Monday, January 10, 2011

Still Building a Modern Shed

We're building a shed, remember?

Day one started with digging sod, leveling and preparing spots for the nine stacks of concrete blocks that will support the underpinnings of the structure. We opted for a floating block foundation--meaning that the blocks just sit on soil roughly at grade level--rather than go to the expense and labor of pouring a concrete slab. This means there's a fair chance we'll have to do the occasional shoring and re-leveling of the structure over the coming decades, but that's a minor deal on the lifetime to-do list.
Once we got all nine foundation pads level and square, we topped them with the three big timber 4" x 6" skids that comprise the rest of the foundation. On top, perpendicular to the skids went the floor joists, all from pressure treated lumber. Then everything got nailed together.

Day two and we're ready to get started on the framing. Since it was the most complex with three openings, we started with the north wall:

shed day two
I said complex, but this is really about as easy as framing gets. Still, though, lots of nails to pound. At about this point we started to wonder why, after all this time, we still don't have a pneumatic nail gun.

And then the south wall, working in between autumn rain showers:
shed day two, front and back walls
and then the east and west sides:
shed day two four walls
It's starting to look like something!

Welcoming the Doldrums of Winter

Happy 2011!
I'm finally feeling like I have time to take a deep breath after the craziness that extends from late summer into fall and then into the ubercraziness of the holidays. Thus, I am taking inventory of the project situation, both those balls that I have in the air and those that are yet to be tossed.

First up on the "balls in the air" category is the shed. Yes, a modern shed!! For my backyard! Very exciting!
This ball got tossed in large part due to Boy, who got himself all whipped up last fall and decided that both our vehicles needed to go in the garage this winter.
For the first time ever.
And that left us with a lot of housebuilding tools and lawn and garden stuff in the way, and as driver of vehicle #2, the one newly installed in the garage, it only took about two days of entering it by climbing through the passenger door before I was ready for a bit more free space. So I busted out my pencil and sketch pad and slide rule and designed us up a nifty little shed.
(just kidding about the slide rule, but come to think of it, maybe I need one...?)

Truthfully though, calling this project "a shed" isn't quite fair, because that implies a simple, strictly utilitarian building, and WHERE, I ask you, is the fun and Modern in MNishness in that? Strictly utilitarian, no (and yes, for the umpteenth time, I'm sure Boy wants to strangle me for turning what could have been a simple project into something more complex). A backyard destination that happens to look fun and interesting and still be functional and hold our stuff, YES! Sign me up!

Here is my original sketch of the proposed structure:
shed sketches

For ease of construction and limited waste, The dimensions are 8'x12', with an additional 4' or so given over to a deck that wraps the north and east sides. I knew I wanted to tart the place up with windows and doors (that whole "not just a shed" thing) so I more or less designed the fenestrations and facade based around recycled windows and doors I found on Craigslist. Over the course of a week or two I collected up a very nice gently used vinyl slider, a big (new!) picture window, and two cool bubble windows all for ~$200 and a bit of schlepping. The other supplies--lumber, sheet goods, fasteners and a mini roll-up door came to around $1200. So far, a reasonable budget for a bunch of great storage and a cool addition to our property.

And speaking of budget, I had one. For those of you big spenders, there's lots of cool pre-fab shed options. Those in the modern genre are mostly outrageously expensive. And I mean outrageously, like on the order of 10x or more what I wanted to spend. Great inspiration, not great for our bottom line. And besides, I get itchy when I haven't built anything in a while...

So to come, the dirt of the shed build and other balls yet to be tossed!
One of my goals this year is more Modern in MN, more often, so I hope to be back with you again shortly...