Room to think

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OLYMPIA — Two years ago, every single room of Olivia’s three-bedroom, ranch-style home in western Washington was occupied.

The mom of two worked from home and she needed a solution. Enter Modern-Shed.

“I have a house that is basically perfect in terms of the location,” Olivia says. “It’s near the school district, it’s near the city, but not in the city. But it’s really small. I needed an office because I was tired of working on the dining room table.”

The single mom worked from home as a psychologist and creative writer, and she dreamed of some day building a tiny house.

“I was looking for local and affordable options,” she recalls. “I had been toying with building a tiny house for a long time and even taken workshops from Jay Shafer and from Dee Williams with my dad. But it would take all year for me to build one. Since I didn’t have a handyman in the house who wanted to do that with me, I decided that prefab made a whole lot of sense.”

Olivia found Modern-Shed online and the rest of the process moved along quickly.
She chose a 10’ by 12’ shed that she situated on a small slope in her backyard, which necessitated the use of pin piers to level the shed. Olivia needed some decking and the process involved some landscaping as well.

“Save aside a little budget for landscaping and hardscaping,” she recommends. “My slope seemed like it was nothing, but it ended up spooling out to extra expense on the project. I’d also say really pay attention to the direction the windows, doors and walls face. It has an impact on your yard. You want to be able from the shed to see what you want to see.”

Olivia loves how well-insulated her shed is and would advise other prospective Modern-Shed customers to also look at where the shed sits in relation to the sun. Being able to use the angle of the sun for light and energy to warm the shed made a difference to her.

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She also would remind people to budget for furnishings, especially if they don’t already have a dedicated office space to pull furniture from.

While Olivia doesn’t see clients in her shed, she’s grateful to have a space now that is just hers.

“I needed a devoted, quiet area to do my writing in, and to work on my programs,” she says. “It’s tucked away in my backyard and it’s perfect for me to go in and do my thing.

For as small a property I have, it’s pretty well removed from the home. It’s nice and private and I like it.”

Her kids’ friends and her adult friends all enjoy the shed as well.

“It’s like this little surprise because you cannot see it from the street,” she says. “You can be in my home and not see it at all. All the teens who come over want me to rent it to them, they all want to go in and explore it, and the grownups think it’s such a great idea. Kids to teens, they all have their own little story or fantasy about it.”

That’s because, ultimately, everyone needs their own little space, Olivia says.

“You lose a lot of your personal space in a home right away, especially in a small home,” she says. “You angle for space to have room to think and let something develop on its own time, where you don’t just put it away and hide it. It appeals to grownups. It’s like having a tree house.”

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