Alice Stolz

How 10 square metres changed my life

PHOTO: Whatever you may call these little bundles of space, they are brilliant and for me, life changing. Alice Stolz

I’ve waxed lyrical about my furious desire to encourage people to not keep building bigger and better houses.

To absorb a property’s existing footprint whenever you possibly can, to buy what you genuinely need in terms of space and to not overextend.

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But I conceded defeat during lockdowns last year. We had no study, and with my husband and I both working from home full time, plus three children supposedly engaging in remote learning, the tight space for months on end eventually got the better of me.

But when the reno is finished and the coffers are largely empty, it’s a challenge. And then I discovered a garden pod. Or studio, workshop, or backyard office – whatever you may call these little bundles of space, they are brilliant and for me, life changing.

Alice Stolz
“This little box has changed my life,” Alice Stolz says. Photo: Supplied

We went simple and relatively small, no more than two metres by five metres. As such, no building permit was required, just a planning permit due to our property having a heritage overlay (council approval was actually efficient and straightforward given the project’s small scope).

Many businesses are now specialising in this type of “extension” to a house. You can order the bare basics or have one that is architecturally designed and custom made. Prefab or built on site – it’s options galore in this burgeoning category.

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The only additional add-on I chose was a super-size window to have as much natural light as possible. And all that’s inside is a bench (a slab of wood I bought from Bunnings), a simple office chair and a small sofa bed.

In the meantime, I’m going to plant some beautiful and fast growing Boston Ivy next to my pod, so the green foliage will blend into the garden in spring and summer, and hopefully produce beautiful orange and red leaves throughout the autumn.

Home office pods by Harwyn
A home office by Harwyn (harwyn.com.au) Photo: Domain

This little box has changed my life. The magic of transitioning from house to “office” on days when I work from home cannot be overestimated. It might be just a few short steps from the back door, but to be out of the house and not hear the washing machine finish, my daughters crash home from school, the dog barking… it’s bliss.

And on the weekend, with the whole family at home and numerous people coming and going, it gives my children a quiet place to study when the rest of the house is heaving. Oh, and it’s the perfect place for my 12-year-old to practise the tuba.

Profile your business (for 12 months) – ONLY $499 INCL GST

It’s not huge and it’s not luxe but this pod has given me extra space that I can call my very own and it’s perfect.

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