The council building inspector in Mudgee was so impressed by Scott Cam’s shed that he wanted to live in it. The vast purpose-built shed on Scott’s cattle station is where he hangs out when he’s not filming The Block.
“It has all the gear and nuts and bolts you need on a working property,” says Scott proudly. “I rebuilt the house a couple of years ago and rebuilt the shed as stage two. It has mustering gear and motorbikes, six machinery bays and a full workshop with a loading ramp. There’s a tack room and I put in a mezzanine floor so there’s accommodation upstairs. I love that shed more than a honeymoon suite.”
Scott also has a shed at his Sydney home, from where he used to run his building business.
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“It’s a time capsule from that time in my life,” he says. “I potter there at least once a week. It’s my chill-out space where I fix a few things, have a beer.”
Scott’s love for the great Aussie shed inspired him to ask Australians to share pictures and stories about their own sheds in a new book, Scotty’s Top Aussie Sheds.
“For many people, their shed is an extension of their home,” he says. “My father had a shed and that’s where I started on the tools. He was from a family of professional fishermen, but he built everything in our house. All that ingenious untrained work came out of the shed downstairs in the garage.
“We just sold that family home and the shed is no more, but it’s a terrific place in my memory.
“But I worry that sheds are under threat. These days, that space might be taken up with kids’ play spaces – tell them to get their own shed. Or guest bedrooms – tell them to stay in a motel. I want to make sheds great, make them essential and make them loved again.”
Building the perfect shed
JF Renaudin of Design a Shed in Fairfield says while some sheds are simply a place to store “stuff”, about half his customers want to create a special space. “It might be a place to store their stamp collection or to write their memoirs. One customer retired and wanted a shed for his electric train set.”
He says the first step to getting the perfect shed is to think carefully about how it will be used.
“Is it somewhere to tinker with an old motorcycle? Will it be a quiet place to read or be a home office? Are there specific things to go in it, like a workbench or maybe an old desk inherited from your grandfather?”
Such specifics affect the length of walls and height of windows. For extra brightness, skylights are an option. “Maybe include a verandah so you can sit outside and look at the garden,” he says.
You can also personalise a shed with unusual or vintage doors or leadlight windows – he recently used doors from a Balinese temple. To minimise fuss, keep a shed under 10 square metres as, in most cases, this does not require council approval.
SCOTTY’S TOP AUSSIE SHEDS \ Murdoch Books, $35.
MEET SCOTT CAM \ Beaumaris Books will host a special reader event with Scotty on November 17 at True South, 298 Beach Road, Black Rock. Ticket and book $60, ticket only $40. Bookings: 9589 4638 or email email@example.com.