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.

Recessed planter
Recessed planters are common features in concrete block homes in Florida, but they rarely allow attractive plantings to grow since they are shaded and sheltered from the rain
A small shed fit nicely into the planter space, under the main roof
A small shed fits nicely into the planter space, under the main roof

The owners' response after the shed was complete: "It looks fantastic...it's looks like it was part of the original house ... Love it!... "

Historic Shed is an offshoot of Preservation Resource, Inc., a historic preservation consulting company. Under the PRI umbrella, we have worked on a variety of historic building projects, including the Tampa Interstate Study project in Ybor City. More recently, we began a project near our Historic Shed shop in Brooksville at the Chinsegut Hill Manor House.

Chinsegut Hill Manor House
The Chinsegut Hill Manor House is set atop one of the highest elevations in Florida.

Settled in the 1840s, the Chinsegut Hill Manor House property has links to many important eras in history including: the initial development of Florida during the pioneer years; the development of a Florida slave plantation and its transformation after the Civil War; the US labor movement including women’s and children’s labor regulations; women’s suffrage; early 1900 literature; the Russian Revolution; the Great Depression and the Civilian Conservation Corp; and the early years of University of South Florida development. Details on its development and history can be found at the Friends of Chinsegut Hill website.

Chinsegut Hill Manor House c. 1910
Historic postcard showing Chinsegut Hill Manor House c. 1910 when owned by Raymond and Margaret Robins, prominent social activists. The house saw many guests during the Robins' ownership, including Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, and Jane Addams.

We began our involvement in the Manor House renovation when a locally formed non-profit, Friends of Chinsegut Hill, managed to convince the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners that the building could and should be saved for public use, and secured grants through the Florida Division of Historical Resources for the planning and stabilization of the building. Through the first grant, PRI was hired to prepare a Historic Structures Report, documenting the building's past development, current condition, and planning for its future.

Investigations of the house revealed some serious foundation issues. PRI, along with a local house moving company, Atlas, LLC, made the necessary foundation repairs. Then the Florida legislature secured $1.5 million in funding for the full rehabilitation of the house. PRI was brought on board as the building contractor.

Chinsegut foundation repair
Chinsegut Hill during foundation repair. The heavy timber framing made supporting the walls difficult during sill replacement.

To kick off the project, we constructed a small shed to hold the project permits and store small tools. The 3'x3' shed was placed near a family cemetery on the property and has architectural elements that complement the main house.

Chinsegut Hill Historic Shed
The shed has a wide overhang and wood shingles.

The renovation work at the house will take many months. Current work is focusing on the building exterior, repairing siding and windows, replacing columns and rebuilding the two story porch where needed. Interior repairs will include lots of plaster work and bringing the existing interior trim back to life.

Chinsegut Hill Manor House Camillas
Beautiful camillas in bloom at the house during renovations.

Two small historic cabins are located near the manor house. Both date from the 1930s when a CCC camp was established on the extensive property. The cabins will hopefully be brought back to life once the main house renovation is complete.

Chinsegut Hill CCC Wash House
A CCC era wash house remains on the Chinsegut Hill property
CCC Cabin at Chinsegut Hill
CCC era cabin on the Chinsegut Hill property.

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.

A narrow storage shed against the house still allows ample passage. It also blocks views of the garbage cans and utilities.
Small storage but easily accessible with wide doors.
This 3'x7' shed features a shed roof with exposed rafter tails, cypress siding and trim, and cypress beadboard doors with heavy duty hinges.
Shed storage access doors
Wide paired doors on the shed allows easy access to the interior.

Historic Shed recently completed the installation of a custom garden shed in the VM Ybor Community Garden. Funded by a community grant from Hillsborough County, the small shed was designed in the Ybor City architectural vernacular; the shed features a gable roof design, lap siding, metal roof and other architectural elements common in the area. Area residents will use the shed to store communal gardening tools to tend the sixteen individual plots to grow vegetables and herbs. The garden plots are available free to area residents to plant as they please.

Small storage shed in Ybor City, Tampa, FL
At 3'x5'-8", this shed makes up for its size with character.

The grant requires that the community members participate in the grant project; residents will paint the shed and install the foundation tie downs.

Custom utility shed

Ybor City garden shed

 

Not all sheds have to be freestanding in the backyard. Side yards can provide much needed storage areas and go from barely used to extremely useful with the proper shed set next to the side of a house. Sheds can range in size from large to small, depending on your storage needs and allowable space.

Custom garden shed
6'x12' Historic Shed garden shed set adjacent to the house, making use of the sideyard for storage.
potting shed
The shed roof design allows the garden shed to be placed adjacent to the house.
Potting shed doors
The bead board doors provide an attractive detail on the shed, enhancing the yard.

Narrower yards may not be able to accommodate a shed quite this large, but you still can usually add some significant storage space. The Historic Shed Thin Storage Shed and Thin Gable Shed fit nicely in tight side yards while still allowing a walkable path. Historic Shed outbuildings and storage units can be customized for nearly any size space.

Side Yard Potting Shed
This narrow storage shed by Historic Shed can add much needed space along the side of a house, even on narrow lots.
Small garden shed
This thin gable roof shed by Historic Shed can be placed in a side yard as well.

For more tight space storage ideas, see the small storage page on our website.

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