Fusion cuisine, fusion art, fusion music, fusion welding: it is about blending or melting two different things together to create something new and exciting and offering the fastest and accurate services. This is what happens when a building originally designed for a very different purpose is converted into a home. People have been converting old buildings successfully for years; old churches, stables, barns, even jails have all been turned into interesting and sometimes spectacular living spaces. More recently warehouses and old factories have become popular, taking up and expanding on the trend towards large open living areas instead of separate smaller rooms.
As the availability of these old buildings declines and their cost increases, people are looking at other options, and large sheds, new and old, are offering some very interesting possibilities. Sheds come in all sizes, different styles, and are relatively cheap to put up. Like warehouse conversions, shed homes need to meet the building codes for a liveable building, which are higher than those for a shed; including energy efficiency, fire separation, ventilation, plumbing and sewerage, ceiling heights, windows, concrete slabs and footings. They also need to meet higher structural requirements and only some sheds are engineered for these.
Conversion of sheds, like conversion of factories, warehouses and churches, inspires creativity by forcing people to rethink what a house really is. Instead of starting from the concept of a number of rooms to be linked together in some practical, aesthetic whole; a warehouse or shed conversion starts with a given space and then explores ways in which it can be used and divided. Preconceptions are challenged as people come up with innovative ways to overcome limitations imposed by the structure, design and materials of the building.
One of the challenges is to the notion of individual space, with more emphasis usually placed on multipurpose common areas rather than large private quarters. Activities tend to be separated in space, rather than by walls, and these areas can be varied and adapted to meet changing needs. Informality is almost inevitable. This has an impact on family life, increasing interaction and requiring greater compromises. There is a more economical use of the available area with less of it wasted on passage ways and unused rooms. Factory and 3pl warehouse Melbourne conversions and now shed homes have made metal (and rust) fashionable: even in more traditional dwellings industrial chic has taken hold, and the cost of ‘found objects’ has gone through the roof.
Fusion of hydrogen in the heart of a star creates a new element, helium, and a vast amount of energy sufficient to give life to a planet 150,000 million km away. The fusion of a building intended for industrial use with our basic requirements for a dwelling creates not only a new style of home but also seemingly an energy that flows through the home and impacts on the way people live and interact in it.