Palm Desert Paradise

PALM DESERT — When Tom and Casi moved into their 1,740-square-foot Palm Desert home four years ago, they identified a spot where Tom could eventually have a home office.

Each of them work from home — Casi works as a financial consultant for a high-end designer, while Tom, a former stand-up comedian and actor, writes content for programs such as awards shows or music specials for a Hollywood producer.

When it came to their new home, they worked with their builder/designer to create a space exactly how Tom wanted it — however, Casi was the first to land a job, so Tom found himself back to where he started, working from various spots in the house, such as the dining room table.

“Her jobs tend to be long-term, while mine are a month at a time,” Tom said. “The office became hers, so I patched along for a couple of years.”

When the COVID pandemic struck, they began to research home offices they could put up in the backyard. Their experience with Modern-Shed went quickly. 

“We were stuck at home, and in late August, well into the COVID experience, I showed Casi what I had seen online,” Tom recalled. “To my surprise, she agreed to build one. Our first email was sent in September and we were building in November.”

Tom was attracted to the design of Modern-Shed, with the transom windows and the look of the wood coming from the eaves. Casi watched all of the videos on Modern-Shed’s gallery online to get a sense of everything someone could do with a shed.

They recommend applying for an electrical permit as soon as you know you will need one — they applied two weeks before the build, but wish they had applied a month and half earlier since they weren’t able to close up the interior of the shed until the electrical inspection was done.

They hired a local contractor to drywall and paint the interior once the electrical was complete. 

“We were thrilled with the shed, so we were pretty patient,” Tom said. “My recommendation is to get the electrical permit as soon as you can. And if you decide to do stucco, like we did, be sure your contractor communicates well with Modern-Shed, like ours did.” 

Their shed is a 10’ by 12’ shed, with a desk that is the full width of the office. One corner of the shed is a small art studio for Casi, who took up painting in the pandemic. 

They have plenty of cabinet and drawer space that frees up space they were using in the house to store Tom’s writing research or Casi’s art supplies.

“It’s amazing how much this set up absorbed out of the house,” Tom said. “It freed up space in closets and cabinets in the house.”

The shed gets plenty of natural light, with two 4’ by 5’ windows, a sliding glass door and a smaller 2’ by 2’ window. They wanted to be able to see their pool, the mountains in the distance and their backyard, which is on ⅓ of an acre.

“The large windows help in this small of a space to not feel claustrophobic,” Tom said. “I would say go ahead and get as big of windows as you can get it. It feels much bigger than I expected it to feel.”

Another piece of advice? Sand and stain your ceilings and beams before they are installed, as it is much trickier to do when the ceiling beams are already in place, Tom said. 

Their Modern-Shed design professional, Trevor Hynson, was calm, informative and came to them with a wealth of building experience.

“Trevor was great,” Tom said. “I was having trouble finding someone to install our HVAC mini-split air conditioning unit – everyone I contacted wanted to sell me one, when all I needed was someone to install it. I mentioned this to Trevor off-hand and within an hour, he had somebody call me who was able to do the job. I don’t know how he found the guy, but I was completely sold on Trevor at that point.”

Tom and Casi have many family visitors, so the space outside the home to work has been invaluable. 

“We just love our shed,” Tom said. “We just had another visitor text us about how to connect with Modern-Shed. It’s been a great experience.”

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