A Secret Garden Library

A blue-green shed in fall foliage.

SONOMA COUNTY – Paige always knew that having a beautiful home library was a priority. Growing up, her family amassed an extensive collection of beautiful and rare books, many that she looks forward to passing on to her own kids someday. But when Paige and her husband began remodeling their current home, a library/office took a back seat to other more costly projects.

However, as the COVID pandemic wore on through the summer of 2020, Paige knew it was time for her dream space to take precedence.

“In August, I had just started researching home office sheds online. My daughter was getting ready to start her senior year of high school, and we all really needed our own space to work,” she recalls. “I had a vision for an office shed that could also be a Secret Garden escape to read and relax. And taking care of our library collection was a huge concern; I had to be sure we could control temperature and moisture to protect those treasures.”

Paige enlisted her son to help sketch up some ideas for her, and continued to make calls and do research. “It was between [Modern-Shed] and another large shed supplier. They gave me their standard, out-of-the box option and told me, ‘It will probably work fine.’ But when I talked to [my Design Pro] Jeff Bergerson, he really took the time to understand our vision and help perfect it. He really bought in to the whole idea!” Paige was so impressed with the care that Jeff took to both meet her aesthetic and care for her book collection, she knew that Modern-Shed would best meet her needs.

Paige decided on a 12 x 10’ size shed, with 2 windows and sliding doors built on a standard foundation. She choose dragonfly green color for the exterior paint and blue inside. To finish the interior space, she went with custom shelving and found an amazing chaise to complete the relaxing library. The installation took about a week, and then finishing the interior took just a couple weeks more. And by November, Paige’s daughter was setting up her laptop for school every day in their new space!

“My kids just love going back there for a quiet retreat, and the neighbors have all asked where they can get a shed like ours! We tell everyone to call Modern-Shed.”

Paige also advises potential clients to be realistic about the costs of each aspect of the building and finishing. “Jeff was great about walking me through his estimates for each step of the process, but I tried to convince him I could get it done for less. At the end of the day, though, Jeff was right on!”

“It was totally worth it,” Paige adds, “to get exactly the space we wanted and know that it’s done right.” We’re thrilled Paige and her family can enjoy their back yard escape for years to come!

To connect with your Modern-Shed Design Pro, visit our website.

Keeping Your Cool

The heat of summer is upon us as I write this, and there are several weeks to go. Keeping your Modern-Shed cool in the summer does not have to be expensive and complicated. Here are some cool tips to keep you cool. 

The advent of portable air conditioner units has opened the door for keeping cool without having to break the bank on a full HVAC system. 

Portable air conditioning unit

This unit was in the $400 range and does not take up a ton of space and can be set up in less than 20 minutes. These units evacuate air to the outside through most any opening window – sliding, single hung, awning or, casement via a large exhaust tube. If need be, it is possible with a little inventive knowhow to exhaust through a sliding glass door also in a more temporary way.  

Air conditioning venting

Another tip to keep your space cool is using external shade screens for your windows which face the sun. This prevents much of the heat from ever entering your Modern-Shed. The cool thing about the roller shades, is you use them only when you want to shade direct sunlight… you just roll them up when not needed. These are extremely easy to install in less than 20 minutes and are not expensive either, available at your local hardware store. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, and you can still see through them from the inside. 

Sun shade outside the Modern-Shed window

If you haven’t yet purchased a Modern-Shed and live in a hot or cold climate, consider the upgrade to higher R-Value roof and wall insulation as well as LowE glass in the upper transom IGUs. Our Design Pros can help you select the best products for your space, and keep you enjoying your Modern-Shed year round!

Palm Desert Paradise

PALM DESERT — When Tom and Casi moved into their 1,740-square-foot Palm Desert home four years ago, they identified a spot where Tom could eventually have a home office.

Each of them work from home — Casi works as a financial consultant for a high-end designer, while Tom, a former stand-up comedian and actor, writes content for programs such as awards shows or music specials for a Hollywood producer.

When it came to their new home, they worked with their builder/designer to create a space exactly how Tom wanted it — however, Casi was the first to land a job, so Tom found himself back to where he started, working from various spots in the house, such as the dining room table.

“Her jobs tend to be long-term, while mine are a month at a time,” Tom said. “The office became hers, so I patched along for a couple of years.”

When the COVID pandemic struck, they began to research home offices they could put up in the backyard. Their experience with Modern-Shed went quickly. 

“We were stuck at home, and in late August, well into the COVID experience, I showed Casi what I had seen online,” Tom recalled. “To my surprise, she agreed to build one. Our first email was sent in September and we were building in November.”

Tom was attracted to the design of Modern-Shed, with the transom windows and the look of the wood coming from the eaves. Casi watched all of the videos on Modern-Shed’s gallery online to get a sense of everything someone could do with a shed.

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Opening Up Possibilities

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.”

“I wish we had done this years ago”

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA — This past spring, as the country began to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19, Kevin started thinking of the future.

“I began working from home and my kids were home from school, and I could see, looking down the road, that we might be in this for awhile,” he said. “This thing might rear its head again soon, and if that’s the case, I knew I would need a place of privacy to do my work, and the kids would as well.”

Now, with fall approaching and the “new normal” fully in swing, Kevin is happy he made the choice to build a Modern-Shed this past July. In fact, he wishes he had built one “years ago.”

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How to Work From Home #WFH – Being Disciplined 

By Tim Vack, Modern-Shed General Manager 

If you’re just joining us, check out our previous posts about being mentally prepared, physically prepared and operationally prepared for Working From Home. In this post, we’ll talk more about getting the work done amid distractions.  

The Key Word: Discipline

As I mentioned in earlier posts, staying focused on work can be challenging while working from home. The inclination to go to the fridge, do laundry or other chores are “in your face” when you are at home unless you have a completely separated space like a Modern-Shed. If you are in the dining room or down the hall, it is all too tempting to throw a load of laundry in or get a snack from the fridge. Here are some ideas to help keep those distractions under control. 

  • Avoid the kitchen and use it as you might a “break room” at your old workplace. Keep a small fridge in your workspace to keep snacks and beverages in. Not that taking a break is a bad thing– it isn’t — but not if it is a several times during the day. 
  • Schedule times during the day for a specific “break” to see your kids, talk to your partner, take a short walk or exercise. 
  • Create rules in the home regarding interruptions by loved ones. Talk with loved ones about urgent, critical, important, or can it wait until after work hours? interruptions 94787167_3263128460397862_8306762824034549760_o
  • Dress for work if it helps you stay focused and makes you feel like you are “at work”. 
  • If you feel compelled to do something that could pull you away from work, such as laundry, set a timer on your phone beforehand for 5-10 min in case you go off on a tangent. 
  • Set your alarm: Some folks can be on a flexible schedule but most need to be at work certain times of the day. Be careful not to run into the trap of “… oh, I can get to that later…” or “…I could work tonight instead of today…” I suggest keeping regular work hours and ask the boss what they require from you. If you are recently self-employed, create your work hours, track them, and stick to it. 

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An educator’s home office

MS1Los Angeles — After years at home raising children, Susie and her husband, Josh, began to think about what it would look like for her to ramp up her career as an educational therapist. 

With a child still in elementary school, however, the couple wanted to figure out how Susie could still be around for their three daughters, but also have the time and space for work appointments that often take place after school, since Susie’s clients are also children.

That’s when Josh brought up prefabrication, a movement he’d been enamored with for two decades.

“I’ve fantasized about prefab sheds and subscribed to Dwell magazine for years,” Josh said. “The whole movement seemed cool; that kind of aesthetic and that kind of approach was appealing and exciting.”
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Shed with a View

IMG_1340BAY AREA — When Thorsten and Danielle were looking for a home two-and-a-half years ago, they saw several houses that had backyard sheds and dwelling units on a number of properties.
This was what first sparked the idea about obtaining a type of shed outdoors. When the couple found their dream home, they tucked the idea away in the back of their minds, and also thought of the perfect spot for a shed in their new yard.
“Our house had just the right spot,” Thorsten recalled. “The previous owners had a dilapidated play structure that we tore down. We had motivation to build something there, especially since I was already working one or two days a week at home and my wife, Danielle, works at home.”
Thorsten works in the technology department of a luxury automobile company, while Danielle works in the couture women’s retail industry.
IMG_1434Thorsten commutes about 50 miles to work three to four days a week, while Danielle works from home a few weeks at a time, then travels throughout the country visiting her brand’s stores a week or more at a time each month.
They both wanted dedicated home office space at home.
“When you work remotely, you like the notion of leaving your living space,” Thorsten said. “It takes 15 seconds to get to my office and then I’m not far if I need to go back to my personal space.”
Thorsten found the process to be smooth and simple with Modern-Shed’s design professionals and installation partners.
In light of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, the home office has proved even more useful.
“Right now, we’re being encouraged to work from home because of the virus situation,” Thorsten said. “I like having a work space that’s not my dining room table.”

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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.

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