1970s-inspired cocktail bar is crowned Shed of the Year

It was a stiff competition for 2021 – particularly after we all had to make the best of our gardens during lockdown – but a winner has been announced for Shed of the Year.

A 1970s-inspired cocktail bar fought off stiff competition from a bra-fitting boutique, a fairytale castle, and 300 other entries to take the title.

Creme de Menthe, a mint green entry by social media influencer Danielle Zarb-Cousin, beat more than 300 entries to take the top prize in the Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021 after a public vote.

The 29-year-old from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, transformed a rundown old brown shed into a retro bar complete with seating and orange interior.

She made the renovation during lockdown after splitting with her fiance, former Love Island star Jonny Mitchell, last year.

The shed is decorated in 70s style, with rattan seating and a psychedelic bar cart to to top it off.

She said: ‘I went through a bad time with the break-up … building the shed became a focus in a time of chaos.

‘Moving back in with my parents for lockdown was not ideal and I needed my own space, so (once built) it was a place I could go and write and not be disturbed.’

Ms Zarb-Cousin will be awarded £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products for her victory, which included taking top spot in the pub/entertainment category.

Aside from the top prize, this year the outbuilding contest included seven categories and more entries – 331 – than ever before.

Joanna van Blommestein, from Faversham in Kent, specialises in helping women post-surgery, such as those with breast cancer, and won the cabin/summerhouse category by making a bra-fitting boutique in her back garden.

The 33-year-old said: ‘Lots of people don’t really enjoy bra fittings… it can be quite overwhelming or quite daunting.

‘I just wanted to make it a lovely relaxing, stress-free place.’

Mark Campbell, from Wingerworth in Derbyshire, landed the lockdown category by building a fairytale-inspired castle for his granddaughter while the UK was shut down last year.

The 60-year-old said of the two-storey, 12ft work of pine: ‘It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of enthusiasm.’

Topping the unexpected/unique category was John Williams’s pop-up pub in his back garden in Plymouth.

The Royal Navy chief engineer, 46, said of his handiwork: ‘I wanted it to be unassuming when you walked past it, but would open like a pop-up book.’

A bird-watching sanctuary took the equivalent of Olympic gold in the nature’s haven category, created by holistic therapist Rosie Hoult, from Shrewsbury.

‘The shed has become our own little haven… I spend time there most days watching birds or reading and (husband) David and I will spend hours just chatting and relaxing,’ the 59-year-old said.

After losing her mother and her job in the last year, Ally Scott from Southampton produced the best workshop/studio – a space for her to pursue her dream of becoming an artist and signwriter.

‘This shed has changed my life… I was a mess after my mother died, but this has given me back a buzz,’ said the 48-year-old.

Artist Les Rowe, from New Brighton on the Wirral, took top spot in the budget category with his shed Tranquility Base.

The 67-year-old produced a seven-sided refuge using predominantly second-hand materials – including stained glass windows recovered from a synagogue.

‘I originally created Tranquillity Base because I needed a shed, but because it’s so beautiful and unique I don’t really want to put anything in it,’ he said.

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