Building a backyard bungalow/office
February 12, 2009 4:40 PM   Subscribe

We're thinking of building a small backyard bungalow to use as an office, ideally with some sort of bike storage attached.

It has to be on the cheap and simple side, something like this, which looks like it might not be ideally suited for Pacific NW weather.

Any other options along those lines? And how could we also store & lock two around-town bikes in our (small, rainy) backyard? I'm thinking a two-bike pole stand placed against an outer wall of the office. It would have to have some sort of rain cover, at least, if not a full enclosure, but we don't have all that much space to play with. (The deck is about 10" too low to stick them under upright, alas.)
posted by El Curioso to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Do a google search for prefab sheds. Also, this NYTimes article covers the topic and gives some examples.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 4:47 PM on February 12, 2009

Superadobe can be real cheap
More here and here
posted by buggzzee23 at 5:08 PM on February 12, 2009

Not quite so cheap & simple, but local Northwest designer Andy McConnell has some very nice (and award-winning!) design ideas for small garden studios on his site.
posted by Aquaman at 5:29 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]
posted by Muirwylde at 6:29 PM on February 12, 2009

Crap. Disregard previous post. Tumbleweed houses.
posted by Muirwylde at 6:37 PM on February 12, 2009

Mokki. Either EU style or US style. Sightings in the wild, literally, here.
posted by webhund at 6:57 PM on February 12, 2009

To me, that ReadyMade shed looks ok for the PNW, as long as the roof overhangs were long enough to comfortably shed the rain. You would want to extend the roof overhang on one side (presumably the back, just for aesthetics) far enough to shelter the bikes, but that's simple. And all that glass will get hot in the summer, too, unless you have bigger overhangs, a tree for shade, or you get the orientation just right.

The internet is full of basic shed plans, and there's nothing difficult about putting one together in a weekend or two with basic tools. This one, from Black and Decker, is about as clear as they come; altering that plan to have more windows, different doors, or a longer roof overhang for the bicycles would not be complicated at all. And here is another simple shed plan that would also be trivial to adapt to your needs.

And Shedworking is going to be the website you will want to spend some hours looking through, if you haven't already, for ideas and inspiration, plus lots and lots of links.

Any of these will probably need insulation, electricity, and some sort of heating source to be useful for more than half the year, and that will add a lot of expense to a cheap shed. Sheds are cheap because of all the things you don't add to them that you do on a house. There's a big cost difference between some 2x4 studs and some sheets of plywood, and all the house-wrap, foundation-ties (and a foundation, for that matter), insulation, double-paned windows, and so on that even the most minimal of houses will have.

You'll have to decide if you want to be legal or fly under the regulatory radar, which in some places can be difficult if you are bringing power to the shed and really using it as an office instead of as a shed -- the standards for a simple storage structure are different than for a building you will be occupying, understandably. If you are opting to be illegal, do be safe, though. I'm always seeing people running too-small extension cords across the yard, through puddles, etc. Doing it right (or at least better) isn't that expensive, compared to the embarrassment and expense of hurting someone.
posted by Forktine at 4:29 AM on February 13, 2009

« Older Downloading Best Show archives is making me madder...   |   Short battle for sausage (8) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.