• 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

  • More than a few years ago (2011 to be exact), I wrote a post about historic detached carports and included some designs of our own that we thought would be fun to build and useful in a variety of situations. Like many of my random design exercises, none of the sketches were built, until now. And I must say that it looks even better in real life than in my head. A customer in the oldest city in the US, St. Augustine contacted us and was interested in replacing a rather rickety open garage behind her new-to-her 1920s bungalow. We started with some garage designs, but didn't find the right solution until we dusted off the carport/ shed sketches and found something that fit both the site and the customer's needs. We are now offering plans for the Carport Shed for sale online for the DIYer or those not located in Florida: Carport Shed Construction Plans

  • This is the slideshow created for a talk I did at the 2017 Historic Homes Workshop in Tampa. The subject was designing a modern kitchen for historic homes, with an emphasis on 1920s era inspired kitchens as that is the time period reflected in many Florida neighborhoods. The slideshow is missing my witty commentary, but the images should still be interesting.

  • 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.    

  • I got a little over-excited about the 2016 Florida Tiny House Festival and applied to speak on two topics. Surprisingly, both were accepted, leading me to a little extra stress as I prepared for our weekend in Elkton, FL. I both love and hate speaking in front of groups, as I imagine a lot of people feel. Saturday afternoon I was scheduled to speak on Tiny Houses & Historic Districts, but unfortunately the location for my talk wasn't conducive to a Power Point presentation. After a little confusion, speaker Brian Kennedy and I were able to switch locations and we progressed just fine. Below is the presentation that I used for the talk. You can also see the presentation for my Codes & Tiny Houses talk on Sunday morning. Feel free to email or comment below with any questions.

  • One of our customer favorites is the tropical Snack Shack that we built in Palm Harbor with combination bar and storage shed. The shed design was recently adapted for a narrow site behind a historic Craftsman style home in the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood in Tampa. The resulting shed was 8'x18' version with framing details that complemented the historic home. The shed was approved by the local historic preservation office.

  • One of the perks of being in the preservation business is seeing all sorts of great historic sites that aren't always available to the public. When we worked primarily as historic preservation consultants under our Preservation Resource, Inc. mantle, we got to crawl in attics and private rooms of house museums, disused hotels, and even airplane hangers. Now, as we focus on making outbuildings for historic neighborhoods, we get to see private homes that aren't open to the public (I never say no when invited inside for a moment). One of the recent highlights was seeing a high-style Craftsman style bungalow in the Old Northeast neighborhood in St. Petersburg that was under rehabilitation. Known as the Sargent House, 806 18th Avenue NE was recently designated as a historic landmark by its newest owners, Sharon Winters and Kendall Reid. Originally built in 1923 by LeRoy and Marjorie Sargent, the house is significant for its architecture as a rare example of higher-style Craftsman design and construction in the airplane bungalow type. (See the full report at: http://www.stpete.org/committee%20packets/Community%20Planning%20and%20Preservation%20Commission/2016-04-12%20Reports.pdf). A local landmark designation recognizes structures or places that have historic value or that exemplify cultural, economic, or social value to the city, state, or nation. The benefits of this designation include neighborhood stabilization, increased heritage tourism through the maintenance of our historic character, relief from some of the requirements of the Florida Building Code, and an ad valorem tax exemption. Historic Shed was hired to design and build a small storage shed to be placed behind the house. The simple shed incorporated elements from the house such as the gable detailing, roof pitch, and outrigger design.

  • Craftsman Bungalow Garage Orlando

    Earlier this year we built a custom garage in the historic Lake Lawsona- Ferncreek neighborhood in Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, when the garage was first finished, we didn't get very good photos. Luckily, when we went back in April for the Lake Lawsona Garden Tour, we were able to swing by and see the garage nestled beautifully in the finished yard. The Lake Lawsona - Ferncreek Garden Tour takes place every other year, alternating annually with the Lake Eola Heights Neighborhood Garden Tour and is well worth attending. This year, we were given booth space near H. H. Dickson Azalea Park, which is a phenomenal historic natural landscape park comprised of a ravine down the middle of the neighborhood. It is a great asset that complements the lovely 1920s homes that make up the neighborhood.

  • Historic Shed Vent detail

    Some home details are just so lovely they just have to be replicated. For this 10'x12' shed that Historic Shed built in the historic Duckpond Neighborhood in Gainesville, Florida, the eave brackets and unique gable vents were replicated to create a one of a kind shed. The result is a main house and shed that harmonize very well. The shed design was reviewed and approved by the local historic preservation office.