebecca Jones from Dappled Interiors who turned her shed into a cosy reading snug.  Based on the Channel 4 TV series, and presented by design guru Kevin McCloud, the Grand Design’s Live event aims to offer all the latest home trends in one place and showcases work across seven sections.

Photo Credit: Media 10
Photo Credit: Media 10