• 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

  • What do you do with a recessed planter at your house? Aside from growing some measly flowers, you might consider scrapping the planter and add some attractive storage. The owners' response after the shed was complete: "It looks fantastic...it's looks like it was part of the original house ... Love it!... "

  • 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.

  • The side yard is often where AC units, electrical meters, and garbage cans find refuge, but you can also use the side yard for covered storage, making it useful and attractive. For people with a wide side yard, you can put in a large storage unit like this 6'x12' shed, but even those with a narrow side yard can get a nice bit of storage that looks good.

  • Fancy Windows

    I took a detour on my way through Tampa today and passed by Schiller's Architectural Salvage. Of course, I had to stop - who could resist? They have pretty much everything you need to properly finish out a Historic Shed™ outbuilding, as well components to build it with extra character. Here's some of today's finds: I did also try to stop by to see Steve at his new shop for Wood Window Makeover across the street, but no luck. It just means I have an excuse to stop by again!

  • There is a seemingly endless list of accessory buildings that have been used in conjunction with residences throughout history including carriage houses, barns, tool sheds, potting sheds, detached kitchens, garages, and privies. While the original uses may no longer always be relevant, these often-simple structures can be adapted to serve a multitude of modern uses beyond traditional garden and tool storage including personal home offices, workout rooms, media rooms, pool cabanas and art studios. If you are not lucky enough to already have a historic outbuilding in your yard, you may be considering purchasing a ready-made shed from a home improvement store. However, these T1-11 or vinyl sided sheds are rarely compatible with the style of historic homes and may even be prohibited by local historic preservation design guidelines. For historic homeowners, a custom-designed outbuilding may be the better answer to meet storage and additional space needs, possibly even providing an affordable alternative to building an addition to a home. When planning an outbuilding to complement a historic home, there are several basic design principles to consider: Keep the outbuilding visually subordinate to the main building. This means that the outbuilding should complement the main building, but not overshadow it in size or detail. Make sure the size of the outbuilding will both meet your intended use and look appropriate in your yard. The outbuilding should mimic the overall form of the main building. This is most easily done by using a compatible roof shape, slope, and soffit overhang. Consider the sizes and placement of doors and windows to ensure that you have room to move equipment in and out, have adequate light and ventilation, and allow wall space for shelving or other storage. In addition, consider how the doors and windows will look on the most visible elevations of the building. Duplicate finishes, materials and details from the main building such as siding type, roofing materials, soffit details and window and door type and trim. However, copying elaborate details and columns from the main building should generally be avoided due to the less public, more utilitarian nature of outbuildings. Keep colors of the main building and accessory building compatible. Paint with either the same paint scheme or a complementary palette. Plan the outbuilding location carefully. Make sure the building will not block desirable views (or will block undesirable ones), is not in a flood prone part of the yard, is easily accessible for the intended use, meets local zoning setbacks, and does not interfere with mature trees and landscaping. A carefully designed and placed outbuilding can be a focal point in the yard, providing an attractive backdrop for landscaping as well as meet many uses. For more information about planning an outbuilding, as well as design ideas, go to https://historicshed.com/.