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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Trevor Hynson is Modern-Shed’s newest design professional!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
If you desire plumbing in your Modern-Shed, there are elements which must be considered due to the Modern-Shed unique floor system.
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.
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.
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.
A few years back, CBS Early News did a segment with Bill Nye the Science Guy about how white rooftops could combat global warming — the idea being that darker rooftops retain heat and cause people to use more of their air conditioning.
Our general manager, Tim, shares his own experience about how he heats and cools his own Modern-Shed:
I have a direct south and west exposure which brings in tons of natural light. Along with the upper clearstory transom glass, I also have a 6-foot sliding glass door and an awning window.
The Ply Gem window and door have excellent energy values and my shed has walls with R-21 insulation, a roof with rigid foam R-38 and a floor system with R-21. I use a small radiant heater in the winter to keep my office toasty warm. Set on the first of three levels at 68 or 69 degrees is all it needs due to the excellent insulation.
In the summer, I have a stand-alone AC unit that vents through the awning window very easily and I have curtains to block out the late afternoon sun, but then I can’t see out. I remembered from years ago when I sold sunrooms that glass is better shaded from the exterior before the sun/heat gets to the glass. So, I put an exterior roll up shade on the large window.
If you can stop or filter the sun’s heat before it gets to the insulated glass, the LowE/Argon glass doesn’t have to work so hard and is much more efficient. I ordered a roll down shade screen from Amazon, and with it, I really don’t even need the air conditioning, which I prefer, and can then use the lower awning portion the window to cool in the morning and evening hours.
Often at Modern-Shed, our design professionals encounter customers who are not quite ready to commit to purchasing a shed, in part because they’re afraid of the permanency of the shed.
Here’s where we remind folks that while our sheds are not DIY kits, per se, they can be taken apart and moved to a new location, should you decide to move.
“It’s something I think our customers don’t even think about until I bring it up,” said design pro Jeff Bergerson. “The question of moving strikes fear: there’s the expense, the hassle of moving, of pulling kids out of school districts. It’s reassuring to them to know that if they do have to move, they can disassemble their shed, put it in a trailer and put it all back together again.”
Here at Modern-Shed, our design professionals often meet customers who are fed up with their living situation.
When a family needs more space, sometimes the first thing they’ll consider is adding onto their home or buying a new, bigger house with an additional bedroom.
Once they embark down those paths, however, they soon realize how costly those options are.
“Whether they’ve gone to an architect or they’ve actually hired a contractor and bid a job, or they’ve researched online, they realize it’s more complex than they thought,” said Modern-Shed design pro Jeff Bergerson. “That’s when they start to open their minds to other options.”
Building a detached studio such as a Modern-Shed for a home office or guest room living space is far less expensive than adding onto your home or buying a bigger house.
For the proof, all you need is to look at the numbers.
“The customers I talk to who have already gone through getting quotes, these people are already tired, they’re already discouraged, and they’ve spent thousands of dollars just to get drawings and bids only to find out, ‘Hey, it’s going to cost $80,000 when here I thought it was going to be $20,000,” Jeff notes. “ And it’s going to take over a year. That’s when they say that’s not close to what they expected, so they look for new ideas.”
Additionally, building an addition might require updating the rest of your house to current standards, which can be like “opening a can of worms,” Jeff says.
“If you build a detached studio, no one’s looking at the rest of your house,” he says.
For folks not interested in turning their home into a construction zone, they might be tempted to just up and move. However, the costs to upgrade to a new home are even more alarming.
In Los Angeles, the median price of a three-bedroom home that was actively listed in February 2019 was $730,000, but the median price of a four-bedroom home was $979,000, for a difference of $249,000, according to figures obtained on the real estate listing site Redfin.
In Portland, the price difference between a three-bedroom and four-bedroom home came out to $180,000, and in Seattle, the difference was even more striking: home buyers would have to shell out an average of $748,000 more for a four-bedroom home compared to a three-bedroom home.
“The cost to upgrade the size of a house is astronomical,” Jeff says. “It’s far more than they expect, especially if they’re talking about increasing bedrooms.”
Factor in the cost and stress of moving, potentially pulling your children out of their school district, leaving a neighborhood you love, and messing with your mortgage interest rate, and many of our customers come to terms with the fact that they don’t want to move.
Modern-Sheds start at a base price of around $13,000, depending on the size of the shed, and not including, taxes, delivery and installation.
“So many people want to stay where they are and they just need to find another solution and that’s how they’re discovering us,” Jeff says. “You could have a new shed four weeks from the time of your order.”
At Modern-Shed, we’re often asked: What needs to be done if a site needs to be leveled before placing a Modern-Shed on it?
This is a great question and one that comes up often in hilly areas like Seattle or the San Francisco Bay Area, where many of our customers reside – for these customers, building a retaining wall can get expensive and could require pricey geotech engineering and design work.