Four walls of her own

JACKSON HOLE — As a musician, Beth felt she really needed four walls of her own.

The award-winning singer-songwriter lives in Wilson, Wyo., a small burg nestled in the Jackson Hole Valley, where temperatures often drop 20 below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

For years, Beth wrote songs, practiced on her guitar and keyboard and taught music lessons out of a beloved restored vintage travel trailer in her backyard.

However, the space simply wasn’t warm enough in the winter.

“I suffered through a few winters in there, and it was just really miserable,” she said. “Before that, it goes on and on, I had used different incarnations of where I worked.”

Beth, like many of Modern-Shed’s clients, has always been interested in prefabricated structures, and ultimately she chose to build a Modern-Shed to suit her needs.

Her 8-by-12-foot Modern-Shed faces due south, and with an upgraded roof and wall insulation package, Beth finds herself quite toasty in the winter now.

“The main thing I was looking for was a building that could stay warm,” she said. “I have been in there all day, every day for two winters now, and it’s just amazing how I run just a tiny little space heater, and sometimes I’m too warm.”

“The heat holds incredibly well,” she added. “I absolutely did not expect it to be as warm as it is.”

Beth has spent 35 years in the songwriting industry, touring for 20 years and studying at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Now, she spends at least 40 hours a week working, devoting about three-quarters of her time to writing and practicing and the rest teaching guitar, voice and song construction lessons to about 15-20 students per week.

Her students range in age from 6 to 65, and Beth is appreciative of having the right space to fit her and her students’ needs.

“You’d be amazed how much stuff I have in there,” said Beth, whose Modern-Shed was outfitted with wall hooks to hang her many guitars. “It’s a small space, but the quality is really great. It’s remarkable how much I can do in there.”

The music studio’s Birchwood wall liner is “perfect” for acoustic sounds, Beth added.

When she used to work inside her home, sound would transfer all too easily, Beth said, and it wasn’t hard to become distracted by interruptions or other worries.

“I think (Modern-Shed) is an amazing way to expand your living space and your working space,” she said. “As a musician, you really need your own four walls. You really can’t work if you’re worried or someone’s bothering you.”

Beth has two teenage children, whom she says now respect her work space.

She enjoys the luxury of working close to home and not having to drive to a rented space at an arts center, which would have been another option for her to work and stay warm.

“This is the perfect synthesis of being out of the home, but not,” she said.

On a conceptual level, Beth also loves the fact that Modern-Shed was a simple solution.

“I think it’s best to have systems in the world that work for people, that aren’t too resource-intensive,” she said. “This was the best solution to our conundrum. It reduces our driving. We’re not building an addition, which would have taken a huge amount of resources and cost.”

“It’s just genius,” Beth continued. “I think it’s a new model for how to manage space. I think as Americans we sort of think we need giant houses with two million bathrooms. It’s been so luxurious to have this clean, light space that’s more than enough for me and my clients.”

— Arla Shephard

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