When Shall we three meet againFirst Witch, Macbeth
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Wait, what? All this time, and I still haven’t shared the history of the #wyrdshed? No better time than in the midst of isolation….
On May the 4th, 2018, a heavy weather day in Toronto, the gargantuan Tree of Paradise shared by our neighbours to the north finally fell in the wind, taking no human lives, but pulverizing one neighbour’s shed, warping ours, cracking the roofs of the shed and playhouse behind, and knocking down a fence.
Not only was the incident alarming in its own right — it also bore a striking similarity to the time our cherry tree fell down in the opposite direction several years previous [upper left].
The 4th was with us. We were shaken. And, our shed was a goner. But, everyone was safe. And, several insurance calls and assessment visits later, we were given a budget to remove the wreckage and to replace it with something solid. So, I thought, why not make something wonderful out of all this chaos?
Instead of putting all our junk and rarely used items back in our brand new shed, I decided I was going to make it into a separate 24-hour workspace. I donated, sold, or recycled 70% of the shed’s surviving contents. And, I rehomed the bulk of the garden tools in a budget-conscious Rubbermaid tool shed from Home Depot. Then, I got to work on creating something inspiring.
Enter the #wyrdshed
“Wyrd” is from the Old English:
wyrd1  1. f (-e/-e), n (-es/-) fate, chance, fortune, destiny; Fate, the Fates, Providence; event, phenomenon, transaction, fact; deed; ge~ condition; pleasure; [weorðan]; 2. f (-e/-e) verbosity.
possibly from weorðan 1. absolute, (1) to come to be to be made, to arise, come, be; (2) to come to pass, to be done, to happen, to take place, befall, come, be 2. to become, be made, be.
I also like Dr. Hostetter’s discussion of “wyrd” not as fate, but as “The Way of the World,” esp as that’s also the title of a fabulous Restoration Comedy by Congreve.
Then, there’s the resonance with Shakespeare’s “Weird Sisters,” The Three Witches from Macbeth, not to mention the resonance, phonetically, between “wyrd” and “word,’ and that solid implied combination of “word” and “weird” when you say it!
Shed, of course, comes from today’s usage:
Shed  1. n. A structure built for shelter or storage. 2. v. to pour forth, emit, or release.
And wyrd+shed = #wyrdshed
Of course, in 2018, we didn’t yet have the budget or the space to create an insulated, electrified 4-season studio. Though I used it as such through 2019 and early 2020 because of the the addition of a power strip, an all-weather extension cord plugged in at the rear of our house, and a small space heater! [Thanks to Covid, the electrical and insulation are in the works now…] But, even at the outset, we had an outdoor enclosure with two working windows, a desk and a chair, and a lot of battery-powered oomph. Here’s the walkway cleared for all-season use:
My 8×6 Studio shed is from Duroshed. As our main “upgrades,” we opted for two plastic vents and a second window, choosing windows that open and close as opposed to plexi, though we left the plexi in the uppers. Right after installation, I built a few extra shelves inside the shed with some 2x4s from Home Depot.
The outside of the shed came primed and ready to paint. So we only had to prime the inside of the shed with exterior latex primer. Then, we used Behr Marquee 1-coat semi-gloss exterior paint for the whole project. The inside is their basic white semi-gloss exterior paint. The outside is a black semi-gloss called Limousine Leather. We were lucky to snag the paints on a promo with a 30% rebate from Home Depot.
To furnish the place, we went to Ikea and grabbed a dark blue Remsta armchair, a bamboo Lillasen Desk, and a white Skruvsta task chair on wheels. We also picked up one of those plastic floor protectors that goes under your desk chair from Staples.
For a standing shelf, I repainted one of the 20+yr-old wooden shelves we’d used for storage in the old shed [and several apartments previous – see painting photo above]. And I added mementos and items I’d thrifted previously, including a family quilt which needed some love as well as some awesome champagne coupes from @Mid20thLounge at the Leslieville Flea.
And, I used the remnants of my beloved Freida Kahlo fabric and a coordinating moustache print to make a pillow and some rectangular bunting. At the time, it was probably the most I’d sewn since I made my wedding dress!
For climate control and privacy, we snagged cheapy Tupplur black-out roller shades [no longer available] from Ikea as well as some mosquito-netting-like Lill curtains to slide across the doorframe when the door’s open.
Now, the empty bookshelves have been filled with books, notebooks, and mementos from our [likely one and only] big family trip to Paris and London that summer of 2018. And, things which used to be neglected in the house get put to use, here. Almost right after the build, I also scored this amazing Group of Seven print from my neighbour’s curb:
Last year, I added a patio set to expand my workspace even more, as well as a curb-side book-ledge that hangs beside the guest/reading chair. I also rescued a wretchedly waterlogged home-made quilt from Lake Ontario, carried it home from the beach in a kindling bag, and gussied it up with good old soap and water:
My most welcome recent addition has been this mug warmer!
I love my #wyrdshed. And, believe you me, with the pandemic, a 24-7 space of my own has been a life-saver. So thanks, oh thank you, Tree of Paradise.
And now on the phase two: A conduit, permanent lighting, heating, and proper insulation!