Thurston County — It’s easy to see why Jane loves where she lives.
Her little red house sits on a quiet, winding street that most people in her city have never heard of. The branches of the apple trees in her yard bend with the heavy weight of their fruit, and her backyard looks out over a wide, expansive pasture that dovetails toward Henderson Inlet.
She loves her house, her property, her neighbors. So, when family members began to ask when she would move into an assisted living home, after she started to encounter health issues, she balked at their suggestions. She didn’t want to leave.
Jane searched for a solution to maintain her quality of life, and Modern-Shed became a part of that solution — Modern-Shed, and her neighbor’s daughter, Jasmine.
“This is my long-term care plan,” Jane says of the beautiful idea that came together last year. “It occurred to me that I could build a tiny home to house a caregiver.” Continue reading →
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.”
Design pro Gary Chang turned to Modern-Shed after the most devastating wildfire in California history destroyed over 15,000 homes in November 2018.
“I began to think this could be a time to rethink housing and how we live and work,” he said. “That’s where Modern-Shed came into the picture. I had seen their ads in Dwell Magazine and looked at the website from time to time. I called to discuss my thoughts with General Manager Tim Vack and Owner Ryan Smith. I also made two trips to Washington to meet, look at models, and visit the manufacturing facility.”
Gary wanted to design, build and sell accessory dwelling units and learned that California laws were relaxing to allow more people to build these extra spaces on their own lots.
“Why not Design, Create, and Build Villages of these units for people to live more affordably,” Gary said. “Some older people may want to downsize, younger people may want to have a living space that is affordable, and others just want to live a minimalist lifestyle. Also, I saw Modern-Sheds as a way to reduce travel with home offices or create rental units.”
Gary owns Eco Living Resources, which helps people use less energy and water, while living healthier and saving money. He primarily works in the Sacramento Valley from Sacramento to Chico to the Oregon Border.
“The mission is on to find and help people who want to have us design and build a Modern-Shed or perhaps Modern-Sheds to enhance their lifestyle and create joy in their living or work space.”
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.
PORTLAND — Scott was looking for a little more space in the three-bedroom home he bought in 2017, when he contacted design professional Jeff Bergerson about building a Modern-Shed in his backyard.
Scott shares his home with roommates, and in the basement the occasional Airbnb guest comes to stay. But he wanted space to make music and more room for his own guests coming over.
“I wanted a little area for music and art and a guest area,” he said. “I don’t really have that in my house, mainly I wanted a separate space to make music and be able to be noisy that wasn’t going to bother people in the house. I don’t want to be disturbing to my Airbnb guests.”
Scott had Modern-Shed build a 12’ by 16’ shed with an open floor plan. At one end of the shed, he mixes music, while in another he has a large sectional couch that folds out into a bed.
“I mostly compute music, but I also have some instruments,” he says. “I collaborate with friends. I have a lot of friends who make music, so this is a space I can use with other people and collaborate on stuff. I like the feeling of leaving the house and stepping into that space. It’s separate from the house, so it puts you in a particular state of mind. You’re not thinking about cooking and cleaning in another part of the house.”
Scott encountered no issues with the construction of his Modern-Shed, and with the amount of options available to him to customize his shed.
“There were not really any surprises,” he says. “I was surprised by how things really did go as planned. Everyone that has seen it thinks it’s great and has been impressed by it.”
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.”