Written by Victoria Purcell

Shed of the Year 2021: Cool cocktail bar makeover crowned winner

Shed of the Year, Cuprinol’s popular shed makeover competition, was back with a bang for 2021, challenging people to transform the humble shed into something amazing. So who won Shed of the Year 2021?

Essex influencer and model Danielle Zarb-Cousin from Southend-on-Sea took the crown with her Creme de Menthe shed makeover. The 29-year-old turned her parents’ rickety old shed into a retro cocktail bar following a tough breakup.

Shed of the Year winner 2021 Danielle Zarb-Cousin

Cuprinol Shed of the Year winner 2021 Danielle Zarb-Cousin. Photo: Cuprinol

Transforming an unloved shed

After splitting from her fiancé – Love Island’s Jonny Mitchell – and moving in with her parents at the start of the first lockdown, Danielle channelled her heartbreak into a project, transforming an old, unloved brown shed that her parents were planning to knock down into a retro haven with an orange and mint green colour scheme.

‘I went through a bad time with the break-up,’ says Danielle. ‘It was the worst thing that could’ve happened, going into lockdown and not being able to see anyone or not being able to date. Building the shed became a focus in a time of chaos.

‘I’m really drawn to [the 70s] era. I love Elvis and Johnny Cash, and artists like that, so I made this whole moodboard and I didn’t want it to be a gimmicky or fancy dress-type 70s, I wanted it to be more authentic.’

Danielle spent three days painting the shed, before filling it with retro decorations, furnishings and vinyl records, which she collected from charity and vintage shops.

Inside Shed of the Year 2021 winner Danielle Zarb-Cousin's Essex cocktail bar shed with retro vibes

Photo: Cuprinol

Challenging throwaway culture

She says she hopes to inspire young people on social media to challenge throwaway culture: ‘I really hope it encourages young people to get a bit more creative and stop replacing things with brand new things.’

Danielle has been using the space to write a blog, on subjects from heartbreak and dating to lifestyle – which she is now in the process of turning into a book.

‘Moving back in with my parents for lockdown was not ideal and I needed my own space, so it was a place I could go and write and not be disturbed.’

‘After building it, the shed became a place where I could sit and write,’ says Danielle. ‘It was a little sanctuary for me and it’s something I’m really proud of. I’m so happy I won. It’s been a long process building the shed, so it’s nice to know it’s paid off.’

Essex influencer Danielle Zarb-Cousin transformed her shed into a cocktail bar for Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021

Photo: Cuprinol

A cocktail bar in a shed

Danielle nicknamed the garden-shed-cum-cocktail-bar Creme de Menthe, and it cruised to victory in the Pub/Entertainment category in a public vote. The shed was then awarded the overall title from a panel of judges, bagging her £1,000 and £100 of Cuprinol products.

This year, 331 hopefuls entered the Cuprinol Shed of the Year competition – the most in its 15-year history. Entrants competed across seven categories including Cabin/Summerhouse, Lockdown and Budget. A public vote through readersheds.co.uk decided on the best shed in each category, before the panel of judges crowned the overall winner.

‘We have been blown away by the creativity, passion and dedication on display from sheddies across the country,’ said head judge and founder of the competition, Andrew Wilcox. ‘The amount of care and attention entrants have devoted to their sheds this year is inspiring.

‘But it was Danielle’s Creme de Menthe bar and her use of colour, interior design and vintage decorations that really impressed us. We hope her win inspires a new generation of sheddies to get out in the garden and start building sanctuaries of their own.’

To enter Cuprinol’s Shed of the Year 2022 competition, see readersheds.co.uk

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