Summary: In today’s podcast, Joe DeMarco of Perry Brothers Construction explains how and why you would choose to turn your backyard shed into a home office. Benefits such as getting rid of your commute to work—which gives you more time for the things you love, as well as owning your own private, focused work environment that’s located conveniently in your backyard is a hard bargain to beat.

Joe DeMarco: Hi, I’m Joe DeMarco, general manager of Perry Brothers Construction, an ADU construction firm based out of the Newburyport area of Massachusetts. On today’s Modern Shed podcast, we’ll be learning about the benefits of building a detached modern shed office in your own backyard.

What should you consider when designing a productive and private shed office?

And the first question we’d like to ask is, what should you consider when designing a productive and private shed office? If you don’t have much fencing and much shrubbery that is keeping your neighbors out of your view, you should definitely opt for probably less windows, and that means less natural lighting in your shed office. 

You would probably just want full walls and ceilings at that place. You could still have some skylights coming from the roof. 

Yeah, for privacy’s sake, that would definitely be the number one concern for anybody doing anything within their home. And if you’re working, not only do you want your office to be private, you also want your office to be free from distractions.

You don’t want to be dealing with anything like screaming children, the dogs barking, just activities going on in the house, someone’s doing Peloton classes, the TV’s blasting, and all this could be happening during any important prospecting calls that you might be having, or you could be having a Zoom meeting with all your stakeholders or your bosses, or you’re just making a presentation and all of a sudden the chihuahua starts going off. 

When designing and maximizing your shed office, productivity and privacy are everything. For productivity, all your office supplies are nice and organized, in easy reach. You don’t want to be looking for your office supplies all the time, all the equipment you use, whether it’s your computer, your printer, fax machines, telephones, whatever you use, you need to make sure that stuff is always easily reachable.

If you’re an architect and you have a drawing board, a standing, drawing table somewhere and you’re drafting on that, and then you gotta run back to the computer, you want to make sure that these stations are easy to access, that is extremely important. 

What are some creative ways to maximize the space in your office shed?

The next thing I’d like to talk about is just what are some creative ways to maximize the space in your office shed? A great point I’d like to make is less is more when it comes to any modern shed design. So you want to be thinking about minimalism, basically, what do you really, really need and what can you forsake? 

So when designing your modern shed, if your office, again, we’ll use the job description of an architect. If you’re an architect, you’re going to have a station for your drafting and your drawing. You’re going to have all your pencils and rulers and just equipment for that. Then you’re going to have your computer station where you’re going to use your 3D rendering software and you want to have those stations clean, free from distractions and looking really nice. 

But you don’t want to have a bunch of junk, a file cabinet full of your old drawings, somewhere in between that, that you have to go around. 

And just for the sake of old documents, scan those old documents, store them onto your hard drive or in the cloud safely, and then shred them and get rid of filing cabinets. You don’t even need them nowadays. Just store all your documents digitally. It’s very easy and it’s super safe to do. You can definitely, just by not storing so much paper, you can save a lot of space. 

Definitely just think about cabinets that go into the walls of your office shed, just drawers that can open right out from the wall. You could even get drawers under your desk. You could get vertical bookcase cabinets that are attached to your desk or go behind your desk space.

There’s a lot of storage solutions for any modern shed, especially if you’re trying to do an office shed. Most of the stuff that you’re storing in an office is relatively small, so you’re storing supplies, and it’s very easy to, especially in the modern age of offices where most work is always done on a computer, it’s very easy to keep your office space minimally designed. 

How can you optimize natural lighting in a home office shed?

The next thing I’d like to talk about would be how you can optimize natural lighting in a home office shed. Now, this would be the case if you have plenty of privacy from neighbors and you’re not worried about that. Some easy ways that you can increase your natural lighting inside of a modern shed is to use skylights. I would have multiple skylights installed on your modern shed. Make sure you get the light coming from above. 

And then on top of the skylights, you can use window walls. And basically the walls of your modern shed would be windows and the edges would be probably metal or something in this case. Your entire modern shed would be a solarium and also an office. And you can get a solarium shed set up in a way that when it’s the really hot months in New England where the sun is beaming down, you’re not going to just get melted like an ant through a magnifying glass in your solarium shed. You’ll actually, it’ll absorb the heat. 

And I’ll recommend putting a Mitsubishi mini split ductless heating and cooling system into your office shed. And when that’s installed and running in there, you’ll keep your consistent controlled temperature while there’s sun just beaming down. So you’re getting the beautiful, energizing ray of sunlight while at the same time you’re controlling your climate.

So those are definitely the two easiest ways. And of course, your door, you’ll probably have a little window through the door. 

I would also, especially for office sheds and just in general, well, for any shed, but for an office shed, I would recommend building a break room, whether that’s inside your shed or not, and your break room, you could have plants and maybe a little rug to do some meditation or a yoga mat or something like that. 

Just a couch, a futon or recliner, just somewhere where you can go relax and get your most creative thought-provoking ideas out to help further your professional career. And a wraparound porch also can make a great break room. 

A wraparound porch on top of that, it’s just another way to get natural sunlight. So maybe you’ve just been on the computer typing away all day, and you got to go outside and get a little sun, sit on a deck chair, read a book, and just enjoy, really take in the sunshine.

What should you consider when creating a budget for your home office shed?

What should you consider when creating a budget for your home office shed? Definitely, there’s the windows. So if you’re going to have window walls, in the case of getting natural lighting, those are going to be a lot more expensive than just your regular-size windows. Skylights are also going to add to your bill. 

Storage solutions, they really don’t get too expensive. I would recommend spending more on those compared to just making the entire office shed made of windows. 

So whether you’re getting smart lighting or maybe you’re getting heated flooring, any of those types of amenities are going to increase the projected cost for your modern sheds.

So you got to think about that. And also, you’re just thinking about what different office supplies and furniture that you’re going to put into your office shed as well. And those are going to add on to your total budget for the office. 

So you got to consider, what do you need, what do you want and is what you want really that important? 

What are some emerging trends and technologies in shed office design?

And the last thing I’d like to talk about are what are some emerging trends and technologies in shed office design? The biggest trend in technology in designing office sheds is the fact that people are putting home offices into backyard sheds rather than just putting them into a renovated attic or finished basement or an additional room in the house. 

We’re putting office sheds in our home offices, in our backyards. It’s very creative and just new age and cool, goes right along with the tiny house movement.

Another big thing, the trend that you see is almost every shed office is going to be soundproofed in some way or another. Heavy insulation, gaps of air between a floating floor, resilient channels on the walls and ceiling to create gaps with the double, triple thick drywall. Just a lot of innovative soundproofing options. 

Definitely solid core doors. We’ve been seeing that a lot. Clapboard siding. That’s not only beautiful but great for soundproofing. 

Definitely smart lighting and even outdoor lighting is very popular now with office sheds. People want to be able to work any time of day, and while they’re working, they want to be able to go outside and enjoy the porch and just read or see the fireflies and just take it in, relax and get their best ideas. 

So all of those are definitely very popular trends and technologies that we’ve been seeing in modern shed and office shed design.

Well, I hope everybody was inspired by these shed office ideas. Maybe you’re even inspired enough to check out more modern shed designs online. If you’re seriously considering reducing your travel time to the office and would like to speak with a shed design specialist to help you learn what you need to consider before building a modern shed on your property, please call our office at (781) 233-7511 and Perry Brothers Construction will be happy to assist you. Thank you guys and gals. Have a great rest of your day.