Quality Garden Room | Sandie Francis

Name – Sandie Francis

Brief – To create a light and airy space to run her curtain making business from

SMART Building – Key Studio 5.3m x 3.2m

Sandie is the owner of the Suffolk business ‘Curtains by Sandie’. With 20 years’ experience, she has built up a very successful business and reputation for herself, all in her SMART Garden Room.

‘Curtains by Sandie’ specialises in bespoke, handmade curtains and blinds and offers a personal and professional service to all her clients. Sandie, who has been trained professionally by Merrick & Day (bespoke curtain makers of Lincolnshire) offers a knowledgeable and friendly service for all types of window treatments.

From design & fabric choice, manufacture, supply and fitting of the hardware, right through to the handing and dressing of the finished products, Sandie sees the whole process through, providing a top-class service and product to her customers.

We were thrilled to assist Sandie when she decided to run her business from home and helped her create her perfect space. Sandie chose one of our amazing quality garden rooms, a large Key Studio which has a modern contemporary design, lots of floor to ceiling glass, providing a light an airy space to work in as well as providing a safe and secure building for her materials, fabrics and equipment all year round.

When asked what made her decide to set up her own business from home, Sandie said:

“I set up working from home about 20 years ago, first using a spare bedroom. It was very tricky! Then we moved, and again I tried to work from home by using and converting a spare bedroom to a workroom. Once again, it was difficult and had a big impact on our home life and space.

In 2007 we moved again, into a small bungalow. The only way to keep working was to have space outside, so I had a log cabin erected as that was all I could afford. The problem of course then is that it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer, with no insulation in the roof or floor and single glazed windows. This did not really work in in the way that I needed.

We bought our current bungalow in 2015 and undertook a full refurbishment of the property. Whilst that was happening, and so I could keep working, I rented a unit in Leiston and had the unit for 2 years. When we finally finished the refurbishment and the clearing of the garden more importantly, we could see that the garden had enough space for a workroom! This time I decided to fund a more appropriate work building and started to research my options.

With such labour-intensive work that I do, and trying to keep it small, it is a business that finds renting a purpose-built unit or retail outlet too expensive. A garden pod enabled me to get the work out of the house but also to make an investment in our overall property/garden. We wanted something that is ours at the end of the day”

 Why did you choose Smart for your Garden workspace?

We did look at log cabins again but did not want all the issues I had to deal with before. When we found SMART Garden Offices, we arranged to go and see them in the showroom and were thrilled with what we saw. We were given a full tour of the manufacturing process and really got to understand what we were buying and what my small business was investing in.

Everyone was so helpful, from the admin/reception staff to the owner who took the time to show us around and explain all about the products. Also, the fitters that came and erected it worked so hard and it was so hot at the time too!

How do you find working in your SMART Studio?

I had my workroom installed in May 2017 and it has worked so, so, well, I love it! Not hot in the summer or too cold in the winter (but I have to use my heater sometimes). My clients love it too, always admiring it when they come to see me to discuss their projects.

I find working in it wonderful, I have a great view of the garden and have all that I need in there. The only single issue for me (and only because of my actual work) is that the ceiling height is low and so full-length long curtains cannot be hung freely from any point in there, a small compromise!

I have loads of electrical points so using my tools/machines/irons is always easy and am confident that I make no noise for the neighbours as it is so well insulated and soundproof.

It keeps fabrics lovely and dry and is a perfect home working space and I have never looked back or have any regrets (except that perhaps I should have had an even bigger one!)

For the future, when I retire, we hope that it will make a wonderful garden pod for us to use to relax in and was certainly an investment that has given me the ability to keep my small business going, given us something to use for the future and looks fantastic too! Really adds to the look of our garden, a real focal point!

How do you feel about the service you received from SMART?

Everyone is still as helpful and efficient 4 years after having it installed and I recently asked about changing one of my windows to a door (having even considered moving the whole unit across to the other side of the garden to accommodate another project we had in mind!) and Sue/everyone has been so helpful with prices and info to help us make some plans.

“I feel like SMART still care, and are still there to support me, which is so rare these days. The follow up service is just wonderful, and I would, and I do recommend them often” 

If you would like to find out more about the services that Sandie offers, then click here to visit her website.

And if you, like Sandie, are considering setting up your business from home and need a garden pod for home working, then take a look at what SMART Garden Rooms, Offices & Studios can offer you.

Quality Garden Rooms from SMART

If you too would like to create more usable space in your garden then check out our other 6 other unique ranges which also make perfect garden pods which can be used as art studios, hobby rooms, stylish studios, or just as somewhere to relax and get away from it all.

If you would like to know more about our quality garden rooms, you can get in touch with us by following this link and filling in the online form. We also offer a 50-page catalogue which is packed full of inspiration and ideas, a design configurator and visualiser app, along with no-obligation site consultations – all of which are free.  

Building Specification

  • 5.3m x 3.2m Key Studio
  • Mono pitch roof covered in EPDM
  • Thermowood exterior with grey painted chassis
  • Anthracite grey UPVC doors and windows
  • Light Oak flooring
  • Popular 2 interior – White silk interior with painted timber beading
  • Interior 4 bar ceiling mounted spotlights
  • Exterior contemporary column lights

Request Our Catalogue

Please fill in the form to request our latest catalogue. It gives details of our full range of buildings and optional extras. Alternatively give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

phone 0800 242 5559


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