By Kristy Dorsey

Demand for additional space at home from self-employed workers has led a Glasgow-based start-up to invest in new facilities for constructing its bespoke garden rooms.

Launched in May 2018 by Melanie Russell, Outside In Garden Rooms clocked up revenues of £270,000 in its first full year of trading, during which all construction was carried out on site. The fledgling firm has now taken warehouse space in Anniesland that will allow assembly to take place regardless of the weather, with the finished units then transported to clients.

Ms Russell, previously co-owner of Tictoc Digital, said the company has completed 31 projects to date.

Most of these have been in west-central Scotland, with a handful further afield in places like Edinburgh and Aberfeldy. On those latter projects, she had to provide overnight accommodation for the two joiners and the apprentice employed by Outside In. The cost and time constraints of this limited the ability to meet demand throughout Scotland.

“So this has opened up new opportunities for us,” Ms Russell said.

Garden rooms provide year-round space for a range of purposes. Ms Russell’s own garden room – the first built by her company – currently houses her daughter’s drum kit.

But most from Outside In are being ordered as home offices as a way of “freeing up the spare bedroom or the dining room table”. Demand is being driven by the rising number of self-employed people throughout the UK, which reached a record high of 4.93 million last year.

Ms Russell left Tictoc Digital in August 2016 after more than 17 years at the company. Looking for a change of career, she took a year out and did some renovation work on her own home, which was when she came across the garden room concept. With little Scottish competition she invested £30,000 to set up Outside In.