• AXA encourages nation to reclaim their forgotten sheds with launch of ‘Grand Shed Project’

    April 3rd 2017. Posted in Home Insurance

    AXA encourages nation to reclaim their forgotten sheds with launch of ‘Grand Shed Project’

    • AXA is sponsoring the Grand Shed Project at this year’s Grand Designs Live, where five designers will battle it out for the nation’s best shed transformation
    • To coincide with this, the insurer has launched a call to action to the UK public to reclaim that often overlooked space in their gardens
    • Research by AXA has shown that if money was no object, 21 per cent of UK households would transform their sheds into workshops, 17 per cent into exercise areas and 12 per cent into a relaxation/meditation areas1
    • Insurer reveals exclusive tips from Grand Shed Project finalists and celebrity judge Kevin McCloud to provide inspiration for the nation’s sheds

    3 April 2017: Research by AXA has shown that 65 per cent of households with gardens have a shed, however just 30 per cent are classed as being in a good state. Furthermore, 55 per cent of people only use their sheds for general storage.

    However, if money was no object, 21 per cent said they would use their shed as a workshop, 17 per cent as an exercise area and 12 per cent as a relaxation / meditation area. This is why AXA Insurance has teamed up with the hugely popular Grand Designs Live by sponsoring this year’s Grand Shed Project, encouraging the nation to reclaim the often neglected garden shed.

    “It is clear that the nation has ideas of how they want to transform their sheds, but are likely to be put off by the cost and effort of doing something new. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Grand Designs Live to show the amazing transformations that are possible, meaning you don’t have to be restricted to using your shed just for storage” says Gareth Howell, Managing Director, Direct & Retail Partnerships at AXA Insurance.  

    “It’s amazing what you are able to do with just a small amount of space, even if it’s a shed. With so many people owning sheds it’s a shame not to make the most of them, especially as they can extend your living space and become an area you can relax, have fun or work in.”

    Motivating the nation to reclaim their sheds
    When looking to extend their homes, 14 per cent of people said they want to build an outbuilding such as a shed, which they would spend an average of £908 on. Given an unlimited budget, 19 per cent of people would choose to update their sheds with a “modern” décor whilst another 19 per cent would choose a “rustic” theme, showing that even if money was no object there would still be a real divide in tastes.

    So what motivates us? Fifty-two per cent cite taking pride in their home as the main reason they start a new garden project, followed by 26 per cent who consider it a hobby and 25 per cent who want to get back to nature.

    Grand Shed Project finalists’ top tips

    To help the nation get motivated, the finalists of Grand Designs Live’s Grand Shed Project have shared some exclusive top tips on how to make the most out of your shed:

    • “When deciding on how to decorate a shed, my number one tip would be – forget it’s a shed! Think of it as a room in your house, doing this will broaden your vision of what this four-walled outdoor room could be.” – Dappled Interiors, Reading Snug
    •  “Sheds by their nature are generally on the small side, so it is a great idea to consider furniture, lighting and storage to be wall hung or suspended to try and free up the floor space and give the illusion of more room.” – KG Lifestyle & Interiors, Boutique Bedroom
    •  “Depending on how you plan use the shed, make sure you look to the immediate landscape it’s connected to and try to let this inform the interior design; from plant selection to materials, a lot can be brought inside.” – The Garden Designer, Bringing the Outdoors In
    • “Think what you want to use the space for and plan your layout on paper first. Also, if you want to be able to use your shed all year round, think about insulation and heating.” – Garden Hideouts,  South Beach Miami

    Presenter of Grand Designs, Kevin McCloud, adds: "I consider myself an expert on sheds having built one from scratch - which included felling the tree to get the timber to make the shed.  I also spend a lot of time in it and frequently overnight there just to wake up to the sound of birds and bees.

    “A good shed is a retreat, a location that is magically outside the normal space-time-smartphone continuum.  A good shed is also a place for the imagination to wander and an antidote to stress.  A good shed can be posh (think glamping, or rather gledding); it can be functional (paint pots and strimmer); it can be wild (trapping equipment and axes), but as writers from Thoreau to Nietzsche have recognised, a good shed is an essential component of a civilised life."

    AXA Insurance will be attending Grand Designs Live at the Excel, London between 29 April and 7 May where they will be sponsoring the Grand Shed Project feature. To find out more, follow #GrandShedProject on social media or visit:

    Media Contacts 
    Notes for Editors 
    1. Figures obtained from research commissioned by AXA of 2000 UK households who have a garden. The research was carried out by OnePoll in March 2017.



    Rebecca D’Cunha, 07775 014 987 – rebecca.dcunha@axa-insurance.co.uk  

    About AXA

    The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 166,000 employees serving 107 million clients in 64 countries. In 2016, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 100.2 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.7 billion. AXA had Euro 1,429 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2016. In 2016 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 8th consecutive year.

    In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Insurance, AXA PPP healthcare and AXA Ireland. AXA employs over 10,000 staff in the UK.

    The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

    The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

    It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.