Saving energy: A Modern-Shed testimony

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.

A Modern-Shed customer recently brought this to our attention, and it got us thinking about all the ways a Modern-Shed could be made to be energy-efficient.

az150925-0552Our 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.image006

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.

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Adding on vs Buying big vs Modern-Shed

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.
10x18 guestroom_2The average cost to build an additional room runs anywhere from $80 to $200 per square feet, according to Home Advisor, but higher (close to $400) in competitive markets like Seattle.
For an 80-square-foot room, that comes out to upwards of $32,000 for a home addition, with factors such as size, architectural services, support beams, electrical wiring and more influencing the cost.
More realistically, however, homeowners planning a home addition are more likely to spend more than $200,000 on their remodel in areas like Seattle, San Francisco and southern California.
“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.”

Worth Every Penny

She shed #4PASADENA — Before purchasing their Modern-Shed, Katherine’s husband, Kent, would often grow frustrated by her little piles of paper littered throughout the guest bedroom.

“We have a three-bedroom house, and my husband has two girls who come and go and need the bedroom,” Katherine says. “I need some private space to do work because I’m a teacher, a place where if I need to keep piles out, I can close the doors, close the blinds and no one would know.”

Katherine’s 9′ by 10′ Modern-Shed fits nicely in the couple’s backyard, complementing their home and appearing as though it belonged there the whole time. Continue reading

The personal touch

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Rebecca’s 640-square-foot Modern-Shed home and workspace

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.” Continue reading

The Modern-Shed Boat House

GIG HARBOR — Down a winding path, nestled in the Evergreen forests near the Key Peninsula, Kerrie and Rich found a place they could call home.

Their home, however, left some things to be desired. In the meantime, they wanted to create a comfortable space where they could work, relax and entertain loved ones while enjoying the view of Henderson Bay and all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

“Our house just needs lots of work, and the Modern-Shed takes the pressure off,” Kerrie says. “It’s a two-bedroom house that was built in 1958. Now, with the shed, we have an extra bedroom and a nice place where we can bring our guests.”

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The work-from-home solution

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PORTLAND — When you’re two executives working in high-powered fields, finding space to work is critical.

It becomes even more so when you have two young children at home.

Sara and Greg both work from their home in Portland, though now Sara travels 80 percent of the time for her job.

Before finding Modern-Shed, they both juggled working from home with working outside the home in various offices.

“We needed an extra work space in our home because even though we had offices and were working within other offices, we’d occasionally be working in our home,” Sara says. “It became more of a heavy need to work at home since we have two small children. But working in your house is not realistic when the kids get home at 3 p.m.” Continue reading

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.” Continue reading