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Beyond the 9-5: Our projects outside of work


Woodland Terrarium

Creating this woodland terrarium is like capturing a small piece of forest within a glass sphere. It takes a fine balance of humidity, airflow and light which I’ve learnt to nurture over the 3 years it’s been growing. It’s now developed well enough that mushrooms have started to appear! It’s a wonderfully intricate and enchanting indoor garden that brings me a lot of joy and fascination. 


Fitted sofa & bike building

We’ve been having a great time collaborating with our joiner, Nine While Five; interior designer, Wilding and Wolfe and upholsterer GW Innovative Interiors to develop the design and spec for a new fitted sofa and sideboard in our living room. It’s not the biggest space and we want to maximise every mm we can. I’ve really enjoyed the iterative design process with so much varied expertise to bring it to reality. It should be installed this summer and we can’t wait.

Away from the house, I’ve also had a nice diversion starting to build a new mountain bike for our eldest. It avoids me building myself a new bike I’ll never ride!



I have been learning some basic sewing skills so I can start repairing some of my clothes!


Quilt making

I’ve been learning how to make quilts with recycled fabrics. I currently have one finished, another in progress and lots of ideas for more. 

There are plenty of stages to making a quilt; designing, cutting the fabric, sewing the patchwork, quilting and binding. This is great because the tasks change and I can always have something on the go! A lot of the process is quite meditative as well so I like listening to a podcast while making something. 



We completed the first phase of our house renovation a few years ago and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our open-plan kitchen/living/dining space since then. Last year we finally had the energy, and most importantly, money to press on with the next phase – making our garden much more child-friendly and installing our much anticipated slide. It’s fair to say the garden had been ravaged by the building work and the precarious stack of bricks required vigilance when our preschoolers were out playing – see the before photo from lock-down 2020. 

Our plan was always to include some stepped planters to allow you to walk down from our ground floor roof terrace into the garden but we didn’t have the budget to finish this at the time. Beneath the planters is a small garden shed and the slide was a key part of our plans and a playful addition to the build. 

We started the garden build in December 2021 and we’ve been making slow and steady progress since then with the help of Willis & Jones Landscapes and Dan at Essential Roof Coverings. It’s been a complex build for a small structure [typical architect!] but it’s amazing now it’s more or less complete. It’s surpassed our expectations and really finished off the garden. 

Whilst we’ve had some professional help for lots of the jobs there still been plenty of back-breaking labour to do to get it finished. I’m still haunted by the long weekend I spent lugging 5 tonnes of topsoil through the house in rubble buckets to level the lawn!

Over the next few months I’m going to be finishing some steps down the planters and building a small patio area for a greenhouse we’ve had in boxes since we moved in 7 years ago at the bottom of the garden. We’ll  then probably have a bit of a pause before finishing levelling the lawn, rebuilding a stone boundary wall and installing some raised beds. For the meantime though the garden is a big improvement on what we had before and the kids are loving their freedom and thankfully the slide. We’re looking forward to enjoying the summer in it. 


Bin store

I’ve been building a bin store in my back garden which nestles nicely in to the space between the outhouse and the garden wall. It’s made mostly from old wooden pallets that took me far longer than I imagined to break down. It’s not quite finished yet. The flower bulbs have just been potted, which should be ready to go in to the planter later this summer once they’ve bloomed.


Garden Deck

Building my garden deck made from a neighbour’s waste decking boards that were about to be taken to the tip.