The Cuprinol Shed of The Year winner has been revealed – and what a well-deserved win it is. Danielle Zarb-Cousin, 29, won with her 1970s-inspired Creme de Menthe bar shed. The creation was inspired by her break-up with fiance Jonny Mitchell, of Love Island fame.
If there is a certain way to build the best shed for the competition, then being inspired by what really matters is a great way to do it. Danielle's shed proves this point perfectly.
Speaking of the events leading up to her building of the shed, Danielle said: 'I went through a bad time with the break-up. It was the worst thing that could have happened, going into lockdown and not being able to see anyone or not being able to date. Building the shed became a focus in a time of chaos.'
And focussing her attention on creating some stunning shed ideas also helped Danielle heal, becoming 'a place where I could sit and write. It was a little sanctuary for me and it's something I'm really proud of. The shed really represents that time in my life.'
Danielle hails from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, and is a model. During the first lockdown last year and following her break-up, she moved in with parents, setting out to transform an old brown shed in their garden, which was slated for demolition.
And just look at it now – a fresh, pistachio-coloured dream of a garden retreat with a 1970s theme. Danielle has a special affection for 1970s music, and wanted to created an 'authentic' 1970s feel.
The painting alone took three days, and then there was the decorating and furnishing, with memorabilia coming from charity shops. Danielle hopes that her approach to furnishing the shed will inspire her social media followers to adopt a circular economy and ditch the habit of always buying new things.
'I really hope it encourages young people to get a bit more creative and stop replacing things with brand new things,' she says. 'With my generation, everything is just so easily accessible. You can order something and have it so quickly, but it's a throwaway culture.'
Currently, Danielle is completing her book. Creme de Menthe won in the Pub/Entertainment category in a public vote before being awarded the overall title from a panel of judges. Danielle will receive £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products.
This year had 331 contestants - the most in its 15-year history. The shed builders competed across seven categories including cabin/summerhouse, lockdown and budget. A public vote through readersheds.co.uk decided each winner, with a panel of judges crowning the overall winner.
Among the winners of the individual prizes are Joanna van Blommestein - the boss of a bra-fitting boutique in her back garden, Mark Campbell, who built a fairytale castle for his granddaughter during lockdown, and Royal Navy Engineer John Williams who created a pop-up bar that's the perfect garden party addition.
Head judge and founder of the competition Andrew Wilcox said: 'We have been blown away by the creativity, passion and dedication on display from sheddies across the country. The amount of care and attention entrants have devoted to their sheds this year is inspiring. But it was Danielle’s Creme de Menthe bar and her use of colour, interior design and vintage decorations that really impressed us.
'We hope her win inspires a new generation of sheddies to get out in the garden and start building sanctuaries of their own.'
Kirsty Woodbine, Marketing Manager for Cuprinol, added: 'The sheer ingenuity demonstrated by this year’s Cuprinol Shed of the Year winners is unrivalled in the competition’s 15-year history.'
Next year's competition will have some real shed glory to beat, that's for certain.
Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.
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