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.

A Waterfront Retreat

A Modern-Shed next to a waterfront cabin.

PUGET SOUND – When Chris began researching ideas for his scenic retreat, he knew that the space had to feel just right. From matching the aesthetic of the cabin already on his property to providing comfortable and enduring space in all the elements, none of the ‘off the shelf’ sheds he researched seemed to fit the bill.

“I’m very analytical, and I knew that the ability to customize different components would be very important. And the design work with Jeff was so helpful.”

One of the most important exterior features for his Modern-Shed was to have a large overhang to match the existing structure, as well as provide shade to the deck and protection from the elements against the open windows. For the interior, Chris decided on a dual finish for the walls, with a combination of tongue-and-groove and large paneling. 

“I’m just so pleased with how it all comes together. There’s a bed and small table. We also have a composting toilet by Separett with the portable washstand, so no plumbing. And of course, the infrared dry sauna! It’s almost like a little hotel in there!”

And Chris has plenty of guests who come to stay and enjoy his space, from friends to family. Enjoying a cup of coffee on the deck with the view of the water is the perfect way to start the day, they all rave! Even from inside, the transom windows allow you to look up into the woods outside and just relax.

The 12’ x 14’ Modern-Shed also features a street-side door at the rear of the shed, and a front door leading out onto the deck. Along with the transom windows at the top, a large window panel unity also has casements to capture the breeze right off the water.

Chris is extremely pleased with the build speed and quality. Working with Jeff, our Design Pro, he was able to brainstorm cost and time-saving design aspects. The installation contractor was also able to spend the time to get the details just right, like a unique deck style. Chris really appreciated the value they brought to the whole process. 

“I tell everyone about Modern-Shed and how great they are to work with. One of my good friends who has stayed here is looking forward to getting one for his property too!”

A Modern Aesthetic

GREATER SAN DIEGO – With young children afoot, it can be hard to get work done in the house.

J, a real estate developer from Las Vegas, spends his summers with his family at their vacation home in the greater San Diego area, but when it comes to work, he needs a quiet place away from the kids.
“Young children, they scream and yell, so there’s no possible way I can be in the house and work,” J said. “I used to rent a small office nearby, and it was pretty inefficient, having to leave the house all the time. With Modern-Shed, I can just step into my backyard and get to work.”
J had seen Modern-Shed in a Dwell advertisement years ago, but he tucked away the thought until he bought a new house in San Diego. He started the process about seven months ago to build a Modern-Shed in his backyard.
“I wanted to put an accessory structure up as an office, and when I had the need, I remembered Modern-Shed,” he said. “This was a way to take a prolonged vacation with my family without having to go to a coworking space or go to an office.”
J encountered a smooth process working with our Modern-Shed design professional, Jeff Bergerson, and moved forward with purchasing a 10′ by 12′ Modern-Shed with electricity and other bells and whistles.
He gravitated toward Modern-Shed because of the mid-century modern aesthetic that matched his new house, which itself has been featured in Dwell.
“The process was very good and it was very professional,” he said. “I would recommend it and I would buy another one. Jeff, once we connected, was super knowledgeable about the product and that was all good.”
Find a design pro near you at www.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.

Housing Crunch: A Modern-Shed Solution

It’s no secret that the nation is in the midst of a housing crisis. Rent and the price of a home are rising, creating a problem not just for the most vulnerable people, like the chronically homeless, but also for the average worker, the middle-income earners who are finding themselves priced out of the market.

Industry leaders from big cities to small towns are talking about what we as a country can do to make housing more affordable for households that make 60 to 140 percent of the area median income.

Here at Modern-Shed, we don’t purport to have all of the answers, but one thing we’ve taken notice of is the onerous obstacles that prevent property owners from building rental housing that could alleviate some of the problem.

“In some places in Washington state, you can’t find anywhere to live where the rent isn’t astronomically high,” says Modern-Shed general manager Tim Vack. “Often, it’s the zoning laws of the county. If we could change the zoning to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on a property, more residents could build a rental unit on their property.”10x18guestroom_1 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

The ideal commute

PORTLAND — Within the first year that Steve started his consulting business, he knew he needed to find a space to work outside of his house.

Steve and his wife, Michelle, and two daughters live in a three-bedroom Portland home built in 1912.

Steve works in accessory and product design, with his hands on everything from watches and eyewear to other wearable technologies for brands like Nike and Timex, while Michelle designs and creates handbags and clothing. 

“I was working in our finished basement, which is a nice basement, but there was a lack of light and still, it’s in the basement and it’s in the house,” Steve recalls. “I started looking at renting spaces or doing a prefab build. My goal was to get a modular system I could build myself.”IMG_4034 Continue reading

Quality, quickly: An on-island solution

island get awayisland retreatisland get away-2San Juan Island — In an ideal world, Tom wouldn’t have purchased a Modern-Shed.

The Portland-based attorney loves to build things and enjoys having his hands on a project, so when he began considering building a home office on his family’s property on San Juan Island in Washington, he would have ideally liked to build the office himself.

But, we don’t live in an ideal world, and Modern-Shed helps our customers wisely and efficiently use their time so they can have the types of spaces they’ve always dreamed of.

“I really like building things, but I don’t have the time,” Tom admits. “I wanted a quality product that could assemble very quickly. That was the key criteria.”

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Tom’s 12′ by 14′ Modern-Shed office on San Juan Island

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Modern-Shed: Making you money $$$

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A Modern-Shed AirBnb in San Jose, Calif.

As the rise of AirBnBs and other vacation rental sites like HomeAway and VRBO can attest, when people take a vacay, more and more they want to stay at a home away from home.

We have several Modern-Shed customers who have capitalized on this trend.

In San Jose, Flora and Jeffrey initially built a Modern-Shed guest room to accommodate Flora’s sister, Fauna, who was staying in the area for college, but when Fauna graduated two years later, the couple started making serious money when they turned their shed into an AirBnB.

“I am just extremely happy with it,” says Flora, whose shed sees mostly business travelers. “I’m booked every day … Totally I was not expecting this many bookings … These guests, they come every day, even during the week, they’re here for a day and gone. It’s convenient for me and them … (Now) I’m a stay-at-home mom and a full-time AirBnB host.”

Other Modern-Shed owners rent or book their sheds for guests more interested in leisure.

Marc and Jeanine’s Modern-Shed AirBnB in fast-growing Portland offers exclusive access to the shed and an herb garden, with guests complimenting the shed’s “cozy” factor and noting that it’s “a gorgeous little oasis in Portland,” “central to a lot of restaurants and stores.”

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Modern-Shed rental cabins in Blue Lake Springs

Meanwhile, Holly’s twin Modern-Shed cabins at Blue Lake Springs near the Sierra Nevadas in California complement a traditional cabin and offer large families a quiet respite from the busy, city life.

“They are really cute,” Holly says. “My girls love sleeping in the sheds even though we didn’t plan them to be sleeping quarters … I love how the sheds are really multi-functional. People can use them how they want and can say ‘Hey, this is my space.’”

Many more of our customers simply love having that extra space when family comes over, which is especially important to take into account as the holiday season approaches. Continue reading

Modern-Shed keeps you warm

Now that winter is just around the corner, it’s a good time to talk about how Modern-Shed keeps our customers warm … and, uh, well, cool as well for those living in the hot climates.

We offer all Modern-Sheds with a variety of insulation options best suited to the customer’s needs, desires and permitting requirements.

Above your head: All our standard smaller sheds are priced with a standard R30 rigid foam insulation package in the pre-fabricated roof system. This can be upgraded to R40 and (coming soon) R50 to accommodate extreme cold and heat, as well as to new energy codes that come up. To accommodate electrical needs within the panelized pre-fabricated roof system, one option is an electrical framing package that includes one wiring “chase” in one of the roof panels.

For larger structures that require higher level building permits to accommodate on-site electrical work and on-site building inspections by the local building departments, we offer a credit for an insulation delete option so the customer can use a spray-foam insulation once the inspection and electrical work is complete. We can accommodate any rafter size for the necessary insulation value required by each jurisdiction.

modernshedworkplace15 Continue reading