When Julie and Tony Atkinson moved to Australia from England, they did so in the name of work-life balance. “We come from Cornwall which is like a village,” Julie says. “Our children were young at the time and we thought Adelaide was the perfect place to raise them.”
The locals were welcoming. “There is a genuine warmth about the people here. I wanted the kids to grow up in that environment.”
Ironically, since founding Inoutside seven years ago, life has been anything but slow. The business designs and builds prefabricated outdoor rooms. Think studios, granny flats, teen retreats, soundproofed music rooms, and cellar doors.
They started small. “Tony has always had an interest in pre-fab. He made one for someone for their backyard. She did all of her [marketing] meetings in her back garden. It snowballed from there.” They built just a couple of outdoor rooms in Adelaide over the first two years. “Then it became one a month, then two – it just got bigger and bigger. Now it’s practically one a week [in Adelaide].”
Nationally, they build two-to-three a week. “We’ve evolved. Most of our work now is interstate: Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Queensland. Adelaide really got on board in the last 12 months.”
Julie believes the popularity of television programs such as Grand Designs and The Block expanded people’s minds. “In the early days people would say, ‘I only want a shed.’ Now they want something better.”
Curiosity is a key part of the design process. “The ethos for us and the work we do is to be curious, understand what customers want, and to take time over that process. What are they thinking and how will it positively affect their life?”
Anyone curious about the possibilities can try their hand at custom designing their own outdoor room using the company website’s Build It tool. It’s a nifty piece of technology designed in Europe and allows people to tweak their design, change dimensions and add and move elements like decking, windows, and lights. The quote automatically updates as they do so. The rooms also come in kit form and assistance is only a call away if you need help constructing your new living space.
“Later this year Inoutside will offer customers pre-fab linked extensions and additions to existing homes – with purpose made and universal links for affordable extension/additions to your home,” Tony says. “We are also introducing the new eco pod with pitched roof mezzanine living for bigger blocks. These can be completely off the grid to complete the eco experience.”
Do you have any outside renovation stories or experiences with Inoutside? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.