Between a Rock and a Hard Place

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA – Ryan and his family knew they had the perfect spot for a home office, there were just a couple of (not so tiny) obstacles standing in their way. However, as the pandemic loomed on, the idea shifted quickly from a want to an urgent need. So Ryan started making some calls.

 “As for the planning… well that was definitely a challenge. No other shed manufacturer really wanted to touch our space because of the boulders. It wasn’t until I got an on-site inspection by (Modern Shed preferred installer)  Dave Walterick that I felt comfortable moving forward. The space is REALLY tight between the rocks and the setback rules, the shed is literally just inches away from one of the boulders. But otherwise, it wasn’t a useable corner of my yard, so it was really the perfect spot to place a shed.”

Ryan decided to build a 9×12’ shed, just slightly smaller than our standard 10×12’, in order for everything to fit just perfectly. He also added a deck to finish the exterior space. For the interior, they decided on a large custom Paduak wood top (natural cherry red color) sit/stand desk, and a sideboard with storage over wood flooring. Ryan also installed a ductless mini-split and wired that to a Nest thermostat.

 “I used David’s crew to do the kit-build and custom deck outside both doors. They were pretty fast and everything was done to spec. I then did the interior installation myself including running all the electrical inside the walls, light fixtures in the ceiling, flooring drywall, and A/C. The ‘office’ is fully kitted with electrical, heat and air conditioning, and very comfy.”

With all the potential challenges of their Modern Shed location, the installation was just 3 days for all the exterior finishing, with only one quickly-remedied hiccup.

“We had trenched power and CAT6 from the house to the shed, and Dave’s crew filled in the trench and then placed one of the footings on top of the fresh dirt. Once it started to rain, that dirt settled and Dave’s crew had to come back to jack up the shed in that corner. Luckily the very large timber used under the walls and floor was strong enough that the shed hardly moved, I only knew something was wrong because a door was getting jammed on the exterior deck.”

Overall, Ryan and his family are absolutely thrilled with their amazing new space. Their investment really adds a quality of life beyond what you can get with a lesser tool shed.

“I’d say our total cost was ~$45k all-in.  There are definitely cheaper ways to go, but I’m happy with the results. Jeff and I had lots of back & forth, so he was able to get me all the info I needed to feel comfortable moving forward. It’s premium over a typical shed, if you want it to look like a part of your home (or estate), get a Modern Shed over a typical home-built backyard shed. The transom windows and wood ceiling are really nice, and if you add a nice floor and sheetrock, it starts to look like a room in your home rather than a backyard tool shed.” 

If you’re ready to invest in a lifestyle upgrade for yourself, contact Modern Shed today!

SoCal Serene

SAN DIEGO – As a successful architect in Southern California, Nastaran knows what she wants from the spaces she designs: aesthetically impactful style with the highest quality and functionality for the budget. This is why she came to Modern Shed when it was time to expand the square footage of their living space. She deeply appreciated the high standards of quality to which Modern Shed builds our products, and knew that her investment would stand the test of time.

Nastaran first started looking at a home gym from Modern Shed back in 2016 while she was remodeling their home with her fiance, but the project was put on hold to divert the funding to the essentials going on in the home. However, as the pandemic hit, Nastaran found herself needing a home office space quickly. While her previous research regarding Modern Shed combined with her expertise as an architect herself dramatically sped up the process to plan and purchase her new office, Nastaran also valued her Design Pro, Trevor’s expertise and professionalism in helping the entire process run smoothly, especially as pandemic-related delays started to affect the delivery time frame. She also adds that his knowledge and explanation of the design and build process would be invaluable to someone less familiar with the ins and outs of construction.

“I definitely made it a bit more interesting for Trevor and the installer, Chase,” Nastaran reflects. “I came to them with a full electrical work up for puck lighting and the ceiling fan, even a floor outlet. They were great! They wired in all the conduit based on my instructions.”

The investment in their property was well worth the investment in time and resources to help Nastaran bring her long-term vision for their outdoor space closer to reality. Even though her 120 square-foot shed is currently being utilized for an office, she already has plans to bring the home gym or even a guest space back into the area when she returns to work in her usual office. “I really appreciate how functional and flexible the space is. It’s just beautiful. If I had to do it all again, I’m not sure if I would eat up 30” of space for the lavatory. It will be handy for guests someday, but right now it doesn’t really get used,” Nastaran mused.

Overall, though, she is absolutely pleased with the whole process. “The install was just amazing. The shed itself took just four days, and they stayed for 10 days finishing every last detail for us. Being in the industry, I’ve worked on projects that are in construction for two or three years, so that’s just brilliant.”

“I would recommend people think of their project as a long-term investment and really think ahead. For example, we also wired for a mini-split to cool our Modern Shed, which will be installed in the summer. The more thought you put into it, the more you can enjoy it!”

“I just love coming out here to work, or just rearrange my space. It’s quiet and serene. We even joke, it’s probably sturdier than our house!”

To learn more about how to plan your own quiet escape, download our Modern Shed catalog here: https://www.modern-shed.com/catalog

A Vison for the Future: Meet Marc

Marc Fuller is deeply curious.

From his background in finance, and later software solutions, the question of ‘why’ has driven him to look deeper at what solutions the people around him are asking for. He joins the Modern-Shed leadership team now with a vision of not just growth, but continued excellence in craftsmanship and service.

“What I love about Modern Shed is there’s so much demand for our product.” Marc has seen and heard the concerns from potential clients who are excited about what we do, but our sales and manufacturing teams are just so busy that we’re not able to get it done for them. “That is step one moving forward: being able to fulfill demand and deliver what they want. And not just any shed, but deliver a service and a quality that Modern Shed is known for.”

“I always wanted to buy a smaller business and run it. One of the things that drew me to Modern Shed was my family now lives in an area and time where there’s a massive housing shortage, and a lot of challenges to expanding the square footage of your existing home, which is also happening across the US. I did some investigating, talked to Ryan (Smith/founder) and Tim (Vack/GM) and listened to their approach to the solution and saw a huge opportunity to grow and expand the company, and provide a quality product to anyone who wants it, all across the country.”

“My long-term view is that, as housing prices continue to increase, more and more people are relying on their home as an investment in their financial stability. We want to make sure that when you’re making investments in improving your most valuable asset, your Modern Shed is truly an extension of your home, not just a place to store bikes and rakes. This could be an office, a gym, or even a second living room.”

The Modern Shed team is excited to work with Marc to implement his vision of scaled operations and expanded offerings, and appreciate his drive and enthusiasm for all that we do! We look forward to bringing you continued excellence in quality and service, with style.

Design Pro Spotlight: Meet Jon

Modern Shed would like to introduce you to the newest Design Professional to join our team! 

Design Pro Jon Clearwater

Jon Clearwater started doing logistics for Modern Shed in 2015 and has recently transitioned into his new role helping our clients create the home office or studio shed of their dreams. His background is in logistics and residential & construction materials, so he is perfectly suited to guide customers through the Modern Shed process and thoughtfully explain each step along the way. 

On the personal side, Jon grew up in Oregon and moved to Washington in 1989, living in the Puget Sound area since. He now lives on the Olympic Penninsula with his 17-year-old son, a senior in high school, and his wife. When not representing Modern Shed, he keeps busy with woodworking and landscaping projects.

Jon says he is truly excited to take this next step and be a more integral team member of Modern Shed. He loves being able to represent a great product & great company.

We’re thrilled to have you serving our clients, Jon!

Customization in a Pre-fab World

Most Modern-Shed clients come to us with a very specific vision in mind. They’ve done their homework, and know that an off-the-shelf design just won’t do. Or maybe it would, but the level of service they’ve gotten from other ‘big-box store’ retailers doesn’t instill confidence in their investment. After all that researching, emailing, and calling around, there’s only one company that stands out for customer service, quality, and quick turn-around: Modern-Shed.

So how do we get it done? Modern-Shed starts with the speed and repeatable quality of prefabrication. Building our sheds in a temperature-controlled environment to the highest build standards with materials that satisfy even the strictest codes (looking at you, California) allows us to bring an exceptional product right to your property without the hassle of turning it into a long-term construction site.

Modern-Shed also recognizes you want your investment to reflect your aesthetic and completely suit your needs. This is why our Design Professionals take the time to connect with you, understand the layout of your property and existing features, and listen to your story. We don’t want to just sell you a shed; we want you to be delighted with a structure that adds value to your everyday life. If your design needs to be 8 inches shorter to fit between rock features or trees, we can make those adjustments. If you need an extra-long roofline to provide shade or weather protection, our Design Pros can make recommendations that fit your budget. We take the time to understand your dream space, and help to make it a reality.

In the end, our clients are continually thrilled with a Modern-Shed that adds to their quality of life every day. From art or music studios, to library and office space, to guest suites and ADUs: Modern-Shed Design Pros will walk you through the design, permit, and build process, keeping your dream, timeline, and budget in mind. To get started on your Modern-Shed, download your catalog today.

The Lumber Situation

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who attempted some kind of home improvement or DIY project this past year, or if you’ve started to explore purchasing a Modern-Shed for yourself, you’ve probably bemoaned the delays and price increases in everything from lumber to insulation and windows.

Stacked lumber

So what is UP with the lumber prices? Prices rose by more than 250% in the last year, and over 350% from March 2020’s five-year lows. Why?

At the outset of the pandemic, many mills initially slowed or even halted production. Even when they returned to work, most did so with limited staff and operational hours. Additionally, resin producers, who support the production of treated lumber and composites, switched over their operations to produce sanitizers to meet the demand for hygiene and cleaning products, often at a high profit margin making them reluctant to switch back their operations.

Despite the decreased production, demand for lumber has actually increased. Construction has continued to rise fairly steadily over the past few years, and many living in coastal cities have been finding they need more space to juggle work and personal life. Whether they choose to augment their space with Modern-Shed or build a new home farther inland, they are feeling the effects of the current lumber market. Add in all the Covid-DIYers, as well as increased tariffs on Canadian lumber, and we have landed in our current situation.

What’s the fix? Just last week, senior officials from the National Association for Home Builders met with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the importance of finding a solution to the lumber crisis. Government leaders are looking for ways to increase domestic lumber production, which some believe has not risen to meet the increased demand even prior to the pandemic. NAHB officials reported that the administration recognizes the importance of not slowing down the housing market (and thus the entire economy, potentially), and is serious about finding a path to stabilizing lumber prices. Many other experts are optimistically predicting a bit of relief as 2021 comes to a close, as futures trading has finally seen a substantial drop. 

Lumber futures chart

In the meantime, Modern-Shed realizes that your need for space and balance doesn’t depend on market fluctuations. Rather, we continue to provide our clients highly competitive pricing, as well as our years of expertise as the pioneer of living-space shed designs. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the upcoming pricing trend, make sure to visit our website to connect with a Design Pro today!

A gray Modern-Shed in quiet woods

Opening Up Possibilities

BAY AREA – When the pandemic hit, Peter and Amelia, with their growing family, found that life in their small San Francisco apartment was no longer sustainable. 

The couple had a 4-year-old and a brand new 4-month-old baby at home by the time March 2020 came around. Working from home helping hospitals prepare for the pandemic (Peter) and as a therapist (Amelia) became extremely difficult.

“After about three months, we hit a wall and suddenly went from, ‘We love this place; we’re never moving,’ to ‘We need more space; it’s an emergency,'” Peter said. “What we loved most about where we lived was the neighborhood and being able to walk everywhere. But with the shelter-in-place, those benefits disappeared almost overnight.”

The family needed a bigger place, but finding all that they were looking for was a challenge in the Bay Area – between bedrooms, home offices, and guest space for Amelia’s family to visit, they needed five private spaces.

 Modern-Shed proved to be a perfect solution.

“I don’t think I’d ever really seen a shed like this, but we were just trying to consider all options,” Peter said. “One question we had was, ‘What if I built an office in the backyard?’ Thirty minutes on Google and we learned that this was possible.”

In a short span of time, the couple found a rental, moved in, sold their apartment, bought a home, and moved again. The home that they purchased in Oakland had a patio in the backyard that proved the perfect spot for a Modern-Shed. 

“Getting everything we dreamed of in a house in a location we love was only possible because building a shed made it possible,” Peter said. “Once we were under contract on the house, the planning kicked into high gear.”

Peter and Amelia had specific measurements to work with due to the space constraints of where the shed would fit in the backyard. They were able to take six inches off one of the standard dimensions for a custom 7.5′ by 12′ Modern-Shed home office.

The pergola and outdoor furniture on the patio came with the house when they purchased it and blends in seamlessly with the Modern-Shed.

Modern-Shed installation started Dec. 2 and finished Dec. 4. In total, work on the shed –  the couple hired another contractor for the interior finish work and painting –  was done by Dec. 13. 

Peter found Modern-Shed design professional Jeff Bergerson extremely helpful in walking him through the process of purchasing a Modern-Shed from start to finish.

“I had never built a building before, so it was a huge benefit to have an expert like Jeff talk me through the process and give feedback on the design,” he said. “At one point, I was debating window placement and I asked Jeff’s opinion. He told me that most people overdo it on the windows and don’t realize how much they want wall space. That sort of insight was invaluable and helped me land on a design that fit my needs perfectly.”

Peter would advise anyone looking at purchasing a Modern-Shed to plan out their furniture before they build, down to the size of the couch and the placement of electronics. 

Having a detailed plan ahead of time helped Peter decide on the exact dimensions of the walls and where to place the outlets right where he knew he would want them. 

He also advises people to consider and understand the sequence of steps involved, including steps beyond the Modern-Shed installation.

“Understanding what steps have to happen in what order, so that you can coordinate the various contractors, is very helpful,” he said. 

Peter’s shed has a concrete foundation, as opposed to sitting on piers, a decision that was switched partway through the process. 

“The pros and cons of concrete versus piers were something I didn’t really understand early on, but I am glad that we switched because it was the right decision given our location and other constraints,” he said. “That’s one decision I would recommend thinking through carefully.”

The family is now fully settled after a transition-filled year of welcoming a new baby, weathering the pandemic, and the increased workload Peter had as a consequence, buying a home, building a Modern-Shed, and moving in.

“Though we expected to stay in our old apartment for a very long time, the pandemic made moving not only necessary but urgent,” Peter reflected. “We were optimizing for a lot of things. The ability to build a shed quite literally put our dream home within reach.”

New Window Options!

In addition to the standard white or sand-colored vinyl, Modern-Shed now offers Ply Gem Pro series windows which have co-extruded frames with either dark bronze or black on the exterior and always white on the interior. This is far superior to a painted option.
In limited markets, we also now offer Andersen Windows in the 100 series Fibrex line which come in five exterior colors and four interior colors. These are strong, environmentally smart and attractive.

Connect with a design professional to learn more. 

Design Pro Spotlight: Meet Trevor

Trevor Hynson is Modern-Shed’s newest design professional!
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Hynson lives in Western Montana with his wife and two children, and will be selling Modern-Sheds in San Diego County and East of the Mississipi River.

He will be working with our new East Coast install team, Hynson Brothers Construction.

“For us, the opportunity to work from home is a dream come true,” he said. “After spending most of my life in the building industry, I feel that with Modern-Shed I can finally offer our customers something much more valuable than a building. I can offer them the freedom to be closer to home.”

Find a design professional working in your area online at Modern-Shed.com.

Get electrified: Learn more about adding electricity and plumbing to your shed

When planning for your Modern-Shed, there are some key things to keep in mind when it comes to adding electricity and plumbing to your shed.

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Electricity:

A Modern-Shed with an electrical framing package includes:

  • All wall studs pre-drilled for “roping” (running the electrical wiring throughout the walls), making it easier and faster for your electrician to do their work
  • 1 ceiling chase in the center of the roof panel to allow for the wiring of a ceiling light. We also offer the option of adding more ceiling chases. Our panel system for the ceiling is a fully enclosed and insulated box panel with no access to the interior framing of the roof panel.
  • Wall framing next to a door to allow for a junction box for exterior light

Differences to expect from traditional building:

Due to the panelization process where two panels come together, it is not always possible to put the junction boxes or switches in the exact desired location.

For wall switch and exterior light, due to where panels come together, and the desired location of the door (particularly if in a corner), it may not be possible to put a wall switch or exterior light in the exact desired location, such as right next to the door because of wall framing members required by the building process and panel connection.

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Outlets and switches can’t always be placed in the desired location.

The determining factor for the ceiling chase will be the overall length of the roof, which determines the exact center, left to right. If the center of the building falls in the same place as the location of a ceiling joist, then the electrical chase will need to be on one side or the other of that joist.

Our design professionals work closely with you to help determine locations of these items to obtain as close to desired location as possible. IMG_5268

Plumbing:

If you desire plumbing in your Modern-Shed, there are elements which must be considered due to the Modern-Shed unique floor system.

 

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It is important to work with your plumber and design pro to consider where your water supply and drainpipes will be located

We use a 4X perimeter beam directly below the wall framing that cannot be drilled through. Location of the plumbing elements must be taken into consideration.

 

First, it is important to understand the three elements of plumbing:

1. The supply (incoming water) for hot and cold water from the source feeding the sink, toilet and shower.

2. The drainpipes for the same three fixtures. Keep in mind that water / waste exiting a toilet is considered black water and must be drained into a sewer or septic system.

3. Venting for the items in item 2 above which must be hidden within a wall cavity.

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Typical plumbing would have the supply coming through the floor and into the wall cavity and the drainpipe for a sink would typically go into the wall and through the floor via the wall cavity which would also carry the venting. The toilet and shower would drain through the floor and connect within and between the floor joists.

In a Modern-Shed, the designer and plumber must consider the location of our perimeter floor beam which sits directly below the bottom plate of the wall and is typically a 4x beam which cannot be drilled through.

In order to design the piping routing and locations, there are three design solutions to the scenarios. Considering the drains first, the drains can go directly through our floor system and connect below the floor. Our floor system is fully enclosed and insulated therefore the drainpipes cannot connect within or between the floor joists.

It is of utmost importance that the location of drain holes for shower and toilet be determined before fabrication so we can pre-frame the floor panels to accept the drains, if by chance the design calls for the holes to be directly above a joist or where two panels come together. If this were to be the case, we custom design the floor and provide a schematic for your plumber to locate the exact spot where the toilet and shower drains need to be.

The supply line for the toilet can come through the floor inward of the floor beam since it resides next to the toilet unlike a shower or sink which reside within the wall cavity.DSC_0749

For the sink and shower supply lines, there are three solutions:

1. The full height of the wall where the plumbing wants to go can be made thicker with either 2×6 or 2×8 studs to accommodate the space required to drill through the bottom plate of the wall and not hit the perimeter beam.

2. The wall can be thicker only part way up from the floor to accommodate the supply line and vents. This would create a handy “shelf” behind the sink and toilet.

3. Normally there will need to be an interior wall with a door for the bathroom and the supply lines and venting can reside in that wall, depending on the door location, particularly if the door is a pocket door. A barn style door could be used if necessary.

It will be important to familiarize yourself with local building codes by working with your local plumber and then working with your Modern-Shed design professional to achieve the best design possible.