All in the Family

Holly and Chris purchased twin Modern-Shed studios at their vacation home and cabin.
Holly and Chris purchased twin Modern-Shed studios at their vacation home and cabin.

BAY AREA — For years, Holly and her sister-in-law, Alexis, each dreamed of adding onto their residences.

Alexis, an interior designer in Los Gatos, wanted to build a studio she could work at from home, while Holly and her husband, Chris, wanted more space at their vacation home near Blue Lake Springs in the Sierra Nevadas.

Holly and Chris spend most of their holidays at Blue Lake Springs, in a 2,300-square foot home that needs to accommodate for their own twin boys, a daughter and twin dogs, as well as a large extended family that comes over to visit.

Holly and Chris' twin Modern-Sheds at night.
Holly and Chris’ twin Modern-Sheds at night.

“My parents will come up sometimes, and I have two sisters, one who has two daughters and a husband, and another sister who has a son and a partner with two kids,” Holly enumerates. “Then we have Chris’ family, including his parents, Alexis and his brother, who have two girls.”

Holly and Chris initially added more space at their second home by purchasing a neighboring cabin, but at 854-square-feet, it doesn’t provide much additional room.

“We end up with all our family up there and it’s more than our house can accommodate,” Holly says. “The new cabin was teeny. It’s really efficiently designed, but there wasn’t really enough space to go. I knew we wanted to add on there.”

Both Holly and Alexis were interested in the pre-fab process, and especially liked the modern design of sheds they’d seen online.  

Alexis' 10' by 12' Modern-Shed studio serves as an interior design home office.
Alexis’ 10′ by 12′ Modern-Shed studio serves as an interior design home office.

“I think Alexis was the one who first pointed out Modern-Shed to me,” Holly says. “One of the reasons we picked Modern-Shed was that I absolutely love the birch paneling. It’s so beautiful and the transom windows turned out so nice. It’s such a nice, cabin feeling.”

Holly and Chris purchased not one, but two sheds near the start of the year, in keeping with the twin-theme of their life, but had to wait until they could come out to the site for the build, so Alexis’ studio shed went up before theirs.

Alexis’ 10’ by 12’ shed blends seamlessly in with the look of her modern home and features custom lighting, sliding glass doors and plenty of windows to let in natural light.

Alexis' Modern-Shed home office.
Alexis’ Modern-Shed home office.

She uses the shed as her office and showroom when meeting with clients.

“It is truly a perfect blend of form and function,” Alexis writes. “It is perfect and I love it.”

The family encountered some unusual setbacks with construction, in large part due to the similarity of their sheds and the same last name on both accounts.

“You have to roll a little bit with the punches,” Holly says. “What happened was Modern-Shed ordered from PlyGem Windows, and PlyGem, because the orders were so similar, they thought it was a duplicate order. They never made Alexis’ windows and they grabbed ours instead for hers.”

The anomaly cost Holly and Chris some time before their own shed could be completed, which in turn pushed back when Calaveras Construction Company could build the custom decks that the couple wanted on their twin sheds.

“We didn’t have doors or windows for awhile,” Holly recalls. “But the communication was great from Modern-Shed and our contractor. The more communication and preparation up front, the better. Jerry, our Modern-Shed installer, he really made it a pleasant experience.”

The two sheds are connected to a cabin via a custom deck.
The two sheds are connected to a cabin via a custom deck.

Watching the sheds go up so quickly was a treat, and Modern-Shed’s installers helped the couple with lights and fans and other fixtures they wanted.

Holly and Chris’ twin sheds are also both 10’ by 12’ — initially Holly had considered a larger shed, but the couple wanted to circumvent permitting.

The two sheds are connected by a large deck and patio; one shed is used as a lounge, while the other has an easel and is more of a quiet space for kids or adults to do artwork, homework or work-work.

“In the lounge, people can watch a show on their iPad or play games, read a book,” Holly says. “The other one is a multi-purpose space. My husband goes in there if he needs a quiet space, plus there are yoga mats.”

Large-format tiles line the floors of the sheds, allowing for easy clean-up when dirt and dust comes in, and Holly had a custom sofa built for one of the sheds, though she recommends waiting until your shed is finished before doing something similar.

One of Holly and Chris' 10' by 12' sheds serves as a play room, art room and yoga room for their family.
One of Holly and Chris’ 10′ by 12′ sheds serves as a play room, art room and yoga room for their family.

“I only gave an inch of clearance, and as it turns out the sectional that came doesn’t fit the space,” she says. “If you’re planning to the T and you’re really counting on certain dimensions, you should wait or give yourself more than a few inches of cushion.”

Holly and Chris love how economical their new spaces are and had fun researching how to decorate and make the most use of their space.

“I love the concept of being really efficient and thoughtful about how you use space,” she says. “We lived in London for a few years before we had kids, where everything in our flat was so teeny, but every space was super maximized. Vertical space became important.”

Building a prefab space was on her “bucket list” of things to do and now her family loves Modern-Shed.

“It’s really cute. The girls love sleeping in the sheds even though we didn’t plan them to be sleeping quarters,” she says. “They totally commandeered the space. I love how the sheds are really multi-functional. People can use them how they want and can say ‘Hey, this is my space.’”

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To check out the Five Bears cabin rental, visit Facebook or VRBO, and mention Modern-Shed for a 10 percent discount on the vacation rental.

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