• Every time we are approached by an artist in need of a studio, we end up with a unique shed design that is worthy of showing off. In this case, a local artist in Citrus County requested a fairly large 14'x16' shed with lots of windows. The design has great balance, is filled with light and looks lovely with a great set of accent French doors. It will serve as a great "She Shed" for the owner.

  • There's an open community of bloggers that I've been wistfully following for months. The informal group, called Let's Blog Off, writes on set topics that range from childhood wishes to thumbtacks and everything in between. It's always interesting to see how the participants respond to the topics - all starting at the same place but ending up in sometimes vastly different directions.  This month, the topic is "Privacy", and while there are various takes on the subject, many of the blog posts today have focused on the very contemporary problem of internet privacy. Being a bit more traditional, however, my first thoughts flew to ideas of old-fashioned privacy - having a private place to think and create without distraction or criticism. Growing up, I was always seeking out places to paint, draw, read and think - usually retreating to my bedroom, or even the basement of my parents' house. As I moved off to a noisy college dorm, I had to go to the library or student union - learning to seek privacy in public places. Now that I am married, have children and am a business owner, I no longer have the luxury of much alone time, and find I fill my rare times of solitude catching up on housework or working on the computer instead of the creative pursuits that used to give me peace. I have a whole house, but no place that is solely my own. As the kids grow older and spend more time off with their friends, I expect that I will find time reopening in my life. The problem will be to not let work, and email, and social media suck away the regained moments.  One of the best ways I can think of is to have a private space of my own, sans computer, where I can regain my center. Where this space will be is yet to be determined. Since we are in the shed building business, I covet every full size shed that leaves our shop. I see all the possibilities of each one as a place to get away for some quiet time and have time with my private thoughts. How they are actually used once we leave the shop could be much less romantic, filled with lawn mowers and rakes. We do actually have three of our sheds at our home, but they are small, hiding the garbage cans, storing wood and tools. None are suited to become my own personal space. Perhaps the next one?

  • We received the wonderful image below of a historic shed from Theresa Schretzmann-Myers, the President of the Henry Nehrling Society, Inc. Known as the "Bookshed", the board and batten outbuilding was used by famed Florida horticulturalist Dr. Henry Nehrling at his Palm Cottage estate as a library and office. The "Bookshed" Image from “Henry Nehrling, The Patron Saint of Florida Gardens” by Hedwig Michel Dr. Nehrling was a 31-year-old Wisconsin schoolteacher and naturalist who purchased 40 acres in 1885 in Gotha, Florida, a small community near Orlando. There he established gardens where he could experiment with tropical and subtropical plants year round. By the turn of the century, Dr. Nehrling's extensive Palm Cottage Gardens became a popular destination for thousands of tourists, nature lovers and new Florida settlers. Many prominent people of the era such as Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and David Fairchild, the famous botanical explorer, visited. Eventually consisting of 60 acres, the estate was Florida's first experimental botanical garden where over 3,000 new and rare plants were cultivated and tested. Dr. Henry Nehrling Description of the "Bookshed: In calling distance to his house, away from experimental gardening 'The Bookshed' provided the retreat imperative to Henry Nehrling's scientific turn of mind. Books, magazines, maps, letters, and all the mail delivered to him from far away lands accumulated here. A small one-room pine-walled cabin the bookshed was just what he needed for meditation, a library, a studio where he could check over the results of his experimenting with plantlife, a well-stocked library where he could concentrate to document, sometimes in English, sometimes in German longhand, all his findings. Here the master-engineer had built his own worldwide network to broadcast his research. He left his desk cluttered up with papers, a puzzle to be pieced together in later years. Not before Julian Nally, a New York graduate in archeology, the present owner of the Old Nehrling Place in Gotha, unearthed Nehrling's manuscripts from old trunks stored in the vault of Rollins College in Winter Park, did the puzzle of Henry Nehrling's superior writing and unique research ability shape up. The Patron Saint of Florida Gardens was not a utopian dreamer. He achieved perfection through strenuous physical and mental exertion, and realized his dream to show plant lovers his garden and collection of subtropical and tropical trees and shrubs, through labor of love. - “Henry Nehrling, The Patron Saint of Florida Gardens” by Hedwig Michel Due to encroaching development, only the 6-acre homestead site of Palm Cottage Gardens remains intact today. Remnants of the original 100-year old tree canopy and many of his plantings still exist, and the house is a charming and authentic example of pioneer Florida life. Unfortunately, the "Bookshed" where Dr. Nehrling worked no longer exists; however, the bulk of his library and writings have been saved and are being cataloged for future researchers. Dr. Nehrling's Home The 1880s frame vernacular style home and semi-detached kitchen were moved by ox-cart to the site in the early 1900s Image from the FL State Archives The Henry Nehrling Society, Inc. was established in 1999 by a group of concerned citizens to preserve Dr. Nehrling's home and horticultural legacy. The Society's first accomplishment was having Palm Cottage Gardens placed on the National Register of Historic Places in November 2000. Since then, the Society has focused on educating the public about Dr. Nehrling's importance to the horticultural history of Florida. In November 2009, the Society was able to purchase the home and gardens and ensure its preservation. The all-volunteer non-profit Society is currently working to raise much needed funds to pay off the mortgage on the historic house and gardens. To this end, they have established a Friend of Nehrling Gardens, “Honorary Deed Program” where benefactors can purchase an “Honorary Deed” for one or more square yard parcels of the property, at $50/square yard. Supporters can go to the website at www.nehrlinggardens.org to donate, become a member, or purchase an honorary deed. The Society is also seeking volunteers for Fundraising, Public Relations, Grant Writing, Volunteer Coordinators and Treasurer as well as items from a “Wish List” for garden tools. You can schedule a private group tour of Palm Cottage Gardens by contacting theresa.myers(at)nehrlinggardens.org or visiting the website at www.nehrlinggardens.org. Boy and Girl Scout Troops, school groups, service organizations, garden clubs and horticulture groups are also welcome by appointment. For more information on Dr. Nehrling and the estate: http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/group-aims-to-re-establish-legacy-of-florida-963035.html http://fcbs.org/articles/Henry_Nehrling.htm A series of three history articles: http://floridagardener.com/gotha/nehrling.htm http://floridagardener.com/gotha/nehrling2.htm http://floridagardener.com/gotha/nehrling3.htm

  • Like many small businesses, we at Historic Shed are not unhappy to see 2009 end. Overall the year was good to us, but it was filled with uncertainty and unease, making it harder to truly enjoy the ups and more fearful during the downs. We have much more optimistic hopes for 2010 and will make every effort possible to make it a great year, even if it just means relaxing a little so we can ride the highs and lows with greater comfort. Part of that is resolving to do all things better in 2010, including making sustainability an even bigger priority, reducing distractions and being as efficient as possible in all aspects of business and personal life. As we gone through our New Year’s resolutions, we've also looked at how Historic Shed can help with some of your resolutions to make 2010 all that it can be. While we probably can’t assist with some typical self-improvement resolutions like stopping smoking or drinking, eating better or finding a soul-mate, our Historic Shed line can be of assistance with the following traditional New Year resolutions: Get organized. Get your tools, toys, holiday decorations, sports equipment, bikes, cans of paint, or pretty much anything in order by placing them in a storage shed complete with shelves, hooks, cabinets, or loft storage space. We can create a shed in nearly any size or shape for nearly any purpose to help you get your clutter under control and accessible. A shed can do more than free up garage or yard space as well; you can empty entire rooms in your house by using a shed as a home office, craft or hobby room, or as conditioned storage space by insulating the shed walls and roof and installing a small wall air-conditioner. Lose weight and get in shape. A shed can make a great home gym, yoga room or workout space. Instead of storing workout equipment under the bed or in the closet (and never taking it out), give it a dedicated space of its own. This way the treadmill won’t end up covered in discarded clothing and is available for use at a moment’s notice. As a bonus, you have a private space for working out, free from distractions. Start your own business. One of the best places to start a fledgling business is from home, but finding a quiet, dedicated space to work can be difficult. A shed with a finished interior and climate control can provide the perfect home office, allowing you to keep work and home life separate while keeping costs low. Spend more time with family and friends. Clear out a spare bedroom in your house by moving stuff out to a shed so your guests feel welcome and comfortable instead of sharing space with the family computer or sewing machine. Another option is to build a shed for use as a guest cottage so your company is nearby but not in the way. A shed can also be transformed into a great focal space for entertaining, serving as a bar or outdoor kitchen. Get your budget under control. Move your bill paying area off the kitchen table into its own space free of distractions into a shed set up as a home office. You’ll find you plan better and stress less. Learn something new. Plan to take up painting this year, learn stained glass making or finally put together the family scrapbook? A shed can be transformed into a great hobby room that allows you to leave your masterpiece or collection undisturbed and out of the way between work sessions. It also is the perfect complement to gardening hobbies. Reduce stress at work. Working from home several days a week can reduce stress from commuting and office politics, but only if the work space is out of the path of home life. A shed can provide a perfect home office, free from the clamor of children and television and able to be closed up during non-work hours so you can leave work behind on the weekend and evenings. Go back to school. Give yourself the best chance for success by providing a dedicated study room in your own back yard with a custom shed, wired and internet ready. As you choose how to shape your new year, remember that the best resolutions are the ones that you can easily keep, and ones that you always think about but never do. We wish you a great 2010, filled with amazing opportunities, and would love to be a part of your next historic home improvement project.

  • Historic Shed was recently featured on the popular UK Blog Shedworking which calls itself the only daily updated guide to the lifestyles of shedworkers and those who work in shedlike atmospheres. The Garden Office lifestyle has a strong following in the UK and the site is great for generating ideas on good uses and designs for creating the Perfect Home Office.

  • We are all seeking ways to reduce costs to help weather the current economic storm. This is particularly true for those of us in business for ourselves. One of the simplest ways to reduce significant overhead costs from many small business owners is to work from home. There are ample dollar-related reasons to work from home: working from home eliminates rent or mortgage payments on a separate office, eliminates commuting costs, and reduces electrical, water utility, and internet fees. In addition, working from home recovers time lost to commuting, avoids office politics and distractions, and can allow for a more flexible work schedule. However, the idea of working from home makes many business people worried about how it will affect the balance between their professional and personal lives. They also worry about the professional image it portrays, their ability to avoid distractions and resist the temptation to stay in pajamas all day, and the amount of space that the home office will occupy in the house. One simple way to mitigate these concerns is to set up your home office outside of your home in a separate outbuilding. By moving the home office just outside, and detached from the home, you can create a perfect setting that requires you to get dressed before leaving the house, keeps work (and that always nagging email) out of your personal space, and distances you from distractions found within the home. It also provides a professional setting for meeting clients and to have phone conversations without distractions in the background. While a standard home-improvement store type shed probably does not meet most people's idea of an ideal working environment, a custom shed can provide the perfect attractive and comfortable home office situation. A made-to-order shed can be designed to meet your exact home office needs, with ample day lighting, built-in storage and sited to enhance your backyard. Costs for a custom shed vary depending on size, details, and finishes, but generally start around $8,000 for an adequately sized and outfitted office space. Compare this cost to adding a comparable sized addition to your home, and the detached home office becomes an even more attractive alternative. When planning for a comfortable detached home office, allow adequate room for a desk with rolling chair, office equipment such as a printer, fax and phone, and storage along with any other items necessary for your office to function properly. Also consider taking advantage of common shed space-saving ideas such as loft storage and built-in cabinets and shelves. Plan electrical, phone and internet outlet locations to complement the space plan. Another important item to allow for is ample daylight; installing French doors and windows on at least two walls can make a small office feel more open and spacious. Heating and cooling requirements vary based on local climate, but a space heater or wall AC unit may be all that is needed if floors, walls and ceilings of the outbuilding are fully insulated. Finish the space off with pleasant interior materials, colors, and furnishings rather than standard institutional finishes and you will have a functional and satisfying home office. Couple this with some good backyard gardening skills, and your twenty-second morning commute can become the most anticipated part of your day.