• I have a confession to make: I can’t draw. At least I can’t draw architecture by hand. I can’t sketch out lovely elevations and I certainly can’t sketch perspectives from my head like real architects. I never fully developed the skill in architecture school, then went on to grad school where I studied preservation. At that point, and for most of my career after, I didn’t need to hand draw designs in order to work on historic buildings; I had to measure what was existing, enter it into CAD, then work on space planning from there. I’ve gotten good at it, and good at adding architectural details that have gone missing, all in hard lined 2-D CAD. Similarly, I have had no problem designing directly in CAD for our sheds, garage and cottages since the footprint is limited by our build/ delivery constraints and I can space plan in plan much in the way I worked on historic home remodels prior to starting Historic Shed. And boxes aren't all that hard to visualize. That said, I have always looked wistfully at nicely rendered drawings in 3-D, hand sketched or drawn in computer modeling programs. I, however, have always drawn/designed in 2-D AutoCad which doesn’t allow you to create those nice images (CAD programs were fairly new when I attended school in the late 80s, early 90s). I am very good at AutoCad (I even taught it at a tech college years ago) and can create good construction drawings in fairly quick time, but AutoCad is limited to 2-D and can be hard for people to visualize when you are showing them how their cottage will be laid out. I’ve been struggling with this for years. I pride myself on being pretty computer literate (although I will say I’ve gotten lazy since I have a teenage son that I can turn to for IT) so have spent a lot of time exploring various options to create 3-D renderings, convinced I can learn a new system. I tried SketchUp in the early years, and then again at various intervals, but found it didn’t work with my CAD-trained brain. I tried several other programs, all with similar results: tried them for a couple of days, got frustrated, and then went back to my comfort zone pumping out AutoCad drawings. One of these trials was Revit, which I had bought as part of a package deal with my last AutoCad update (2015). I tried it at the time, then let it sit on my computer unused for several years. About four months ago I decided that I was going to put the time and effort in and learn Revit once and for all. So I watched training videos and I followed step by step hands-on training every evening for months. In the end, I could draw a basic building, but found it difficult to draw certain items that are standard to our Historic Shed designs, such as exposed rafter tails. When, after months of seriously trying, I found my 3-D images constrained by the computer program and the steep uphill learning curve, I starting looking around again. This time I re-stumbled upon SoftPlan, a residential design program that I had purchased years before, but which wasn’t really right for the work I had been involved in at the time (a project that involved relocating and renovating 33 historic buildings). Now that I was working on new construction residential projects 90% of the time, it seemed worth trying out again. I downloaded the trial, starting playing around and found that it didn’t have the issues I had run into before with other programs. So I bought the online subscription upgrade. I have now been at it most evenings for about a month, received some free training from the company, and am feeling very confident that I will soon be turning out 3-D drawings, along with construction drawings, that will work for us. At some point, I may find it's not everything I need, but for now, I am very pleased at how quickly I have been learning it and by the powerful built in framing and materials take off tools. Here are some of my attempts at drawing our Ponce model, one of my favorite floor plans. They still have a ways to go, but I definitely see potential! Look for some new designs in full 3-D soon. Ponce model floor plan, 3-D model, and interior

  • Historic Shed recently was able to put its mark on our own Hernando County by building a new 8'x8' parking attendant shed for the Pine Island Beach Park. While Hernando County is located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, there are few public beaches, with Pine Island Park offering the only sandy Gulf beach. Therefore our little shack will be seen by many residents and visitors to Hernando County, particularly as Florida winter weather attracts northerners in the next couple of months. The island history is important in Hernando County history and some interesting background on the island and surrounding area can be read here in the Hernando Sun.   The small shed was placed on a concrete slab and the interior will be finished out by the county. The layout allows the parking attendant to take in the parking fee, while enjoying  cool air from a ClimateRight 5000 BTU unit. The vibrant colors were chosen by County staff, who clearly had a really good time making their choices. The colors will compliment a new fence and playground equipment that are part of the overall park upgrades.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Being the visually-oriented people that we are here at Historic Shed, we love the idea saving website Pinterest! We use it to collect ideas for all sorts of things, from sheds to garages to cottage floor plans, and even for recipes and crafts. (You can find all our collections here.) One of of favorite things is to find clever ways to decorate sheds. We've found Lego garden art, wall hangings made from tools and hoses, lovely murals, living wall gardens, and so much more. So far, we have over 100 fun ideas collected, and will continue to add  I have to admit we've tried very few ourselves. Hopefully you can benefit from some of the images and find inspiration to make your garden shed the delightful focus of your yard. Click on the image title below to see what we have so far: Follow Historic Shed's board Shed Decorating on Pinterest.

  • Historic Shed of Brooksville, FL has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for both Design & Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The custom outbuilding design build company was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals. The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community. “We are honored to be selected for the Design Award since it demonstrates the popular appeal of our traditional design products,” responded Historic Shed Vice-President, Craig DeRoin when asked about receiving the award. "Winning the Service Award shows that our dedication to customer service is paying off. I couldn't be more pleased." “Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Historic Shed among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.” Historic Shed won a Best of Design Award in 2014 and a Best of Customer Satisfaction in 2013. Follow Historic Shed on Houzz

  • As we enter into 2015, it's good to take a look back at 2014 and see if the time was well spent. For us, it was not our best year as we misread some personalities on a job outside of Historic Shed. I won't go into detail, but it is sufficient to say that we had to hire a lawyer to pursue legal action as a result, and have had a lean couple of months financially. We will have to see how this plays out in 2015, but mentally we have moved forward and are focused on making 2015 a better year for Historic Shed, and on nothing but Historic Shed. From a personal side, I have to say that I met my personal goal in 2014 to get more in touch with my crafty side. Spawned by some friends who introduced me to scrapbooking (which didn't take, but did get my creative side reignited), and by Pinterest and HomeTalk, I vowed to focus my left side brain cells on more than just sheds and cottages. I thought it would be good for me to reflect on some of the good that came out of 2014 from the personal side of my life, to balance out the bad. So now I am going to post some of my crafty attempts, in spite of the possibility of extreme ridicule. The photos are of my actual end product, but links to the original inspiration from the web is provided wherever possible below so you can see what they were supposed to look like. Nautical Rope Chandelier - We built a stair addition on the front of our house a few years ago, but have not managed to finish it out completely. This past year, Craig put the salvaged wood ceiling in and drywalled and painted the walls. We had a single bulb hanging from the ceiling, which did not light the stairs up sufficiently and did nothing to enhance the space. I had spent some serious time searching for the right chandelier, but anything I liked was out of our budget. When I saw this DIY rope chandelier, I immediately knew if would be perfect (and affordable) to hang in our stairway. I spent $7 on an ugly chandelier at a thrift store, bought $16 worth of rope (2 sizes) and got out my hot glue gun. I burned my fingers multiple times and it took longer than expected to wrap the entire chandelier, but I am pretty pleased at the end result, even though it doesn't really look like the original chandelier that inspired me. The sign on the wall is a result of project #3 on this list. Garden Jar Accents - When I saw this garden accent project, I figured it would be a good craft to do with the kids, and I was right. When we first installed them in the garden in the spring, they looked rather tall and awkward, but by the end of summer, they could barely be seen (there are 2 in the photo below). Basically, you use exterior silicone caulk to glue glass vase stones (from the dollar store) to jars (we used pickle and spaghetti sauce jars). Then you screw the lid onto a stick, pound it into the ground, and screw the jar on. Quick and easy garden accent! Wood Signs - During summer vacation, my son decided he wanted to make wooden cutouts from scrap wood from our sheds to sell and make some cash for computer gear. Since the kids have to come to the Historic Shed shop regularly over the summer, the plan expanded into a major industry that also involved my daughter, creating painted wood signs on scrap shed wood (mostly cypress) as well as the cutouts. Once they had enough signs, we got a booth at a local Greenmarket and the kids were in charge of selling. In spite of the extreme heat, and poor attendance at the market, they made some decent spending money. Of course, they lost interest in making more signs after that, so instead I started making them in my spare time (OK, when I supposed to be doing housework since there is no such thing as spare time). I got enough together and have sold them at the same local greenmarket and a St. Pete event as well. It's not going to be a second career, but it gives me a hobby that doesn't cost much and keeps my mind entertained. Plus I can power watch PBS shows on Netflix and Amazon that no one else in my family is particularly interested in (I am up to date on Downton Abbey, The Paradise, Mr. Selfridge, and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries) while I paint. I do a lot of beachy themed signs, but also some on local history, which I donate to a local history non-profit to sell. Christmas Star Lights - Our neighborhood decided to start a Christmas lighting contest this year. While I knew we were never going to be in the running to win, I figured I should do my part and add a few extra elements to our regular decor. I wasn't overly successful, but I built two of these lit stars to put up. The problem was, I really needed a few more to hang in the palm tree in our front yard the way I had envisioned, but got distracted by other holiday preparations. I will likely make more next year and perhaps my idea will come together properly. I can't find the original post that inspired me, but here's a blog with basically the same thing, although I used scrap wood from our sheds rather than yardsticks:  http://artfulparent.com/2012/12/lighted-wooden-stars-trying-out-a-pinterest-idea.html It did look pretty decent lit up at night, but doesn't do much for daytime decorating. Christmas Pine Cone Craft - For no real reason, except that we have pine trees behind our Historic Shed shop, I tried to recreate this craft I found on Hometalk:  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/42854633925766382/ It's a little anemic, but still works. We'll see what 2015 inspires creatively. I have a bunch of new cottage plans partially developed that I vow to finish and post this year. Ideas I still haven't implemented, including plenty for sheds and cottages, can be seen on our Pinterest Boards at: http://www.pinterest.com/historicshed/ As a side note, I also tried these helpful hints over the past year, which worked really well: Shower and Tub Cleaner using dish soap and vinegar in a dishwashing wand Cheap and Easy Trick for Cleaning a Smooth Stovetop using baking soda and a towel I got my son to cut up a bunch of old toddler hangers to make these Chip Clips since you can never have too many.