Earlier this summer, I was contacted by a local couple who had seen our tiny house featured on a website. We had them over for a tour and discussed their desire for building a writer's shed, as the wife is an accomplished writer. They had several other projects they wanted to complete over the summer, so budget was a concern.
They had a 50-year old barn on their property that was about to fall down. They needed a place to park their three cars and lawn implements without fear of the roof caving in! Our first project was to disassemble (pull down) the barn and dispose of all the unusable material. My summer intern, Tim, and I probably enjoyed the pulling down part most! What guy doesn't love tearing something apart! Unfortunately, not much of the structure was without rot or insect damage. We managed to salvage a little bit of the lumber for a project at my house. After we cleared the area, we built a 1500sq ft 3-bay rustic carport.
We had several discussions about the writer's shed over the summer, and building a full-blown tiny house seemed excessive for their needs. We did some research, and hatched an idea to use a prefabbed shed from Home Depot, finishing the interior to the clients' specifications. The shed was actually assembled on site from pre-cut materials, and the guys from Tuff Shed did a nice, quick job of it. Taking this approach has its drawbacks: Sheds are typically not built with the intention of hanging drywall. While the framing is perfect for storing lawn equipment, it's a little rough as far as being level and plumb. They also are not framed to house specifications, meaning the studs are not always installed at typical house spacing. This lead to a bit of head scratching, but creativity prevailed!
We installed a 3-circuit electrical system, insulated the walls and ceilings, trimmed out the doors and windows, installed base trim, put in stand-alone heat and A/C units, built a deck and stairs, and placed a nice faux wood floor. The interior looks like a home office in any house, yet has the privacy and tranquility of a separate space.
The owners' dubbed it "The Writing Pad", and I think that it provides the perfect inspiration retreat for her next novel. Contact me if you're interested in creating a small space of your own!