We all need a place - a private hideaway - where we can get away from our busy lives and enjoy elusive quiet time or hobbies.
The solution can be as simple as a spare room, a garden shed or, if you’re fortunate, a beach hut. But increasingly people are thinking outside of the box room and investing in a range of imaginative sanctuaries.
These days your retreat could be a romantic gypsy caravan or a storybook-style treehouse through to a state-of-the-art outdoor room clad in timber, a glass and steel entertaining pod or, more quirkily, a Hobbit Hole.
“It’s all about being able to separate ourselves from everyday life and all its routines,” says Jane Field-Lewis, author of My Cool Shed: An Inspirational Guide To Stylish Hideaways And Workspaces.
“There’s a huge satisfaction in having your own personal space, in a separate building from your home, styled and decorated as you wish, which gives you the opportunity to work or relax in your own way.
“An intrinsic part of their charm is that normal decorating rules don’t apply and they give their owners the freedom to express themselves in a different way,” she says.
Shed heaven: These humble buildings are increasingly getting makeovers, especially in these hard economic times.
They can be cheaply and easily spruced up with a lick of paint, dressed with curtains and cushions, and will work as a hobby room, retreat for teenagers or somewhere to simply think, read or write.
Garden room: “These were once the preserve of the wealthy, but are now a mainstream solution to gaining more space and enjoying flexible living areas,” says Roger Hedges, co-founder of Garden Spaces, specialists in garden rooms and buildings.
“We can create bespoke structures that are tailored to whatever the client wants, whether it’s space for a games room or teenagers’ zone, a cinema room, or a music studio, through to an extra room to accommodate guests.
“We use the highest quality wood and can even create a roof made of sedum, a flowering plant, so that the structure blends perfectly with the outdoor surroundings.”
Glass act: A glass room is perfect if you’re concerned that an extension or outdoor room will dominate a garden.
“In may cases, people don’t necessarily want more space in their homes - they want separate rooms where they can entertain and relax,” says Gary Davis, director at IQ Glass Rooms.
“These can look beautiful at night as, with state-of-the-art lighting, they can seem to ‘float’ in the outdoor area.”