Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Shoffice

I love working from home, but our home is quite small and just can’t accommodate me working and my girls playing at the same time. I needed an office space that would afford me privacy so I could focus on work and my girls needed to be able to be home with the nanny after school and during breaks. So I came up with an idea to fix the problem.

At first I thought it was too crazy to be doable, but have you ever had an idea that just wouldn’t leave you alone?! I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about it, planning it, and growing the idea. Once I realized it was more than a passing thought I had a conversation with my Doug that went a little something like “Sooooo, I have an idea to fix my work at home while the girls are home problem. I realize it sounds totally crazy, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s gonna work. Ummmm, I want to work from a shed in the back yard *insert cringe face*.”

My Doug has had 13 years practice at accommodating my hair brained ideas; he handled this one like a pro too and just said “I could see how it could work… research our options and we’ll figure it out.”

Just a few Google searches later I realized I wasn’t the first person with this idea. It’s not as common in the US, but there are lots of people in the UK working from “sheds” in their backyards. They call themselves shed workers, which sounds kinda creepy to me, so I decided to dub my space “The Shoffice” instead… ya know shed+office.

Deciding whether to convert an existing shed, build one from a kit, or build one from scratch was the first decision to be made. I scoured Craig’s List for sheds, shopped the big box DIY centers, and checked out the local shed “stores”. I ultimately decided that if I was going to be in this space 8hrs/day I wanted a normal height ceiling and several windows. Those two features made the price of a pre-built or kit pretty expensive, and they still looked like... well a shed. I found a website, icreatables, that sells shed plans including plans that are designed with the intent to be offices. $15 later I could envision my modern shed in my mind and I had the building plans and the materials list in my hand. A friend who has experience building things and I brought the materials list into the pro desk at Home Depot, they itemized everything, I paid, and all the lumber and building materials were delivered to our backyard the very next day.

We had tons of help from friends, family, and a few contractors building the Shoffice. It was quite an undertaking… it’s built like a little house, with a pressure treated foundation, floor joists and wall studs spaced according to code, hurricane clips for the roof (gotta love sunny Florida!), insulation, drywall, and laminate wood flooring. It also has all the comfort and convenience I need for working from it, like custom energy efficient windows, a full pane door with blinds & a key pad (so I don't have to bring my keys with me), LED lights in the ceiling, an air conditioner and it’s wired for Ethernet connections, electric, and phone. It even has a little front porch with a porch light. Although we joked about it, I am pretty sure it really is built stronger than our 50 year old house.

I’m totally in love with The Shoffice! It’s so nice to have a distraction free space all to myself. I’ve also had fun catching glimpses of the wild life in our backyard. Being this “connected” to the outside world is remarkably different than the windowless cubicles in the middle of a giant office building that I was accustom to!

In my next post I’ll invite you inside… I can’t wait to show you how I decorated!



Muffin said...

So, I too, work from home, I'm a freelance designer. I'm just curious how much this ended up costing you. I wonder if this would be a good solution for me as well. I love your little work space! It feels so fresh and fun!

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