• 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.    

  • Historic Shed was contacted by a couple who live in the Hyde Park historic district in Tampa to design a garage and guest room for a very unusual lot. Triangular in shape, their small lot was just over 4,500 sf and contained a lovely one-story Craftsman bungalow with less than 1,000 sf. The atypical lot was further constrained by a large protected oak tree on the site, and one on a neighbor's lot, just over the property line. With Tampa's strong tree protection ordinances, this left little space to build. Building up was the only real option to maximize the remaining lot space. After tweaking the design to fit the lot and meeting with Tampa's Historic Preservation Office and Forestry Department, the resulting project created a 12'x20' one-car garage with apartment above. A 6'x8' one-story shed allowed additional storage while accommodating the lot's shape and giving a visual step down from the two-story volume to the street. The stairs were placed at the rear of the building for privacy with an exterior design that allowed them to encroach within the required oak tree setback. The garage design itself took its cues from the main house which had a low-sloped front-gable roof and very wide eaves. Walls were clad in lap siding and an existing skirt board was inspiration for a belt course on the new building. The new outbuilding was kept simpler in architectural detail, but clearly complementing the main residence. See more about the Two-story Garage-apartment options. A two-car version is in the works as well.

  • Historic preservation is an established part of city planning in many Florida communities. This often includes the designation of individual buildings as well as entire neighborhoods (historic districts) as historically significant and thus worthy of preservation. Improvements to designated properties are typically subject to review by city historic preservation design review boards who rely on both The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and locally established Design Guidelines.Design Guidelines convey general policies about the design of alterations to existing structures, additions, new construction and site work by helping to establish a common understanding of preservation design principles and standards acceptable within a particular area. They serve as a useful starting point when planning any renovation or restoration project, but allow for a variety of design responses. Many Design Guidelines provide standards for the preservation and new construction of sheds, garages and other accessory type buildings. Typical recommendations for outbuildings may look like this:OUTBUILDINGS Many building in the historic districts have existing historic outbuilding at the rear of the property that were designed to match the primary building in their styles, colors, and materials. These building are considered historic in their own right, and should be retained and repaired whenever possible. The construction of new garages and outbuildings is acceptable, but they should be sited at the rear of the property where they will have the least impact on the primary structure. New outbuilding should be sited at the rear of the property, away from the primary facades, or near a rear alley.The design of new outbuilding should be compatible with the primary structure in its proportions, roof form, and exterior materials. Traditional materials and details should be used if possible.They should be smaller in scale than the primary structure.Garage doors should compatible in style and materials if possible. Hinged wood panel carriage doors and wood paneled overhead doors with glazed lights are more appropriate than solid metal or metal paneled units.The colors of the new outbuilding should be compatible with the colors of the primary structure.The design professionals at Historic Shed have written Design Guidelines for several Florida historic districts. We have also presented our restoration, renovation and new construction plans to historic preservation design review boards throughout Florida. We will work with local preservation staff and board to ensure that your garden shed or garage meets the Design Guideline criteria for you community.Article written by Jo-Anne Peck