Building a Shed Office: The Design Concept

I’ve always wanted to have the opportunity to build a structure from the ground up. In the past few months, the wife and I have decided that a garden “office” was something that we wanted to have in our back yard as part of our larger plan to convert our back yard into a working farm and living space. So, I got to put on my “wannabe Architect” hat and came up with this as the design:


Yes, it’s small. Yes, it’s got a pronounced roof line. No, it does not match the Architecture of our house. Yes, it will eventually become my “home office”.

Shedworking“, as it’s come to be known in the UK, isn’t a new concept. It seems like in the past few years, it’s been starting to gain traction here in the US as well. As more and more of us work from home (thanks to our pal, The Internet), the need for having a space that we can use to separate our work from our home life becomes increasingly important.

In designing the shed, I considered many elements that influenced my design. Here’s a short list:

  1. Cost – While I would love to build this thing out of premium building materials, put wheels on it and equip it with solar panels – it’s not in the budget. The great thing about building a smaller space is that you don’t need a ton of materials.
  2. Efficiency – In Oregon, it’s wet most of the year and the temperatures are mild. Small buildings do not require anywhere near the heating and cooling capacities of their larger brethren. In fact, by my estimate, the heat generated from my laptop and the clerestory windows (which face South) will be enough to heat the entire thing during the majority of the year.
  3. Re-Use – The door and double hung window are salvaged. The door came from a neighbor who was throwing out a perfectly good, old solid wood door (and jamb!) The window was purchased at the Rebuilding Center for $20!
  4. Small Back Yard – Our yard measures 40×40′ from the edge of the fence to the edge of the house. That means in order to have a functional farm, we can’t go crazy on the shed size.
  5. Site Plan – The shed had to fit into the overall plan for the back yard, too. Ultimately, it must not look out of place.
  6. Modern Architecture – I love modern/cubist structures. This is about as close as I can get to my dream of working in a modern structure. My home is decidedly Craftsman style, which is great. But to do really cool stuff with buildings, you have to go modern.

As we build the shed, I will be posting progress photos and little details of the build here on my website. My hope is that others can stumble across these posts and use them as a guide for building their own shed office.







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