Walthamstow, North London, 2017

Contractor: Omniscient Homes

Plywood: Specialised Panel Products

Windows/doors: Senior Architectural Systems

Photography: Adam Scott


The Potting Shed uses waste materials throughout to form a new, meaningful space. It shows how inventive architecture and resourcefulness can make design attainable to those on a tight budget.

Grey Griffiths Architects was appointed to design this multi-use garden studio for a ceramicist and keen gardener. Salvaged materials were used throughout the build, fitting the ethos of a maker’s studio and stretching the possibilities of a modest budget.

It was important to the client that the build was not constrained by the workshop typology and that it could be used as an office and snug. The shared ambition was to create a warm, inviting space that embraced the practical requirements of a maker’s studio.

Situated on a residential street adjacent to Blackhorse Lane, the local area has both a strong sense of community and rich industrial heritage. The studio’s front elevation emulates the architectural style of nearby factories with clean lines, matte black finish and a low-rise pitched roof. The project is scaled to fit the residential setting, it nestles into the garden enveloping the mature apple tree. By only taking up underutilised space the garden is left intact, a set-back storage facility reveals its depth.

The design adapted to fit reclaimed off-cut plywood sheets and ex-display windows and doors which were all destined as waste. External-grade birch plywood forms a smooth, uniform patchwork finish, exposed internally to add warmth. There are designated areas for making, relaxing and working.

Client comment: ‘Appointing architects on a low-cost project may seem extravagant but their clever use of materials and advice has resulted in a bespoke design unachievable without their support. I now work three days a week in the studio, often with local makers.’