Modern-Shed: Making you money $$$

A Modern-Shed AirBnb in San Jose, Calif.

As the rise of AirBnBs and other vacation rental sites like HomeAway and VRBO can attest, when people take a vacay, more and more they want to stay at a home away from home.

We have several Modern-Shed customers who have capitalized on this trend.

In San Jose, Flora and Jeffrey initially built a Modern-Shed guest room to accommodate Flora’s sister, Fauna, who was staying in the area for college, but when Fauna graduated two years later, the couple started making serious money when they turned their shed into an AirBnB.

“I am just extremely happy with it,” says Flora, whose shed sees mostly business travelers. “I’m booked every day … Totally I was not expecting this many bookings … These guests, they come every day, even during the week, they’re here for a day and gone. It’s convenient for me and them … (Now) I’m a stay-at-home mom and a full-time AirBnB host.”

Other Modern-Shed owners rent or book their sheds for guests more interested in leisure.

Marc and Jeanine’s Modern-Shed AirBnB in fast-growing Portland offers exclusive access to the shed and an herb garden, with guests complimenting the shed’s “cozy” factor and noting that it’s “a gorgeous little oasis in Portland,” “central to a lot of restaurants and stores.”

Twin studios in Yosemite
Modern-Shed rental cabins in Blue Lake Springs

Meanwhile, Holly’s twin Modern-Shed cabins at Blue Lake Springs near the Sierra Nevadas in California complement a traditional cabin and offer large families a quiet respite from the busy, city life.

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

Many more of our customers simply love having that extra space when family comes over, which is especially important to take into account as the holiday season approaches.

Take husband and wife Fred and Susan, for example: They bought Fred’s sister, Jane, a Modern-Shed guest room on her property in Santa Cruz, Calif., so that they could have somewhere to stay when they visited.

“Her house has just one bedroom, but she loves having visitors over,” Fred says. “They usually end up sleeping on the couch. Modern-Shed is a good enhancement. She can entertain people, including us. When we came to stay, she’d say, ‘You take my bed.’ This is more commodious.”

Fred and Susan loved the idea so much, they built their own Modern-Shed master bedroom suite in West Seattle, also inspired by their living situation at their house in Spain.

A Modern-Shed master bedroom suite in West Seattle

“We’d wanted a little separate ‘casita’ in the backyard for some time,” Fred says. “Our house in Spain has living quarters in one part of the house, an inner courtyard and a master bedroom across an open space. We enjoyed that lifestyle, that experience of saying goodbye to your house and moving to the bedroom as a separate part of the living arrangement. A Modern-Shed in the backyard was the perfect arrangement.”

The couple’s 12’ by 24’ Modern-Shed master suite features a bedroom space and a bathroom with a shower and toilet. And what’s more, it’s completely fully permitted.

While it’s not always easy to get a permit for an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, more and more jurisdictions across the country are changing their laws, and it’s important to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest rules in your area.

In Seattle, Modern-Shed is an expert at sifting through the permitting process for studios or offices with bathrooms, and we’ve become skilled at getting guest studios or cottages with plumbing fully permitted.

“Over the last few years, as Seattle has become educated with all of the Modern-Shed structures, the city now embraces our medium sized studios (up to 350 square feet) with bathrooms,” says Modern-Shed dealer Mike Probach. “The permitting process is still very much ‘a process.’”

That process needs the guidance of an expert who is familiar with the codes and permitting, Mike adds.

“This includes the ‘slab on grade’ foundation system and connections to utilities, which also involves a separate, extensive permitting process,” he says. “By working closely with me, I can obtain all of the necessary permits and secure the necessary subcontractors to provide my clients with a really nice studio or home office.”

Modern-Shed attended the Build Small Live Large ADU summit in Portland, Ore. this November, a national conference with homeowners and industry professionals that focuses on issues surrounding ADUs and small space living, including how this could be a solution for both the housing shortage and climate change crises.

Inside a Modern-Shed AirBnB in San Jose

Vancouver, BC, and Portland are best known for having relaxed the barriers on ADUs, so the number of permits have begun to “skyrocket” in those cities, says Modern-Shed dealer Jeff Bergerson.

Consumers want flexibility in their ADU options, and many builders are behind the curve, Jeff adds.

“On average, I talk to half a dozen people a week who are researching prefab as an ADU option,” he says. “There’s times of the year where it’s four a day. The demand is exploding. We’re approaching a tipping point. It’s going to have a tremendous impact not only on the housing crisis, but the affordable housing crisis.”

The laws have been relaxed in Portland to pave the way for more affordable and higher density housing, adds Modern-Shed General Manager Tim Vack.

“The permitting process is still a navigation challenge, but we know so much more now,” Tim says. “Entire books are being written on the subject of ADUs because, believe it or not, the concept is relatively new to most cities.”

Modern-Shed learned that earlier this year, California legislators passed a law mandating ADU permitting throughout the state. The structures must meet building codes and setback laws, but no jurisdiction can outlaw a permitted ADU.


A Modern-Shed with a kitchen and bathroom in San Rafael, Calif.


Now that the path has been paved, many dedicated people are advocating for change in local municipalities, Jeff says.

“The lending industry is really behind the ball,” he says. “For the most part everybody in the industry is all waiting for a prominent player to step up and make this flexible for the consumer. I have clients begging me because there’s no way they can get another builder to work on small projects like these.”

Modern-Shed is very confident in its ability to provide, not only detached bedrooms with a bath, but a fully designed ADU to its customers where allowed, Tim adds.


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