For those of us living in small homes with huge yards, putting on an addition is one option to create that much-needed extra bedroom or home office. Another option, which can carry lower costs and negates the need for building permits, is to build a clever shed that meets all your needs.
Putting a multi-function shed in your yard is a growing trend here in Canada: Sheds that double as outdoor living spaces were featured at the recent Canada Blooms event and at this year’s Interior Design Show in Toronto, five designers reworked shed interiors, with impressively chic results.
In the U.K., where sheds that function on a higher level are very popular, there is a range of great prefabs available, such as the gorgeous Roomworks Garden Room or the ultra-cool OfficePOD. Although we aren’t yet swamped with options here in Canada, there are a number of companies making great sheds: InHabit Modern Dwellings in North Vancouver sells a number of cute-as-a-button designs. And Kevin Deevey’s Backyard Studio (affectionately known as the “Manhut”) is another great example of a multi-purpose space.
Deevey, an Ottawa-based architect, designed his first backyard studio out of necessity. “I live in a fairly small house in the city, and when my daughter was born, she pretty much hijacked the last of my office space in the house,” he says. “As a start-up company, we didn’t have a lot of money for renting a space so the shed served double duty as an office.”
A lot of Deevey’s work focuses on helping people get the most out of their small urban houses, so it is natural that he has had a lot of interest in his shed design. Working out of a glorified potting shed may seem a tad bizarre, especially in Ottawa, one of the world’s coldest capital cities, but there are several advantages.