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Outbuilding of the Week: A Very English Tea Shed

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Outbuilding of the Week: A Very English Tea Shed

March 10, 2017

I can’t stand most of spring. I much prefer the bitterness of January or blistering heat of July, where at least you know what you’re getting, rather than the hot and cold of March in New England. But I might change my mind if I had an inviting indoor-outdoor garden shed in the English countryside like UK blogger Jeska Hearne and her husband Dean. In it, I would wait out the month with a cup of tea and the floor-to-ceiling doors open or closed, depending.

The Hearnes, who also run online housewares shop The Future Kept, call it their tea (or “G&T”) shed at the bottom of their countryside garden: “In the day I love to brew up a cup (or pot if I have visitors) on the old stove and read my current book, or snooze with the sounds of the neighborhood in summer as a lullaby. In the evenings we love to wander down again and have a gin and tonic while all the insects buzz about at sunset,” Jeska says. Here’s a look inside this very English garden escape.

Photography courtesy of Jeska Hearne.

The shed is tucked away at the bottom of the garden at the Hearne&#8
Above: The shed is tucked away at the bottom of the garden at the Hearne’s East Sussex home.

Though it looks well-lived-in, the structure is only a year old: Jeska used a pre-built shed with accordion glass doors (for more information, see Walton’s) and painted it in Bedec Eco Barn Paint in black, “a nod to the famous fishing huts of Hastings.” She plans on adding a window to the cupboard (at left) to transform it into an easy-access potting shed; for now, it hides the lawnmower.

Inside, a mix of textures and layers, and a creeping vine overhead.
Above: Inside, a mix of textures and layers, and a creeping vine overhead.

“We wanted the feel of an old, rustic, pulled-together shanty, using handmade decoration throughout,” Jeska says. Case in point: the low daybed, which she built from five recycled apple crates topped with a memory foam mattress. The couple pulls it inside during the winter to protect it from dampness.

Vintage finds and spare cushions line one wall of the shed, which the couple covered in reclaimed wood.
Above: Vintage finds and spare cushions line one wall of the shed, which the couple covered in reclaimed wood.
Pelargoniums in mix-and-match containers benefit from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Above: Pelargoniums in mix-and-match containers benefit from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The shed has no running water, but a water-saving system catches rainwater from the roof.
Above: The shed has no running water, but a water-saving system catches rainwater from the roof.

To water the houseplants, Jeska “dips into that with a hand-held watering can once a week;” she uses the UK-made Copper Watering Can from The Future Kept (€49, or $51.69 USD).

Jeska layered the daybed with colorful mix-and-match textiles, including pillows covered in floral Tana Lawn cotton fabric and a recycled wool throw. The interior paint is Bedec Eco Paint in white.
Above: Jeska layered the daybed with colorful mix-and-match textiles, including pillows covered in floral Tana Lawn cotton fabric and a recycled wool throw. The interior paint is Bedec Eco Paint in white.
For a been-there-forever English garden shed look, Jeska clad one interior wall in found boards.
Above: For a been-there-forever English garden shed look, Jeska clad one interior wall in found boards.

“We collected the wood from all over the place. It’s mostly pallets that we ripped apart, then painted to age them, mixed with old floorboards from a skip we happened to pass on a trip to London and a few slices of antique parquet flooring a friend gave us,” Jeska says. She uses the paraffin stove to heat water in the kettle for tea. (“It looks great but I’m looking for something safer,” she admits.)

Jeska transformed found and vintage boxes into shelving that blends into the wall. A carved Swedish plate (an Etsy find) is perched on one shelf. Jeska collects the metal wall-mounted candle holders from local antique shops.
Above: Jeska transformed found and vintage boxes into shelving that blends into the wall. A carved Swedish plate (an Etsy find) is perched on one shelf. Jeska collects the metal wall-mounted candle holders from local antique shops.

Above: Shelves of vintage glasses, tonics, and teas, ready for tea time—or cocktail hour.

Jeska uses &#8
Above: Jeska uses “an old chipped teapot” as a home for pelargoniums. “Their bright colors and scented leaves make me smile, and they’re easy to keep alive too,” she says.
Afternoon tea.
Above: Afternoon tea.
A small container garden softens the edges of the shed and adds privacy.
Above: A small container garden softens the edges of the shed and adds privacy.
Lavender-colored catmint adds volume and color to the garden—and is a favorite for the couple&#8
Above: Lavender-colored catmint adds volume and color to the garden—and is a favorite for the couple’s cats. Jeska added elegant iron candle holders for lighting evening garden parties.
The shed sits open to the garden on a warm day. The gold-framed mirror at left was a lucky street find.
Above: The shed sits open to the garden on a warm day. The gold-framed mirror at left was a lucky street find.

On the couple’s list of weekend projects for spring and summer? Expanding the deck and adding a small wood stove, for winter.

“I am always hungry for nostalgia so I hope we did a good job of making it look old,” Jeska says. “The patina of time can only be a bonus.”

For more of our favorite outbuildings, check out our posts:

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