Get electrified: Learn more about adding electricity and plumbing to your shed

When planning for your Modern-Shed, there are some key things to keep in mind when it comes to adding electricity and plumbing to your shed.

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Electricity:

A Modern-Shed with an electrical framing package includes:

  • All wall studs pre-drilled for “roping” (running the electrical wiring throughout the walls), making it easier and faster for your electrician to do their work
  • 1 ceiling chase in the center of the roof panel to allow for the wiring of a ceiling light. We also offer the option of adding more ceiling chases. Our panel system for the ceiling is a fully enclosed and insulated box panel with no access to the interior framing of the roof panel.
  • Wall framing next to a door to allow for a junction box for exterior light

Differences to expect from traditional building:

Due to the panelization process where two panels come together, it is not always possible to put the junction boxes or switches in the exact desired location.

For wall switch and exterior light, due to where panels come together, and the desired location of the door (particularly if in a corner), it may not be possible to put a wall switch or exterior light in the exact desired location, such as right next to the door because of wall framing members required by the building process and panel connection.

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Outlets and switches can’t always be placed in the desired location.

The determining factor for the ceiling chase will be the overall length of the roof, which determines the exact center, left to right. If the center of the building falls in the same place as the location of a ceiling joist, then the electrical chase will need to be on one side or the other of that joist.

Our design professionals work closely with you to help determine locations of these items to obtain as close to desired location as possible. IMG_5268

Plumbing:

If you desire plumbing in your Modern-Shed, there are elements which must be considered due to the Modern-Shed unique floor system.

 

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It is important to work with your plumber and design pro to consider where your water supply and drainpipes will be located

We use a 4X perimeter beam directly below the wall framing that cannot be drilled through. Location of the plumbing elements must be taken into consideration.

 

First, it is important to understand the three elements of plumbing:

1. The supply (incoming water) for hot and cold water from the source feeding the sink, toilet and shower.

2. The drainpipes for the same three fixtures. Keep in mind that water / waste exiting a toilet is considered black water and must be drained into a sewer or septic system.

3. Venting for the items in item 2 above which must be hidden within a wall cavity.

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Typical plumbing would have the supply coming through the floor and into the wall cavity and the drainpipe for a sink would typically go into the wall and through the floor via the wall cavity which would also carry the venting. The toilet and shower would drain through the floor and connect within and between the floor joists.

In a Modern-Shed, the designer and plumber must consider the location of our perimeter floor beam which sits directly below the bottom plate of the wall and is typically a 4x beam which cannot be drilled through.

In order to design the piping routing and locations, there are three design solutions to the scenarios. Considering the drains first, the drains can go directly through our floor system and connect below the floor. Our floor system is fully enclosed and insulated therefore the drainpipes cannot connect within or between the floor joists.

It is of utmost importance that the location of drain holes for shower and toilet be determined before fabrication so we can pre-frame the floor panels to accept the drains, if by chance the design calls for the holes to be directly above a joist or where two panels come together. If this were to be the case, we custom design the floor and provide a schematic for your plumber to locate the exact spot where the toilet and shower drains need to be.

The supply line for the toilet can come through the floor inward of the floor beam since it resides next to the toilet unlike a shower or sink which reside within the wall cavity.DSC_0749

For the sink and shower supply lines, there are three solutions:

1. The full height of the wall where the plumbing wants to go can be made thicker with either 2×6 or 2×8 studs to accommodate the space required to drill through the bottom plate of the wall and not hit the perimeter beam.

2. The wall can be thicker only part way up from the floor to accommodate the supply line and vents. This would create a handy “shelf” behind the sink and toilet.

3. Normally there will need to be an interior wall with a door for the bathroom and the supply lines and venting can reside in that wall, depending on the door location, particularly if the door is a pocket door. A barn style door could be used if necessary.

It will be important to familiarize yourself with local building codes by working with your local plumber and then working with your Modern-Shed design professional to achieve the best design possible.

Saving energy: A Modern-Shed testimony

A few years back, CBS Early News did a segment with Bill Nye the Science Guy about how white rooftops could combat global warming — the idea being that darker rooftops retain heat and cause people to use more of their air conditioning.

A Modern-Shed customer recently brought this to our attention, and it got us thinking about all the ways a Modern-Shed could be made to be energy-efficient.

az150925-0552Our general manager, Tim, shares his own experience about how he heats and cools his own Modern-Shed:

I have a direct south and west exposure which brings in tons of natural light. Along with the upper clearstory transom glass, I also have a 6-foot sliding glass door and an awning window.

The Ply Gem window and door have excellent energy values and my shed has walls with R-21 insulation, a roof with rigid foam R-38 and a floor system with R-21. I use a small radiant heater in the winter to keep my office toasty warm. Set on the first of three levels at 68 or 69 degrees is all it needs due to the excellent insulation.

In the summer, I have a stand-alone AC unit that vents through the awning window very easily and I have curtains to block out the late afternoon sun, but then I can’t see out. I remembered from years ago when I sold sunrooms that glass is better shaded from the exterior before the sun/heat gets to the glass. So, I put an exterior roll up shade on the large window.image006

If you can stop or filter the sun’s heat before it gets to the insulated glass, the LowE/Argon glass doesn’t have to work so hard and is much more efficient. I ordered a roll down shade screen from Amazon, and with it, I really don’t even need the air conditioning, which I prefer, and can then use the lower awning portion the window to cool in the morning and evening hours.

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A particular state of mind

PORTLAND — Scott was looking for a little more space in the three-bedroom home he bought in 2017, when he contacted design professional Jeff Bergerson about building a Modern-Shed in his backyard.

Scott shares his home with roommates, and in the basement the occasional Airbnb guest comes to stay. But he wanted space to make music and more room for his own guests coming over.

“I wanted a little area for music and art and a guest area,” he said. “I don’t really have that in my house, mainly I wanted a separate space to make music and be able to be noisy that wasn’t going to bother people in the house. I don’t want to be disturbing to my Airbnb guests.”

12 by 16 ModernShedScott had Modern-Shed build a 12’ by 16’ shed with an open floor plan. At one end of the shed, he mixes music, while in another he has a large sectional couch that folds out into a bed.

“I mostly compute music, but I also have some instruments,” he says. “I collaborate with friends. I have a lot of friends who make music, so this is a space I can use with other people and collaborate on stuff. I like the feeling of leaving the house and stepping into that space. It’s separate from the house, so it puts you in a particular state of mind. You’re not thinking about cooking and cleaning in another part of the house.”

Scott encountered no issues with the construction of his Modern-Shed, and with the amount of options available to him to customize his shed.

“There were not really any surprises,” he says. “I was surprised by how things really did go as planned. Everyone that has seen it thinks it’s great and has been impressed by it.”

Looking to move? Bring your Modern-Shed!

Often at Modern-Shed, our design professionals encounter customers who are not quite ready to commit to purchasing a shed, in part because they’re afraid of the permanency of the shed.

Here’s where we remind folks that while our sheds are not DIY kits, per se, they can be taken apart and moved to a new location, should you decide to move.

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Modern-Sheds can be taken apart and moved, should you decide to buy a new house.

“It’s something I think our customers don’t even think about until I bring it up,” said design pro Jeff Bergerson. “The question of moving strikes fear: there’s the expense, the hassle of moving, of pulling kids out of school districts. It’s reassuring to them to know that if they do have to move, they can disassemble their shed, put it in a trailer and put it all back together again.”

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Pantone’s Color of the Year

Pantone’s Color of the 2019 is Living Coral, a bright and cheery color that would liven up any room in your Modern-Shed or simple living space.

“Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression,” notes the Pantone website. “Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.”

We love seeing the color on fashion runways and, of course, in home design.

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In this room, the cabinetry and trim are painted a gutsy red-orange hue (Habanero Pepper by Benjamin Moore). Photo by David Tsay for HGTV.com

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Housing Crunch: A Modern-Shed Solution

It’s no secret that the nation is in the midst of a housing crisis. Rent and the price of a home are rising, creating a problem not just for the most vulnerable people, like the chronically homeless, but also for the average worker, the middle-income earners who are finding themselves priced out of the market.

Industry leaders from big cities to small towns are talking about what we as a country can do to make housing more affordable for households that make 60 to 140 percent of the area median income.

Here at Modern-Shed, we don’t purport to have all of the answers, but one thing we’ve taken notice of is the onerous obstacles that prevent property owners from building rental housing that could alleviate some of the problem.

“In some places in Washington state, you can’t find anywhere to live where the rent isn’t astronomically high,” says Modern-Shed general manager Tim Vack. “Often, it’s the zoning laws of the county. If we could change the zoning to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on a property, more residents could build a rental unit on their property.”10x18guestroom_1 Continue reading

A space to enjoy

20190216_095336PORTLAND — Meei has one piece of advice for prospective Modern-Shed buyers:

“Do it. Do it now.”

Build a Modern-Shed as soon as possible, Meei urges, not only because the cost of construction materials will likely only rise over time, but more importantly, you’ll have that much more time to enjoy your beautiful shed.

“We’re not out there enough,” she says of her 10′ by 12′ Modern-Shed studio. “It’s a great place to to sit out and look out at our backyard.”

Meei and her husband decided to buy a Modern-Shed to replace an old garden tool shed on their property; they wanted a new entertaining space that would encourage them to spend more time in their “sizeable” backyard.

“We were not looking for another tool shed,” she recalls. “We wanted a space we could enjoy. We wanted to fill that space and enjoy our backyard in the winter because we had nothing to sit out there in.” Continue reading