• 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.    

  • Over the last few months, Historic Shed has been slowly adding products that complement our outbuildings in a new online store. Some of the products we have been using for quite some time on our buildings, like Abbey Trading's Heavy Duty Hinges, and others we have discovered through searches for our customers. I will be posting info about some of the other products in future posts, but today I want to write about something we are really excited to offer: a DIY Mini-Split HVAC system. When we design home offices, artists studios and cottages for customers, we are always asked about AC systems. In the past, we typically told them that a window/wall unit AC would be adequate to cool the space although they can be noisy and not always very energy efficient. Units in the $600-800 range are often large enough for many of the finished interior type buildings, but require that a hole be cut in the building wall or they take up precious window space. The other option we would mention is a ductless HVAC system, also know as a Mini-Split. The units are quieter, more efficient, and have a smaller, sleeker design that have minimal wall penetration; however, the price tag quoted was typically $3,000 or more from HVAC contractors for the unit plus installation. In spite of the cost, many of our customers opted for this system. Mini-Split systems consist of two main parts: a condenser unit that is located outside and an evaporator unit that mounts on the wall inside the building. The units do not require any ductwork and are either hardwired or plugged into a standard 120 outlet. Some systems can be used in multiple rooms, with one condenser serving up to 4 evaporator units, known as a multi-zone system. More typically, they serve a single open space, suited for many of our Historic Shed designs. About 6 months ago, we chanced upon a website touting a Mini-Split HVAC system by ClimateRight that claimed that anyone could install it. Curious, we read further and learned that the difference was that the system line-set came pre-charged and had an easy connection system that snaps right into the compressor. Since charging the system and making the condenser/ evaporator connection is the part of the installation that requires an HVAC technician, we were intrigued. Adding to the desirability was a low price of only $899 for the unit. Adding to the entertainment value, the company also makes AC units for doghouses. As it happens, we have a downstairs room in our house that is not connected to the main central AC system. We installed a wall unit AC about 8 years ago that was increasingly noisy, left the room feeling damp, had mildew growing in the filter and generally was just not up to the task of cooling the room anymore. We decided that the ClimateRight Mini-Split AC was perfect for a trial installation, although the room is a little bit larger volume (due to high ceilings) than the system is recommended for. After ordering, the unit sat in the box for a week or so before I got a call from Craig saying that he and Max, our 15 year old son, were installing the AC. I asked Max to take photos as they went since I wanted to document the process, but to no avail. This is what I came home to and the subsequent process: The whole family gathered around when we first turned the AC unit on and oohed and aahed. It is operated by a remote control and it cycled up just the way it was supposed to. It was worlds quieter than the wall unit and pretty soon we noticed that the room was much drier than it had been when the other unit was on. It's now been up for a couple of months and we leave it on all the time as it has a thermostat that . We have absolutely no problems with the unit, although we have not had to try the heat yet. The unit fan does stay on all the time, but since it is pretty quiet, it is actually less noticeable than if it cycled on and off. Since the ClimateRight Mini-Split DIY AC has passed our test for both installation ease and function, we now are pleased to offer it and 3 portable HVAC units also by ClimateRight that are suited to our Historic Shed projects. The first customer that purchased one and installed it themselves had this to say: "We installed it! Super easy. Idiot proof really and it works great!!! Thank you :) " Things to know: The ClimateRight Mini-Split system is designed for between 150 to 550 square feet (up to 4,000 cubic feet maximum). The system will automatically adjust to the requirements of your space size. It is a single zone system, so if you have multiple rooms that need to be cooled, it may not be right for you The system is portable, meaning you can disconnect it and reinstall it elsewhere if need be. 1200 BTU Cooling/ 14000 BTU Heating, 15 SEER Good for Home Offices, Studios, Cabins and Cottages, Tiny Houses or rooms where ductwork can't be installed easily There is FREE SHIPPING on any orders right now Historic Shed offers installation of any of the HVAC units we sell for any of our buildings if you aren't feeling very DIYish More information and specifications on the units can be found at: https://historicshed.com/store-4/hvac/ Some examples of Mini-Split AC units that have been installed in Historic Shed projects (various brands):  

  • 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.

  • Cottage/ Tiny House by Historic Shed Florida

    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.

  • A few months ago, we were contacted by an artist who has a 1950s Mid Century Modern style home in Tampa who wanted a studio that would complement her home. The Historic Shed™ MiMo shed was adapted to meet her needs and to match elements from her home.  

  • 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.

  • We have found that Florida artists love our Historic Shed outbuildings for studios. Inspired by the Sunny Artist Studio Shed, an artist in Sarasota contacted us to build a similarly styled shed for their back yard painting studio. Double French doors at the end of the new path make for an inviting studio full of light and fresh air. (Photo courtesy of the owner)

  • When a local artist called Historic Shed for her new art studio, she knew exactly what she wanted. She'd been saving our ad from a magazine for several years and had sketched up all her ideas in her notebook. We built her a 12' x 12'  shed with paired French doors on three sides. A 4' roof extension on the front is supported by large brackets, providing shelter for her doors and a seating area. The shed has a metal roof and cypress siding. A flash back to construction below: the exterior shell took 3 days to put up. After the electrical and AC unit was installed, Historic Shed finished out the shed interior with drywall and cypress trim. The roof framing and sheathing was left exposed for and open look. The shed exterior nearing completion

  • The City of Ormond Beach, Florida proudly titles itself the "Birthplace of Speed" with a long history of auto racing that started in 1902 on the hard packed beach sand when automobiles were new and existing roads were poor. After the Winton Bullet won a Challenge Cup against the Olds Pirate by a breathtaking two-tenths of a second in 1903, Ormond Beach established itself as the ideal proving ground for automobile designers and racing aficionados from around the world. Motorcycle and automobile owners and drivers brought vehicles powered by gasoline, steam and electric engines, sometimes cruising at over 100 miles per hour along the ocean side. You can see actual race footage on the beach from 1905 on YouTube at Ormond Beach Florida Auto Races. While autos may still drive along the beach, beach racing is now only commemorated at Birthplace of Speed Park, located on A1A at the intersection of SR40. The park has a series of markers telling the story of racing and provide wonderful views of the ocean. The park used to showcase two replicas of the two history-changing racers, the Winton Bullet and the Olds Pirate, but the ocean climate made maintaining the cars difficult and they were removed for repairs. Members of the Motor Racing Heritage Association decided that it would be ideal to bring back another piece of Ormond Beach racing history and place it in the park to protect the replica cars. The Ormond Garage was built in 1904 by Henry Flagler, railroad magnate and owner of the Ormond Hotel, to accommodate participating race cars during the beach races (and to keep them away from the front of his hotel). The large garage housed the drivers and mechanics during the speed time trials, while the owners and manufacturers stayed at the hotel. While much larger than could be accommodated within the park, the old garage was to serve as design inspiration for a new structure to house and protect the replica race cars in Birthplace of Speed Park. The Motor Racing Heritage Association began fund raising in order to build the garage, and came to Historic Shed to discuss the project. After a few design iterations to make the project more affordable, and a couple of years of fund raising, the project was officially launched at the end of 2012. Last week, the interior was completed and the first of the replica cars will move in shortly.     This very fun project would not have been the same without Suzanne Heddy, Director of the Ormond Beach Historical Society and Motor Racing Heritage Association Treasurer; Ron Piasecki, President of the Motor Racing Heritage Association, Inc.; and Dan Smith, Hometown News writer and  Motor Racing Heritage Association's  "Go To Guy" and the numerous other racing history fans in the area. We offer so many thanks for their direction, entertainment and support! Some more info on the garage project and racing history can be found at these links: A tribute to the famous Ormond Garage 1904-1976 Ormond Garage replica going up in Speed Park City’s heritage on display with new replica garage Green shed marks auto racing's starting line The History of Speed in Ormond Beach Motor Racing Heritage Association Ormond Beach Historical Society