Socially Savvy: Meet Rachael

Modern-Shed is excited to welcome a fresh face to our social media and marketing team!

Rachael K and her family

Rachael comes to us from the Denver area with a background in digital marketing and customer relations. She has been embracing the work-from-home life for over a decade, using that freedom and flexibility to raise her two kids while growing her career.

“When everything shut down last March,” she says, “I was grateful to already be in a position where I could manage my work and homeschooling the kids. It wasn’t easy, but we set our schedules and dedicated workspace, and made it through!” Having a great partner who was also working from home definitely helped too, she added.

“I was very excited to come across the opportunity to work with Modern-Shed as the Social Media Director. My experience in marketing to the interior design and industrial manufacturing communities made for a seamless transition into the ADU and extensible living space world. We’re already looking at our HOA covenants to see how we can add additional living space and storage to our home.”

When Rachael isn’t out enjoying everything the Rocky Mountains has to offer, you can find her right here on our blog, newsletters, and of course our social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. Connect with Modern-Shed today to find out how we can get you the space you need to live your best life!

Keeping Your Cool

The heat of summer is upon us as I write this, and there are several weeks to go. Keeping your Modern-Shed cool in the summer does not have to be expensive and complicated. Here are some cool tips to keep you cool. 

The advent of portable air conditioner units has opened the door for keeping cool without having to break the bank on a full HVAC system. 

Portable air conditioning unit

This unit was in the $400 range and does not take up a ton of space and can be set up in less than 20 minutes. These units evacuate air to the outside through most any opening window – sliding, single hung, awning or, casement via a large exhaust tube. If need be, it is possible with a little inventive knowhow to exhaust through a sliding glass door also in a more temporary way.  

Air conditioning venting

Another tip to keep your space cool is using external shade screens for your windows which face the sun. This prevents much of the heat from ever entering your Modern-Shed. The cool thing about the roller shades, is you use them only when you want to shade direct sunlight… you just roll them up when not needed. These are extremely easy to install in less than 20 minutes and are not expensive either, available at your local hardware store. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, and you can still see through them from the inside. 

Sun shade outside the Modern-Shed window

If you haven’t yet purchased a Modern-Shed and live in a hot or cold climate, consider the upgrade to higher R-Value roof and wall insulation as well as LowE glass in the upper transom IGUs. Our Design Pros can help you select the best products for your space, and keep you enjoying your Modern-Shed year round!

The Lumber Situation

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who attempted some kind of home improvement or DIY project this past year, or if you’ve started to explore purchasing a Modern-Shed for yourself, you’ve probably bemoaned the delays and price increases in everything from lumber to insulation and windows.

Stacked lumber

So what is UP with the lumber prices? Prices rose by more than 250% in the last year, and over 350% from March 2020’s five-year lows. Why?

At the outset of the pandemic, many mills initially slowed or even halted production. Even when they returned to work, most did so with limited staff and operational hours. Additionally, resin producers, who support the production of treated lumber and composites, switched over their operations to produce sanitizers to meet the demand for hygiene and cleaning products, often at a high profit margin making them reluctant to switch back their operations.

Despite the decreased production, demand for lumber has actually increased. Construction has continued to rise fairly steadily over the past few years, and many living in coastal cities have been finding they need more space to juggle work and personal life. Whether they choose to augment their space with Modern-Shed or build a new home farther inland, they are feeling the effects of the current lumber market. Add in all the Covid-DIYers, as well as increased tariffs on Canadian lumber, and we have landed in our current situation.

What’s the fix? Just last week, senior officials from the National Association for Home Builders met with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the importance of finding a solution to the lumber crisis. Government leaders are looking for ways to increase domestic lumber production, which some believe has not risen to meet the increased demand even prior to the pandemic. NAHB officials reported that the administration recognizes the importance of not slowing down the housing market (and thus the entire economy, potentially), and is serious about finding a path to stabilizing lumber prices. Many other experts are optimistically predicting a bit of relief as 2021 comes to a close, as futures trading has finally seen a substantial drop. 

Lumber futures chart

In the meantime, Modern-Shed realizes that your need for space and balance doesn’t depend on market fluctuations. Rather, we continue to provide our clients highly competitive pricing, as well as our years of expertise as the pioneer of living-space shed designs. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the upcoming pricing trend, make sure to visit our website to connect with a Design Pro today!

A gray Modern-Shed in quiet woods

Palm Desert Paradise

PALM DESERT — When Tom and Casi moved into their 1,740-square-foot Palm Desert home four years ago, they identified a spot where Tom could eventually have a home office.

Each of them work from home — Casi works as a financial consultant for a high-end designer, while Tom, a former stand-up comedian and actor, writes content for programs such as awards shows or music specials for a Hollywood producer.

When it came to their new home, they worked with their builder/designer to create a space exactly how Tom wanted it — however, Casi was the first to land a job, so Tom found himself back to where he started, working from various spots in the house, such as the dining room table.

“Her jobs tend to be long-term, while mine are a month at a time,” Tom said. “The office became hers, so I patched along for a couple of years.”

When the COVID pandemic struck, they began to research home offices they could put up in the backyard. Their experience with Modern-Shed went quickly. 

“We were stuck at home, and in late August, well into the COVID experience, I showed Casi what I had seen online,” Tom recalled. “To my surprise, she agreed to build one. Our first email was sent in September and we were building in November.”

Tom was attracted to the design of Modern-Shed, with the transom windows and the look of the wood coming from the eaves. Casi watched all of the videos on Modern-Shed’s gallery online to get a sense of everything someone could do with a shed.

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Keeping your shed in tip-top shape

Like a regular check-up for your health or for your vehicle, it’s important to stay on a schedule for maintaining your home — and that includes your Modern-Shed.

Modern-Sheds are built with the highest-quality materials. However, nothing lasts forever, and there are some simple, regular steps you can take to extend the life of your Modern-Shed and ensure that it remains in tip-top shape for years to come.

Below, some tips on maintaining your Modern-Shed for the upcoming months, and what to do on a regular basis year-round.

Monthly:
Most Modern Sheds are small and need little monthly maintenance. However, larger structures, such as an ADU would be like any home:

  • If you have a bathroom in your Modern-Shed, be sure to clean faucets and showerheads regularly to remove deposits from minerals.
  • Test smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers regularly.
  • Inspect and unclog sink drains if needed.
  • Inspect electrical cords for wear.
  • Vacuum heat vents.
  • Check that indoor and outdoor air vents are not blocked.
  • If you have a water heater, flush out hot water from the water heater to remove sediment that has accumulated.

Springtime Maintenance:
Spring is a great time for Spring Cleaning. Here are some other steps you should take to maintain your home and your Modern-Shed:

  • Sand and re-finish any natural wood surfaces exposed to weather, including cedar and most importantly the end grain surface of the large roof beam. It is of utmost importance to keep all exposed wood surfaces protected from the elements.
  • Inspect door seals and tracks for debris to keep from leaking.
  • Inspect your Modern-Shed roof for leaks or damage to the metal due to high winds or debris.
  • Inspect the upper transom frames and re-caulk as necessary to keep from leaking – between each frame, where they meet the roof and where they meet the topcap.
  • Inspect and re-caulk as necessary, the corner joints of the topcap (the piece of wood the transom frame windows sit on)
  • Clean your gutters (do this again in the fall)
  • Clean window and door screens.
  • Refinish your deck. 
  • Power-wash windows and siding.
  • If you have the Modern Shed unique rain screen system, vacuum any bugs and debris from the spaces, especially at the bottom. This is needed to ensure rainwater is running out at the bottom.
  • Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking for deterioration.
  • Repair or replace caulking and weather stripping around windows, doors, and wall through holes for electric and cable and plumbing.

Summer Maintenance:

  • Remove lint from inside and outside washer hoses and dryer vents.
  • Check around cabinets and around toilets for leaks.
  • Replace interior and exterior faucet and showerhead washers if needed.
  • Seal tile grout.
  • Prune trees and shrubs.

Opening Up Possibilities

BAY AREA – When the pandemic hit, Peter and Amelia, with their growing family, found that life in their small San Francisco apartment was no longer sustainable. 

The couple had a 4-year-old and a brand new 4-month-old baby at home by the time March 2020 came around. Working from home helping hospitals prepare for the pandemic (Peter) and as a therapist (Amelia) became extremely difficult.

“After about three months, we hit a wall and suddenly went from, ‘We love this place; we’re never moving,’ to ‘We need more space; it’s an emergency,'” Peter said. “What we loved most about where we lived was the neighborhood and being able to walk everywhere. But with the shelter-in-place, those benefits disappeared almost overnight.”

The family needed a bigger place, but finding all that they were looking for was a challenge in the Bay Area – between bedrooms, home offices, and guest space for Amelia’s family to visit, they needed five private spaces.

 Modern-Shed proved to be a perfect solution.

“I don’t think I’d ever really seen a shed like this, but we were just trying to consider all options,” Peter said. “One question we had was, ‘What if I built an office in the backyard?’ Thirty minutes on Google and we learned that this was possible.”

In a short span of time, the couple found a rental, moved in, sold their apartment, bought a home, and moved again. The home that they purchased in Oakland had a patio in the backyard that proved the perfect spot for a Modern-Shed. 

“Getting everything we dreamed of in a house in a location we love was only possible because building a shed made it possible,” Peter said. “Once we were under contract on the house, the planning kicked into high gear.”

Peter and Amelia had specific measurements to work with due to the space constraints of where the shed would fit in the backyard. They were able to take six inches off one of the standard dimensions for a custom 7.5′ by 12′ Modern-Shed home office.

The pergola and outdoor furniture on the patio came with the house when they purchased it and blends in seamlessly with the Modern-Shed.

Modern-Shed installation started Dec. 2 and finished Dec. 4. In total, work on the shed –  the couple hired another contractor for the interior finish work and painting –  was done by Dec. 13. 

Peter found Modern-Shed design professional Jeff Bergerson extremely helpful in walking him through the process of purchasing a Modern-Shed from start to finish.

“I had never built a building before, so it was a huge benefit to have an expert like Jeff talk me through the process and give feedback on the design,” he said. “At one point, I was debating window placement and I asked Jeff’s opinion. He told me that most people overdo it on the windows and don’t realize how much they want wall space. That sort of insight was invaluable and helped me land on a design that fit my needs perfectly.”

Peter would advise anyone looking at purchasing a Modern-Shed to plan out their furniture before they build, down to the size of the couch and the placement of electronics. 

Having a detailed plan ahead of time helped Peter decide on the exact dimensions of the walls and where to place the outlets right where he knew he would want them. 

He also advises people to consider and understand the sequence of steps involved, including steps beyond the Modern-Shed installation.

“Understanding what steps have to happen in what order, so that you can coordinate the various contractors, is very helpful,” he said. 

Peter’s shed has a concrete foundation, as opposed to sitting on piers, a decision that was switched partway through the process. 

“The pros and cons of concrete versus piers were something I didn’t really understand early on, but I am glad that we switched because it was the right decision given our location and other constraints,” he said. “That’s one decision I would recommend thinking through carefully.”

The family is now fully settled after a transition-filled year of welcoming a new baby, weathering the pandemic, and the increased workload Peter had as a consequence, buying a home, building a Modern-Shed, and moving in.

“Though we expected to stay in our old apartment for a very long time, the pandemic made moving not only necessary but urgent,” Peter reflected. “We were optimizing for a lot of things. The ability to build a shed quite literally put our dream home within reach.”

Book Now for Summer Construction!

As summer construction ramps up to a building boom, it’s time to plan early for your Modern-Shed!

Whether you want a home office, an art studio, a guest space, man cave, garden shed or something else, it’s important to get your orders in EARLY. Modern-Shed has a 12-week lead time before a shed can be installed. Spaces for the summer are filling up quickly!

Modern-Shed is also facing a high demand for home offices. If you’d like a home office quickly, here are some tips:

  • Know what you want: Research on this blog or on our online galleries to find the look of a shed that you like. Have a solid idea about the paint color, style, and number of windows you may want.
  • Sacrifice customization: At Modern-Shed, we pride ourselves in helping our customers find the exact Modern-Shed that they want — you are the one who will be using the shed for years, and we want you to be happy. However, if you are in a rush to build a home office quickly, it can be helpful to stick to a standard Modern-Shed size, such as 10′ by 12′. A custom-sized Modern-Shed will take longer to come to fruition.
  • Be persistent: Our design professionals are extremely busy and are working hard to connect with all of our interested customers. If you are serious about needing a shed in the next few months, continue to leave messages and send emails. Rest assured, someone will get back to you and work at getting you on the schedule if possible.

Thank you for your patience, and here’s to a bountiful summer!

The DW wins Best of the Year Award

Modern Shed is proud to announce that the DW, our new dwelling on wheels, has won Interior Design Magazine’s Best of the Year award in the Budget category!

Interior Design’s 15th annual Best of the Year awards launched on Dec. 7 via virtual ceremonies on DesignTV by SANDOW.

Modern Shed’s DW is more than a mobile shed on wheels. The Modern Shed team was inspired to embark on a new creative project in 2020 – creating their first-ever portable dwelling. Drawing on their design/build expertise, the team created a beautiful, self-contained space big enough to call home, yet small enough to take anywhere. A classic gable form creates a recognizable home, with wall-to-ceiling window placements maximizing landscape views and sunlight.

Interior Design Media is the global, industry-leading design publication, website and events company serving the interior design, architectural and facility management audiences.

For over 80 years, Interior Design magazine, published by SANDOW, has been the essential design authority for every professional, on all projects, throughout the design process. 

Thank you to Interior Design Magazine for considering the DW and bestowing this award on us!

It Looked Exactly Like it Was Meant to Be

San Francisco Bay Area — Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic taking root in the United States, Sami L. was traveling more than 250,000 miles a year for work. 

Now, like many of us, he hasn’t been on an airplane since February, and he doesn’t foresee getting on an airplane for work ever again.

“I traveled a lot for my job,” says Sami, who works in Internet cloud security. “Zoom and other video conferencing technologies are working so well that I don’t think the traditional conference will make a comeback, at least not any time soon.”

Sami was already preparing for a new work reality prior to the pandemic — when he wasn’t traveling for work, he had to commute 3 hours round-trip to his office in downtown San Francisco.

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“I wish we had done this years ago”

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA — This past spring, as the country began to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19, Kevin started thinking of the future.

“I began working from home and my kids were home from school, and I could see, looking down the road, that we might be in this for awhile,” he said. “This thing might rear its head again soon, and if that’s the case, I knew I would need a place of privacy to do my work, and the kids would as well.”

Now, with fall approaching and the “new normal” fully in swing, Kevin is happy he made the choice to build a Modern-Shed this past July. In fact, he wishes he had built one “years ago.”

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