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.” Continue reading →
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 →
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.”Continue reading →
San 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.”
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.”
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 →
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.
Lopez Island — Judith has had a house on Lopez Island in the beautiful San Juans of Washington state for the past 20 years, but she and her husband, Paul, have always known they’d like a little bit more space to enjoy their lovely surroundings.
“It’s a small house, and we have plans to expand, but I wanted a room away from our house so I could meditate, do yoga and write,” Judith recalls. “We couldn’t afford to do our expansion plan right then so a quickie way to get me some extra space was to get a Modern-Shed.”
Judith had been watching programs on tiny homes, so that’s where she’d gotten the idea to have a small space of her own.Continue reading →