Blackheath man wins award with quirky tree-shed

Daniel Holloway has branched out by building a shed round two trees in the bottom of his garden.

You could say he has “shed” his image as a portable building salesman – if he didn’t have an exciting side-line already in running Kenyan safaris.

But now the 55-year-old from Lee Road, Blackheath, has another tool in his wooden outhouse, so as to speak, after winning Shed of the Year.

The Bedouin Tree-Shed has been an eight-year labour of love for Daniel, who built it around two living tree trunks in his back garden.

When the nation went into lockdown it soon became a sanctuary for the 55-year-old, his wife Beccy, 51, and their children Sam, 12, and 14-year-old Lyza.

Daniel said: “When lockdown arrived, the shed really took on a life of its own, bringing us closer together as a family.

“Spending time in it taught us some valuable lessons about appreciating what is precious and provided solace for us all during those really uncertain weeks and months.

“We whiled away many an hour in there listening to music, playing games and quietly reflecting.

“I’m delighted that it’s been crowned the Cuprinol Shed Of The Year 2020.”

The extraordinary space began life as a conventional garden shed – but has been extended and modified to encompass three levels with a footprint of roughly 5m by 5m.

It contains a host of treasures from Daniel’s extensive travels through Africa and is built around the trunks of an ash tree and an evergreen oak.

“Being in harmony with nature is incredibly important for us as a family,” he said. “We’ve been absolutely committed to avoid impacting the root system of the trees as we’ve been extending the shed.

“There’s also willow saplings and jasmine on the exterior which makes the shed almost seem part of the landscape when they bloom in the summer.”

The interior is decorated with African artefacts, vintage etchings and specimens of butterflies alongside finely carved ancient hardwood Indian columns.

A wood-burning stove provides comfort during the cold winter months with furniture plundered from skips and reclamation yards.

The floor is made of oak planks and follows the contours of the trees inside.

The Bedouin tree-shed topped the Nature’s Haven category in a public vote before being awarded the overall title from a panel of judges. Daniel will receive £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products.

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