Last fall we were approached by a woman who was interested in building a cottage in her son's back yard in St. Petersburg. We looked through the local zoning regulations and found that the property allowed for Accessory Living Units (ALUs), but not Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). The difference between the two in St. Petersburg zoning was that she could build a cottage, but would not be allowed to have a full kitchen with an oven. Other areas of St. Petersburg, mostly in the historic neighborhoods closer to downtown, do allow full cottages with full kitchens (ADUs).
When considering a secondary dwelling behind an existing home (carriage house, in law suite, granny pod, guest cottage, rental cottage, etc.), always check local zoning regulations first as it will tell you if you can build an accessory dwelling unit, if it can have a kitchen, where it can placed (setbacks), and if there are any size limitations. Most communities have their zoning regulations available online at: https://library.municode.com/fl and offer a myriad of information on what can be built where.
For this project, we adapted our 14'x16' Starlet Cottage plan for our customer's use, turning the kitchenette area into a walk-in closet and adding a roof extension over the front door to create a porch seating area. The end result is a comfortable and nicely appointed cottage. See details here, although the closet and bath ultimately were reversed: Starlet Cottage Plan In addition to meeting the zoning requirements, the cottage meets all Florida Building Codes and is legal for full time living.
Historic Shed now offer the Starlet Cottage as a shell-only package with all required architectural plans: https://historicshed.com/cottage-packages/
The shed that gets the most "oohs" and "aahs" when we are out at shows is definitely the Snack Shack we built in Palm Harbor a few years ago. Painted in fun colors, it conjures up sunny days with umbrella adorned drinks in hand. With our latest Coastal Breeze Snack Shack, I think we have another ideal tropical back yard, and this one is available as a vacation rental.
We are often asked if we can provide just a building shell that the owner can then finish out on their own. The answer is, of course, "Yes!" We don't often get to see the end results, but one of our historic homeowner customers recently sent us some photos showing how wonderful his new space is.
Several years ago I was contacted by a woman who was in the process of buying a house in the historic Gillespie Park neighborhood in Sarasota. The 1920s house came with a detached garage in not-so-great shape, placed awkwardly in the middle of the yard and she wanted to replace it. Then she had a few big life changes, including moving out of the country, and the plans for the garage were put on hold. When she called back last year, she no longer wanted to just replace the garage. Instead, since the main house was being used as a vacation rental, they wanted to add a garage apartment that could also be rented out. Historic Shed™ designed a two-story, two car garage apartment with details that complemented the main house with a one bedroom, one bath layout. We also included a large porch for a private sitting area for visitors, accessed by an exterior stair. The cottage is available for rent at: https://www.vrbo.com/811457 So far, it has some rave reviews.
Last year we built a storage shed for a south Tampa customer with a transom over the front door. Recently, he called us again asking if we had ever built a chicken coop since he wanted one that matched his house and shed. Our response was, "No, but we designed a nice one that we had intended as a prototype but haven't gotten around to building." With a few tweaks to the design, he ordered the coop and we set to building.
The chickens had not moved in yet when our installation guys finished, so we will wait to hear how the future inhabitants like their new home. For now, we have to settle for it looking nice in the yard.
Many thanks to the backyardchickens.com website for providing a wealth of knowledge as we designed and built the coop.
One of our customer favorites is the tropical Snack Shack that we built in Palm Harbor with combination bar and storage shed. The shed design was recently adapted for a narrow site behind a historic Craftsman style home in the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood in Tampa. The resulting shed was 8'x18' version with framing details that complemented the historic home. The shed was approved by the local historic preservation office.
One of the perks of being in the preservation business is seeing all sorts of great historic sites that aren't always available to the public. When we worked primarily as historic preservation consultants under our Preservation Resource, Inc. mantle, we got to crawl in attics and private rooms of house museums, disused hotels, and even airplane hangers. Now, as we focus on making outbuildings for historic neighborhoods, we get to see private homes that aren't open to the public (I never say no when invited inside for a moment). One of the recent highlights was seeing a high-style Craftsman style bungalow in the Old Northeast neighborhood in St. Petersburg that was under rehabilitation.
Known as the Sargent House, 806 18th Avenue NE was recently designated as a historic landmark by its newest owners, Sharon Winters and Kendall Reid. Originally built in 1923 by LeRoy and Marjorie Sargent, the house is significant for its architecture as a rare example of higher-style Craftsman design and construction in the airplane bungalow type. (See the full report at: http://www.stpete.org/committee%20packets/Community%20Planning%20and%20Preservation%20Commission/2016-04-12%20Reports.pdf). A local landmark designation recognizes structures or places that have historic value or that exemplify cultural, economic, or social value to the city, state, or nation. The benefits of this designation include neighborhood stabilization, increased heritage tourism through the maintenance of our historic character, relief from some of the requirements of the Florida Building Code, and an ad valorem tax exemption.
Historic Shed was hired to design and build a small storage shed to be placed behind the house. The simple shed incorporated elements from the house such as the gable detailing, roof pitch, and outrigger design.
Earlier this year we built a custom garage in the historic Lake Lawsona- Ferncreek neighborhood in Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, when the garage was first finished, we didn't get very good photos. Luckily, when we went back in April for the Lake Lawsona Garden Tour, we were able to swing by and see the garage nestled beautifully in the finished yard.
The Lake Lawsona - Ferncreek Garden Tour takes place every other year, alternating annually with the Lake Eola Heights Neighborhood Garden Tour and is well worth attending. This year, we were given booth space near H. H. Dickson Azalea Park, which is a phenomenal historic natural landscape park comprised of a ravine down the middle of the neighborhood. It is a great asset that complements the lovely 1920s homes that make up the neighborhood.
Some home details are just so lovely they just have to be replicated. For this 10'x12' shed that Historic Shed built in the historic Duckpond Neighborhood in Gainesville, Florida, the eave brackets and unique gable vents were replicated to create a one of a kind shed. The result is a main house and shed that harmonize very well. The shed design was reviewed and approved by the local historic preservation office.
Every time we are approached by an artist in need of a studio, we end up with a unique shed design that is worthy of showing off. In this case, a local artist in Citrus County requested a fairly large 14'x16' shed with lots of windows. The design has great balance, is filled with light and looks lovely with a great set of accent French doors. It will serve as a great "She Shed" for the owner.
Historic Shed™ recently completed a lovely flamingo pink shed set by a pool in a well landscaped backyard in Dania Beach. The shed had SmartSide smooth lap siding, cypress trim, 4x4 eave brackets, JeldWen double-hung wood windows, and a pair of French doors.
Last summer we built a shed in the historic Village of Longboat on Longboat Key, which was the talk of the neighborhood according to our customers. The home where the shed was built is the oldest building on the island, built in 1902 and was originally an Inn and Restaurant. The shed we built for them used elements of the main building, including novelty wood siding and a metal roof. It was the first one we built with a transom over the shed doors, which turned out to be a really nice architectural feature.
The shed was set to the rear of the main building, along the side yard with access to the rear alley. It was set far enough from the side property line to allow storage of kayaks and other equipment, so the owners had the concrete pad extended to the side.
The shed had a very steep roof, gable vent that complemented the main house, and a double set of doors that faced the rear alley.
The side of the shed has a central doors flanked by two 6/1 windows. There are also flood vents since the area is located in a flood zone.
About 9 months after completing the shed, we were contacted by a neighbor in Longboat Key who also lived in a historic home. His home was originally the one-room school house for the village, which had been transformed into a residence in the 1950s. He liked the neighbor's shed just the way it was, so asked for something similar, using elements that complemented his home.
The Village of Longboat Key has an interesting history and is worth a walk around if you are heading to the beach in that area (which is definitely worth visiting as well). For a walking tour, see: http://www.longboatkeyhistory.com/tour-route--history.html and http://www.longboatkeyhistory.com/map--details-of-tour-route.html. As you walk around, keep an eye out for the roaming peacocks, which add a nice eccentric touch to the area.
We were approached by someone in the historic Duckpond neighborhood in Gainesville looking to add an accessory cottage in her back yard. After some design iterations, we ended up building a 16'x20' version of our Starlet cottage with elements that complemented her historic home. The design was approved by the Gainesville Preservation Board.
What do you do with a recessed planter at your house? Aside from growing some measly flowers, you might consider scrapping the planter and add some attractive storage.
The owners' response after the shed was complete: "It looks fantastic...it's looks like it was part of the original house ... Love it!... "
Historic Shed recently completed this new heavy timber pool pavilion with exposed rafters set on a concrete pad, with a 5-V Crimp metal roof. Set in a new neighborhood in Florida, the shelter will provide much-needed shaded seating near the pool. The owner is having the area professionally landscaped and we hope to show off finished photos of the yard when it is complete.