Cuprinol Shed of the Year winner Danielle Zarb-Cousin with her 70s-inspired cocktail bar (Cuprinol Shed of the Year/PA)
A 1970s-inspired cocktail bar has fought off stiff competition from a bra-fitting boutique and a fairytale castle to be crowned shed of the year.
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-SeaEssex 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.
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-story, 12-ft 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.
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,” the 67-year-old said.