Every year for the Artists’ Open Houses Christmas Festival in the city, something magical happens in a shed at the bottom of a Brighton garden…

‘I had an idea one year, and I honestly don’t know why. I just really wanted to create a small theatrical experience!’

In what’s usually her studio, artist Philippa Stanton (aka 5ftinf who you might know from Instagram), busies herself like one of santa’s elves and creates a mindblowing themed installation using all kinds of weird and wonderful flea market finds, which everyone is invited to come and see inside and basically snoop around…

Last year, curious snoopers were invited into the ‘scented shed’ for a nostalgic time-travelling adventure through 75 scents from London perfumer Floris, hidden all around: in tiny drawers, and little cupboards, inside jars and tins, boxes, even handbags. Some of the scents transported you straight back to your childhood, conjuring all kinds of memories! There were also the odd nasty one thrown in for that extra element of surprise!

Philippa started her shed installations as a way to create something for her open house which wasn’t for sale. ‘I just felt some open houses were becoming a bit too much like a shopping experience and I wanted people to experience an atmosphere without the pressure of having to buy something.’

Everything you see on display is collected randomly and are objects she’s drawn to for no reason. ‘They’re just weird little bits and pieces I either pick up or save from someone. Car boots are obviously a favourite pastime of mine and a great place to collect curios.’

Each year, the installation in her shed studio is different and past themes include shipwrecks, a pioneer’s cabin, nesting, frozen in time and the white shed.

‘I don’t plan ahead, I just wait until something drops into my mind. This year I didn’t know what I was going to do until I visited my mum in August and discovered some antique gingerbread moulds and my son said “I know, a gingerbread shed!”‘

The 5ftinf gingerbread shed installation is open for the last three weekends in November. For location and opening times, see here. You can find out more about Philippa Stanton, aka, 5ftinf, here.

Photos by me and a few images from here.


  1. Thanks for sharing Ellie, totally lost into the shed during my Friday afternoon.
    Know where I'm going tomorrow now…

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