• 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.

  • 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/

  • This is the slideshow created for a talk I did at the 2017 Historic Homes Workshop in Tampa. The subject was designing a modern kitchen for historic homes, with an emphasis on 1920s era inspired kitchens as that is the time period reflected in many Florida neighborhoods. The slideshow is missing my witty commentary, but the images should still be interesting.

  • 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.    

  • 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.

  • Historic Shed Vent detail

    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.

  • 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.