Turning a Small Manufactured Shed into a Workshop
When we first found our property, one thing that immediately caught my eye as we walked around was a small 10x14 foot pre-fab shed which the previous owners used to store garden tools. It was nothing fancy, in fact it looked a bit worn, and in contrast to the two car garage which was to become the main shop, it was tiny. There is something rather intriguing however about a small space, and that little shed just screamed opportunity to me.
My old shop, back in Oregon was quite small; it measured 12 x 16 feet, and I and my husband constructed it by ourselves a couple of years back. The size of that shop was determined by our rather small backyard, and the fact that the square footage fell right under the limit of not needing any permits. Even though, over time, the space became a bit too small for all the things that gathered in it, there was still something quite magical about it. It was small, and filled with things that made it cozy; a space that you wanted to spend time in. Although a larger shop was one of the main reasons we wanted to move, I was a little sad to say good bye to that shop which we had so many experiences and memories in.
So fast forward to Virginia where we now have a larger shop, which is by no means “finished”, the idea of this little shed being turned into a private, cozy space has stuck in my mind. What I was picturing was a place that didn't hold any large power tools, but that was centered around a nice bench with hand tools. Perhaps I would include a desk for design, but other than that, it would be simple. Basically it would be a place to hide away, practice using hand tools and build smaller projects away from the big shop. In my mind, I'm sitting there designing, writing, and taking things a little slower.
A couple of months back, I cleared out some bushes and trees and built a metal privacy fence to define the space better,. But then other projects came up, and the shed has been sitting there, just waiting to be finished. Until now that is. Finally I'm getting to working on this space and there are quite a few things to do in order to transform away from a shed, and into a “finished” space.
So far I've jacked up the shed a couple of inches, as it was sitting a little too close to the ground. There was some moss build-up and mud collecting on the floor, and I want to make sure I avoided problems in the future. After I raised up the building, I was able to crawl underneath in order to insulate it. Now this was quite dirty and a bit claustrophobic, but I'm hoping that the improved insulation will be worth it later on, as I'm cooling the little shop in the summer, or heating it in the winter.
Initially the shed had a ramp on it. The ramp was rotted in places, and I removed it as I was jacking up the house. So the next logical step was to add stairs, however I really wanted to add a bit more square footage as well in the form of a deck, so that became the next project. Isn't it funny, how one thing leads to another, and the order of the work to be completed changes depending on what you do! So during the last couple of days I built a small 10x6 feet deck, after removing the door and part of the siding in order to attach the ledger board.
It's amazing what a difference the deck area makes, and suddenly the shed feels even larger. I think having that space will be quite nice, whether to sit with a cup of coffee, or do some sanding or carving. Next up is making some stairs – or next up is re-framing the front and adding a new door and window and siding, which in turn will enable me to add a railing, which will tie in to the stairs. I guess there are many ways to get the end point! Then of course there's a lot of work to be done inside including re-framing, drywall, electrical, flooring etc... but I'm taking it one step at a time. And perhaps someone is following along who also has a sad little shed in their backyard that is just waiting to be turned into something more useful, and this can provide a bit of inspiration.