You may have heard the terms “she shed” or “man cave,” but homeowners who build additional living or working space through a modern shed say they have become more productive and enjoy their recreational activities with this supplementary space on their properties.
Robert Johnson, a San Antonio-based woodworker and founder of Sawinery, says he built a shed as an area where he could build furniture and other woodwork — something that helps his livelihood and keeps his tools safe from his family.
“The most common use of a shed is for storage, typically for items that are meant to be kept away from young children, such as sharp gardening tools. But aside from that, a shed can also be used as a room for work or for recreational use,” Johnson says.
With the tight housing market and high interest rates on mortgages, homeowners are staying put and looking to maximize their current spaces with sheds, adding functional square footage to their homes. Modern sheds can be used as home offices, yoga or fitness studios, greenhouses, granny pods and children’s play areas.
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“In addition to providing extra room for activities, this type of structure adds aesthetic charm and value to a house,” says Jamie Irwin, a landscape designer at Windproof Gazebos in Miami.
Shed costs vary widely depending on the finish and amenities. Prices range between $200 for a basic shell to $1,500 for a larger model, up to $5,000 to $10,000 and above for a shed that can be used as a home office or another purpose.
Here are some tips, tricks and suggestions for how to add a modern shed to your property from real estate experts and landscape designers.
Check Your Zoning
Because a shed is considered an extension of your home, “you should make sure that your shed is still complying with the local codes for building and zoning,” Johnson says. “You may think building a shed is something you can wing, but in reality, it also requires carefully measuring and planning.”
Prepare or Draw a Plan
You may be able to build it yourself if you have DIY skills and a well-drawn plan, says Walid Hajj, the Toronto-based owner of On The Move Canada. “Consider how much space you need and what you plan to use it for,” Hajj says. “Building a modern shed is an enjoyable DIY project for anyone with basic technical knowledge in construction and carpentry.” You also may want to consider a prefabricated shed, which can be less expensive but gives you fewer customization options than building from scratch, Irwin says.
Use Good-Quality Materials
Johnson recommends wood for a modern shed because it is versatile and easily customizable. “It’s also durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions,” Johnson says. Irwin agrees: “Think carefully about how much insulation the structure may need, depending on its usage. If it’s going to be used as an office or living space at any point during colder months, then additional insulation may be necessary.”
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Think About Customization
Alex Tinsman, author of website How to Houseplant in Durango, Iowa, says he uses his shed as a home office and workout room. “It has proved to be more valuable than I initially anticipated due to its adaptability to different roles, which I creatively assign it per the needs I have,” Tinsman says. “A modern shed is customizable to different needs, especially with a versatile interior.”
Add Creature Comforts
Josh Riutta, owner of Mikku and Sons Roofing in Phoenix, says he added a backyard shed to his home for his own use and to share with family and friends. So, having a cozy space was important to him. “My shed with its comfy chairs and cushions is the ideal place for me to unwind in my spare time,” Ruitta says. “It frees up my house and I can spend more time outside, especially in the summer.”
You should be practical about your shed’s security, sanitation and air flow, says James Morgan, who along with his partner, Lisa, runs ShedHelp in Minneapolis. “I tend to use sheds for storage and as workshops,” Morgan says. “It is nice to keep the mess and fumes separate from my basement or attached garage. Even if the chemical are organic, I still like to keep the fumes and any spills separate from my home.”
Be Green When Possible
Irwin says budget tends to be a big part of how you design and construct your shed, so think ahead in terms of what kind of materials you purchase or source as part of the overall project. “Sustainable materials such as recycled wood or metal roofs can help reduce costs while still providing an attractive look for your structure,” Irwin says.
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Renovate If You Can
Morgan has built two sheds and renovated four others as part of his hobby farm, and he says you can make an existing structure work for you with some creativity and a bit of strategy when it comes to buying materials. “If you are lucky enough to have a property with an existing shed, consider a renovation,” Morgan says. “You can do a lot with an old shed.”
Think Outside of the Box
Barbara Chancey, owner of Barbara Chancey Design Group in Dallas, says her company has created home gyms in a variety of structures, including detached sheds, abandoned barns and even a pool house. “We create captivating environments that blend strength, cardio and movement — three studios under one roof,” Chancey says. “Imagine a private indoor cycling studio to candlelit yoga and strength training.”
Prepare for Guests
A shed can become a great space to host guests or as a rental property with the right interior conditions, says Alex Czarnecki, founder and CEO of Cottage, an accessory dwelling unit platform that helps homeowners build ADUs. “If you rent out the unit, you could easily earn back what you spend on the project and then some,” Czarnecki says.
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Ways to Make Your Outdoor Shed a Livable Space originally appeared on usnews.com