A social media influencer from Essex has reached the Shed of the Year 2021 shortlist with her chic 70s-inspired bar.
Danielle Zarb-Cousin, 29, who is also a model and animal rights activist, started creating her Creme de Menthe bar in March 2020, after splitting from her fiance – Love Island’s Jonny Mitchell.
“I basically went through a bit of a bad break-up just before lockdown, so I moved in with my parents so that I wasn’t on my own,” she says.
Danielle settled on building a 1970s-style bar, because she is “really drawn” to the era – painting it using an orange and mint green colour scheme.
“I made this whole moodboard,” she says. “I didn’t want it to be a gimmicky or fancy dress-type 70s, I wanted it to be more authentic so I spent loads of time painting it all myself, then ended up getting everything from charity shops and second hand and vintage shops.
“With today’s generation, and with social media, everything’s so easily replaceable with something new and I just thought it was so nice to look at something and say actually that could be really cool or beautiful with a bit of TLC.”
Entering in the Pub/Entertainment category, Danielle spent three days painting an old and unloved, brown shed her parents were ready to knock down.
“Now the whole garden is being planned around the shed, so they love it and say there’s a ray of sunshine in the garden.”
Over lockdown, Danielle started using the shed as a space to write a blog, which is now going to be turned into a book.
“I started blogging from here, so it became my little hub because obviously it’s a bit awkward coming home and living with your parents again.
“From the shed, I’ve created this blog which is now being turned into a book, so it’s all been born out of this old brown shed which was meant to be knocked down.”
The competition will now see the 22 finalists go shed-to-shed across the nine categories. A winner from each will be decided by public vote, before a panel of shed experts decide which overall winner will be awarded the giant golden crown.
Alongside eternal shed glory, the overall winner will also receive £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products.
Head judge and founder of the competition Andrew Wilcox said: “The past year has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us and, now more than ever, we’re aware of how important the humble shed can be.
“Sheds are not just unloved, brown structures at the bottom of the garden that house tools and household junk, they are vital spaces where you can go to relax, work on a project or burn off some steam.
“The high-calibre entries this year really prove why we set up the competition in the first place – to highlight the valuable role sheds can play in our lives, in our businesses and the positive impact they have on our wellbeing.”