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/
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.
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.
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.
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.
Historic Shed was contacted by an artist in Ormond Beach, Florida to design and build a unique shed to be used as an art studio. The studio shed incorporates a salvaged wood door with sidelights, a dutch door and lots of windows. To top it off, it has a fun color scheme, perfect for the beach location.
Historic Shed recently built a 12'x16' board and batten shed along the shore of lovely Lake Griffin in Fruitland Park, FL. The shed will serve as a bunkhouse for guests.
Our ten-year old son made this video for us. We're rather proud!
Historic homes have plenty of charm and character, but are often short on space. This is especially true when company arrives. Ybor City resident Judy Greer has found an affordable solution to that problem: she is installing a guest cottage behind her home. Designed and built by Historic Shed, a Brooksville-based outbuilding specialty company, the cottage complements her historic home and adds to the neighborhood character. The cottage has a bedroom and full bath, and is roughly the size of a typical hotel room.
Construction of a detached building was a less expensive alternative to building an addition to her home. Moreover, there was no construction inconvenience since all the work took place in her back yard, without disturbing her house. “My guests will be comfortable and I’ll keep my privacy,” say Ms. Greer. “It’s the perfect set-up. My neighbor is considering something similar for her mother-in law.”
Historic Shed designs and builds outbuildings for historic homes, from simple garden sheds, to garages, to cottages like Ms. Greer’s. The custom designs incorporate architectural elements from existing historic homes and use traditional materials and detailing. Historic preservation consultant, Jo-Anne Peck and her contractor husband, Craig DeRoin began building Historic Shed outbuildings in 2008 to fill a void in the market for historic homeowners. “Many historic homeowners don’t want a stock metal or vinyl shed in their backyard, and in many cases they are actually prohibited by local historic district design guidelines,” says Ms. Peck. “We also get many calls from owners of newer homes who just want an attractive backyard building.”
Each Historic Shed outbuilding is constructed in a warehouse, broken back down into individual walls and roof for delivery, and then reassembled on site. Installation typically takes 2-3 days for garden sheds and two or more weeks for a more complex structure such as the cottage due to coordination with electrical and plumbing contractors. For more information, see the website at HistoricShed.com.