PORT TOWNSEND — Rebecca’s experience with Modern-Shed came about through a desire to be closer to old friends and have a space to work on her art. It also included a little bit of luck.
Rebecca, a sculptor and woodworker, grew up in Seattle, but lived in Alaska for 30 years and later Portland, Ore.
She decided a couple years ago that she wanted to move to Port Townsend, a picturesque coastal city in Washington, where a close-knit circle of her childhood friends lived. However, she struggled finding housing.
“I was looking around for an already built home, but I couldn’t find one at the time,” Rebecca recalls. “I wouldn’t have built a house from scratch if I could find one. I had done a fair bit of construction in Alaska and didn’t want to invest a lot of time building, but there just was nothing available. That’s the truth, there was nothing appealing whatsoever.”
However, many of her friends lived in the same development, a circle of lots on the outskirts of town. Another person who had a home in the circle? Modern-Shed founder Ryan Grey Smith.
“I always admired the grouping of the homes and the landscaping of this circle, and particularly I was attracted to this cluster of three small buildings on one of the lots that happened to have been done by Modern-Shed,” Rebecca says. “So I knew about Modern-Sheds and liked them.”
As Rebecca grew more desperate trying to find a home in Port Townsend, she considered buying a lot in the circle, but she didn’t think she could build a house in the six-month time frame that she needed — she’d recently sold a rental house in California, and needed to spend all of the money from the sale within six months so as not to incur taxes on the sale.
“Your project has to be complete within six months, which makes building something from scratch almost an impossibility,” Rebecca says. “I thought there was no way it’d happen. Ryan was, surprisingly, at his property the day I was considering purchasing. He was pretty convincing it could get done in time. He was persuasive enough that I went ahead and bought the lot.”
Rebecca wanted two Modern-Sheds, one that she could rent out and another that she could use to live and work in.
Throughout the project’s tight deadline, she encountered some hiccups — Modern-Shed’s plans for her unique structures didn’t always line up with what local building inspectors were able to sign off on, so several changes were made along the way.
Having a personal touch with the Modern-Shed sales team helped smooth the process, especially with her customer sales representative Jeff Bergerson and Modern-Shed General Manager Tim Vack.
“There were some pretty expensive changes, but I have to say that Modern-Shed was great at fixing those mistakes,” she says. “There wasn’t even any hesitation about making it work to get it to code as quickly as possible. They paid for everything in order to straighten it back out. I respect how Tim and Jeff handled the challenges.”
Rebecca’s shed is 640 square feet, while her rental is 700 square feet. Her sheds include outdoor covered deck spaces for socializing outside year-round and fun touches inside, like barn doors on wheels to separate bedroom spaces from living spaces.
“I loved how involved I could be in the process,” Rebecca says of her experience. “I am creative and I wanted to be involved in the house. I want it to be how I want to live in it.”
Rebecca would recommend other potential clients hire a general contractor and an architect, especially if they have larger projects. She has a DIY background and ultimately her sheds were delivered and installed in a very timely manner, within three weeks.
She loves spending time in her shed now working on her sculptures — mostly woodwork of microscopic marine life, such as plankton.
“I love how versatile my Modern-Sheds are,” she says. “Everybody loves them. They can be a rental and a home for a landowner, a mother-in-law ADU for family or just a guest space, and it can be strictly a workshop. Down the line, who knows where I’ll be in 20 years, but it could be a comfortable single-level home for me and an attractive home for a caregiver too. It’s really flexible and it’s pretty great.”