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.

Color in built in furniture
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

Adding on vs Buying big vs Modern-Shed

Here at Modern-Shed, our design professionals often meet customers who are fed up with their living situation.
When a family needs more space, sometimes the first thing they’ll consider is adding onto their home or buying a new, bigger house with an additional bedroom.
Once they embark down those paths, however, they soon realize how costly those options are.
“Whether they’ve gone to an architect or they’ve actually hired a contractor and bid a job, or they’ve researched online, they realize it’s more complex than they thought,” said Modern-Shed design pro Jeff Bergerson. “That’s when they start to open their minds to other options.”
Building a detached studio such as a Modern-Shed for a home office or guest room living space is far less expensive than adding onto your home or buying a bigger house.
For the proof, all you need is to look at the numbers.
10x18 guestroom_2The average cost to build an additional room runs anywhere from $80 to $200 per square feet, according to Home Advisor, but higher (close to $400) in competitive markets like Seattle.
For an 80-square-foot room, that comes out to upwards of $32,000 for a home addition, with factors such as size, architectural services, support beams, electrical wiring and more influencing the cost.
More realistically, however, homeowners planning a home addition are more likely to spend more than $200,000 on their remodel in areas like Seattle, San Francisco and southern California.
“The customers I talk to who have already gone through getting quotes, these people are already tired, they’re already discouraged, and they’ve spent thousands of dollars just to get drawings and bids only to find out, ‘Hey, it’s going to cost $80,000 when here I thought it was going to be $20,000,” Jeff notes. “ And it’s going to take over a year. That’s when they say that’s not close to what they expected, so they look for new ideas.”
Additionally, building an addition might require updating the rest of your house to current standards, which can be like “opening a can of worms,” Jeff says.
“If you build a detached studio, no one’s looking at the rest of your house,” he says.
For folks not interested in turning their home into a construction zone, they might be tempted to just up and move. However, the costs to upgrade to a new home are even more alarming.
In Los Angeles, the median price of a three-bedroom home that was actively listed in February 2019 was $730,000, but the median price of a four-bedroom home was $979,000, for a difference of $249,000, according to figures obtained on the real estate listing site Redfin.
In Portland, the price difference between a three-bedroom and four-bedroom home came out to $180,000, and in Seattle, the difference was even more striking: home buyers would have to shell out an average of $748,000 more for a four-bedroom home compared to a three-bedroom home.
“The cost to upgrade the size of a house is astronomical,” Jeff says. “It’s far more than they expect, especially if they’re talking about increasing bedrooms.”
Factor in the cost and stress of moving, potentially pulling your children out of their school district, leaving a neighborhood you love, and messing with your mortgage interest rate, and many of our customers come to terms with the fact that they don’t want to move.
Modern-Sheds start at a base price of around $13,000, depending on the size of the shed, and not including, taxes, delivery and installation.
“So many people want to stay where they are and they just need to find another solution and that’s how they’re discovering us,” Jeff says. “You could have a new shed four weeks from the time of your order.”