Shed Some Light

BY DAN RAFTER ON AUGUST 24TH, 2017

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As homeowners prepare for cold weather’s return, outdoor sheds – once overlooked as ugly blights on the landscape – are taking a starring role.

Those who solely use their sheds as storage for lawn and garden equipment should take notice.

“You’d be quite amazed by some of the creativity and ideas that people have for their backyard sheds,” says Al Pirozzoli, co-owner of Bethlehem, Conn.-based Better Barns & Sheds.

Pirozzoli has seen backyard sheds that serve various functions, whether it’s a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the home, or a special workspace to pursue hobbies.

“People call us and ask us to do a lot with their sheds. I guess you’re only limited by how creative you can be,” he says.

Author and Salt Lake City-based woodworker Christopher Gleason also sees an emergence of highly functional sheds. His upcoming book, “The Versatile Shed: How to Build, Renovate & Customize Your Bonus Space” (Betterway Books, 2012) showcases different ideas, from a recording studio to a violin maker’s shop. One feature he highlights is how to build a second floor in taller outdoor sheds to create a loft or play area for children.

Plus, today’s homeowners needn’t settle for a plain metal shed in their backyards. People are now creating this bonus space to be aesthetically pleasing; Gleason says people can build miniature cabins that look and feel like a lake-house retreat, without the requisite long car ride.

Pirozzoli says the New England cottage design is a popular choice.

The important thing is that the shed has the functionality to serve its purpose. For instance, some people request that the shed has electricity and air conditioning, Pirozzoli says. One client wanted a roof that could open – the shed was a birthday present for her husband, who was an amateur astronomer. It became the perfect place to keep his telescope to observe the stars at night.

Homeowners who want to create the perfect backyard shed need to tell builders exactly what they want – how they plan to use their sheds – and let their imaginations run wild.

“A lot of people start with just wanting extra storage,” Pirozzoli says. “Then they let their creativity out and create some amazing spaces.”

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