In the spring of 2015, the idea came to me that I should build a shed in which I could somewhat hide away, close enough to my house that my kids could find me if needed, yet far enough away that I wouldn’t have to hear them bickering.
For a few months, I observed my acre of land, watching where the sun and shadows landed, imagining what view I would have through windows.
I measured out some potential sites with rope, and asked the opinion of my husband and some of my kids. The feelings were not unanimous so I kept searching.
Finally, I decided upon a spot.
Me enjoying morning coffee on the site where my shed would be built
Here I sat at my chosen building site amidst cement pier blocks from the local building supplies store and the 3×7 timbers we purchased from a friend who milled them himself. We live in an area where forestry is what fuels the economy. Trees are life and there is no shortage of them.
I had it in my mind that we could build this shed over the course of a weekend. Haha! How naive I was. Maybe my carpenter dad and an assistant could perform such a miracle, but this was my first building project.
I grew up with carpenter’s tools all around, and used them in varying capacities, but at the age of 48, I bought my first very own tool: a square.I wrote my initials on it in Sharpie.
A cool thing about this building project was that it was funded by the money my dad left me. It wasn’t a fortune, but it covered the costs. I kept every receipt, intending to add them up someday, but as of the time of this writing, I still haven’t done so. I am not sure I want to. My guess is that it totals around $10,000. I could be way off.
Family and friends helped us get that first wall up.
It would take a lot of words to tell the story on constructing my shed, and someday I might write those details, but for the sake of brevity, I will show you some photos of how it looks.
This was before the bed and curtains went in, and there was different furnishing.
In keeping with the fine tradition of my carpenter father, the details remain unfinished. We still need to do the trim around the windows and where the floor meets the wall. The writing desk is very old. The chair, too. A local craftsman built the bookshelf.
The shed in a winter sunrise
The bed, not shown, is below this window. When one lies on it, they look out the French doors at the natural beauty of my yard.
There is a single bed we bought from a friend in the neighbourhood for $20. The walls are tongue and groove knotty pine. The floor is laminate.
The pictures on the wall my parents bought when I was a child. They bring me back to those years, right on down to that day in the early 1970s when we picked them up from a store on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver, around the corner from our home. My sister and I split them up when our dad died.
The windows were chosen from the “boneyard” at the local building supply shop. Those are windows customers ordered but decided not to buy, so we got them at a discounted price.
There is electricity, with a cable buried between the shed and our main house. We hired a guy my husband knows who is an electrician to do that part. We dug the trench by hand using pickaxes and shovels in our rocky ground.
The trench for electrical cable
A view in summer
A view in winter
The shed is 8’x12′. The lowest wall is 8′ high, and it slopes up to 12′. We hope to someday put a bunk in the high end, with a little hexagonal window, but for now it is sufficient for a peaceful hideaway. Everyone who has slept there raves about the peacefulness and beauty.
There is very little dust or dirt in this shed. I keep it that way and it is not difficult, due to the low traffic and absence of mess-making activities or substances. It is heated in winter by an electric free-standing oil-filled heater. The walls and floors have the highest R-value of Roxul insulation we could get locally.
I had never heard there was such a thing as a “tiny house” until after we built this shed. Now I know of that phenomenon and wonder if we might someday add on a little bathroom and plumbing. But as it stands, I am content with it, and I am grateful.