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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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!
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.
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.”
As I mentioned in earlier posts, staying focused on work can be challenging while working from home. The inclination to go to the fridge, do laundry or other chores are “in your face” when you are at home unless you have a completely separated space like a Modern-Shed. If you are in the dining room or down the hall, it is all too tempting to throw a load of laundry in or get a snack from the fridge. Here are some ideas to help keep those distractions under control.
Avoid the kitchen and use it as you might a “break room” at your old workplace. Keep a small fridge in your workspace to keep snacks and beverages in. Not that taking a break is a bad thing– it isn’t — but not if it is a several times during the day.
Schedule times during the day for a specific “break” to see your kids, talk to your partner, take a short walk or exercise.
Create rules in the home regarding interruptions by loved ones. Talk with loved ones about urgent, critical, important, or can it wait until after work hours? interruptions
Dress for work if it helps you stay focused and makes you feel like you are “at work”.
If you feel compelled to do something that could pull you away from work, such as laundry, set a timer on your phone beforehand for 5-10 min in case you go off on a tangent.
Set your alarm: Some folks can be on a flexible schedule but most need to be at work certain times of the day. Be careful not to run into the trap of “… oh, I can get to that later…” or “…I could work tonight instead of today…” I suggest keeping regular work hours and ask the boss what they require from you. If you are recently self-employed, create your work hours, track them, and stick to it.
Some of you may have never set up a computer before because you have an IT person at work. My guess is that if that is the case, your IT person will guide you to get things set up at home. Many businesses use a virtual environment or remote desktop that, once set up, your IT department can access.
As stated in an earlier blog post, your desk size and location are of utmost importance. Two of our Modern-Shed employees have monitor arms which allow their external monitors to be positioned any which way that suites them. This is very helpful for numerous reasons, not the least of which is switching it up occasionally to make things more interesting or moving your personal position in relation to sunlight as the seasons change.
My monitors sit on my desk but swivel and go up and down. They are also curved slightly which helps the transition from one to the other and keeps the screens a better relative distance to my eyes. Typical computer systems include a computer or laptop, keyboard, mouse, monitor(s) and printer. If you use a laptop with a built-in keyboard and trackpad, I highly suggest getting an external ergonomic keyboard and mouse … believe me, it will make your daily computer tasks much easier and help reduce chance of carpel tunnel.
The first purchase after your desk and chair is a high-quality surge suppressing outlet station with enough outlets for your computer, monitor(s), and any other expensive equipment. These units help control power to these items and reduce the chance of damage in the event of a power surge through your home. Continue reading →
Choosing a physical location at home to set up shop for your “office:”
Typical choices often are:
Dining room table
Corner of family room
Backyard tool shed
Detached home office space, such as our Modern-Sheds
The chosen space should:
Allow you to focus without major distractions
Allow for video conferencing and private phone conversations
Have access to natural light
Have enough space for your desk/chair/cabinets or shelves as necessary
Be customizable to create your space
Allow you to “leave” work
Over the 30-plus years that I have worked from home on and off, I have had my office in my bedroom (twice), in a spare room (twice), in the dining room (twice), in an insulated garage, in an RV and in a basement (obviously I have lived in numerous locations during the past 30 years!). Continue reading →