Take a look inside this family's tiny garden home they built to live in while renovating

The home that the family are renovating is a small bungalow
A family decided to live in a tiny garden home for 9 months whilst they completed their home renovation, and they share how they did it (Image credit: Google Earth)

It can be a real headache finding the family a place to live while you’re renovating a house, with many opting for cheap rentals or staying with family.

But Sofie Hepworth and her family hit upon an innovative accommodation solution – a one-room studio flat in the garden.

Sofie, her husband Rob, and their sons Reggie and Teddy decided to live in the ‘Sheila Shed’ for nine months whilst they renovated their five-bedroom Victorian coach house in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Family of four lived in 450sqft ‘Sheila Shed’

The family has lived in the studio flat for a year and it will be six more months before the renovation to their home is completed.

Sofie told the Metro: “Instead of wasting cash on renting another property, we thought it would be a better investment to build this place in the garden so we can use it afterwards as guest accommodation or rent it out.

“It has had its challenges with two kids and I’m naturally quite chaotic and messy, like many creatives.

“We live, essentially, in one large room that has to quickly adapt to become a living room, kitchen, dining room, office, playroom and bedrooms.”

How did they live in a garden room?

To ensure the family had everything it needed in the tiny space the furniture had to be multi-functional and extendable so it could be a kitchen, bedroom, playroom, office, and living space.

This included putting wheels on the sofa so it can be moved to the side, collapsible desks, an extending dining table, and extra chairs hanging flat against the wall from hooks.

The two boys sleep in bunk beds, while Sofie and Rob have a self-designed swing-out Murphy bed.

There is also a pink concrete outdoor bath accessed through the glass doors of the pink shower room.

Family shares 5 tips for small, garden room living

Sofie and her family have shared five style tips for creating a liveable garden room:

1.  Maximise height. All space up the ceiling is used for clothes and toy storage, and plants so she recommends building high ceilings to make extra space.

2. Get mobile. Sophie said: “We bought some sofa wheels from Amazon and simply drilled them into our sofa legs. This allows us to move the sofa around, adapting the space we need. Also, in the summer we can wheel it over to the deck outside.”

3. Tailor furniture. She argues for adapting high-street modular furniture to your needs rather than using generic pieces.

4. Use a range of colours. Sofie recommends using multiple colour shades to give the room impact and says some renovators get too hung up with matching schemes.

5. Never decorate a room or an area in isolation. Instead, Sofie suggests focusing on the whole space's continuity, flow, and style.

When creating structures like this though it is worth checking on the potential garden room cost and any garden room planning permission that you may need before starting.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.