September 02, 2006
Guest House Shed on a Budget
Can you live in a shed?
These are different times, of course, but shed living worked famously for Thoreau.
A reader wrote in looking for ideas on building a guest house shed in her mother's backyard. She would like something cute and at a reasonable price. With a little thought and the right shed design, cute is possible on any budget. A reasonable price, however, is a matter of perspective. There are degrees to the interpretation of rustic. Barring log cabin walls, insulation is a requirement (not an option), in most parts of the country. And once you insulate, you have to finish.
It seems that there's a trend afoot to use backyard sheds as extra living space.
Can it really be done?
Absolutely! It's all a matter of how much you have to spend and what's allowable in your municipality.
This new trend in high-end sheds requires a considerable application of the green stuff. If you want to add a properly appointed, yet diminutive guest house to your property, you'll need to have access to sufficient funds.
Truth be told, there's a quite a bit that separates the average shed from everyday living space. Once you've built the basic structure, it's a matter of insulation, interior finishing, utilities, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
While you might be able to close in an 8' x 12' shed on skids for under a thousand bucks, it could easily cost five times that to finish it off into living space, and that's without any plumbing.