News and Updates

  • Like our fellow Florida residents, we have been extra busy and anxious regarding Hurricane Irma for the past couple of weeks. With images from Hurricane Harvey's impacts in Texas fresh in our minds, and constant news of the large size and tremendous wind speed of Irma, we were glued to the weather forecasts showing it heading up the east coast, or the middle of the state, or to our Gulf coast side, and being told it was going to impact us no matter where it hit Florida. The only questions in our minds were whether we expected three or twelve shingles to remain on our roof, and ankle deep or thigh deep flooding. Along with constantly checking the forecast, first there was prepping our existing jobs for the impending storm (we currently have a large shingle-sided shed installation, a garage apartment and a historic renovation in Brooksville going on), then cleaning up our shop and boarding our home, which is located within a flood zone and ended up under mandatory evacuation orders, which we heeded. The Historic Shed shop turned into too big of a project to prepare the way we'd like for the storm which has been a big lesson for us for future threats. We've nearly outgrown the shop building we've been in since 2007 and so we've had to store materials and equipment outside the main metal building. We have been building entire sheds outside under the front covered area and space is at a premium. Clean up pre-storm required removing a lot of cut-offs from siding to roof panels - things can really accumulate when you don't stay on top of it - and trying to fit all the things that had moved outside the building back inside. Since school was cancelled for hurricane days, we even made our kids help get things ready. We made great progress, but weren't as confident as we would have liked prior to the storm's arrival that things would say put in the projected high winds. Luckily, Hurricane Irma dropped to a Category 2 or even a 1 by the time it reached us here in Brooksville and we suffered no serious damage at our location and no items blew away (however, the City of Brooksville had lots of downed trees). The biggest hurdle has been not having any electricity at the shop since the storm, which makes it impossible to get much done in this age of power tools and internet communication, but it has also given us time to do necessary clean-up at the shop and at home. I think people with no AC and water in their homes are a bit more important than our shop anyway, so we have no problem being patient. The display shed we keep out in front of the shop came through with flying colors and we have heard from several of our customers who have let us know that their sheds, garages, and cottages had no damage as well. We know that at least three cottages were occupied throughout the storm, each located in diverse areas of the state. The one exception was from an owner whose shed we installed just this summer on Anna Maria Island who sent a photo of a 2" wide stick that penetrated his roof. It's seeing things like this that make you realize the force of the winds during the storm. We very much hope that each and every one of you impacted by the storm are safe and have had minimal damage. And that you have recovered from the anxiety as well.

  • It seems like you can't look at social media sites lately without seeing something about She Sheds, or accessory buildings designed for women to gather, create, relax, or escape for some solitude. Even the Today Show had a segment the other day about these accessory buildings designed as refuges for women. In our case, we have been asked to build She Shed type sheds for many uses, from artist studios to entertaining spaces. The buildings have been varied, the designs fun, and the women we've met have been incredibly interesting. "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou Here's some examples: https://historicshed.com/mid-century-modern-shed/ https://historicshed.com/artists-shed-in-citrus-county/ https://historicshed.com/sarasota-artist-studio-shed/ https://historicshed.com/a-sunny-artist-studio-shed/ https://historicshed.com/studio-shed-in-st-petersburg/ https://historicshed.com/lake-eola-heights-shed/

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • I got a little over-excited about the 2016 Florida Tiny House Festival and applied to speak on two topics. Surprisingly, both were accepted, leading me to a little extra stress as I prepared for our weekend in Elkton, FL. I both love and hate speaking in front of groups, as I imagine a lot of people feel. Saturday afternoon I was scheduled to speak on Tiny Houses & Historic Districts, but unfortunately the location for my talk wasn't conducive to a Power Point presentation. After a little confusion, speaker Brian Kennedy and I were able to switch locations and we progressed just fine. Below is the presentation that I used for the talk. You can also see the presentation for my Codes & Tiny Houses talk on Sunday morning. Feel free to email or comment below with any questions.