Lately I’ve been thinking about how little I use my (hideously expensive) gym membership, and how nice it would be to have some gym equipment at home to use while watching TV or when I’ve got a half hour or so of downtime. I rarely hit the gym after work as I usually want to get home and get some dinner, and once I’m home it feels like a big outing to get all my stuff together and head out to the gym. Having an elliptical trainer or stationary bike and some weights at home would be much more convenient. Unfortunately, there’s no room for such gear in our not-that-big house (3 bedrooms, my wife and I occupy one bedroom as a bedroom, one as an office, and we have a roommate that has the third). So…
We do have a fairly large backyard, and a few months ago I
found a few articles about turning a prefabricated shed into an
office. “Hey, great idea!” I thought, “I can just get a 10×12 shed and
throw some insulation and drywall in it, and since it’s 120 square
feet, I don’t need a permit!” Well, not quite. I contacted my local
building department and found that a permit is not required for
structures 120 square feet or less, as long as they are not to be occupied.
Okay…since we’d be using it as more than just an
occasionally-occupied workshop or storage unit, we’d need a permit.
Well, if we have to get a permit anyway, why stick to 120 square feet?
After taking some measurements of existing rooms in our house, we’ve
decided on a 14×18 structure on a concrete slab-on-grade foundation
(just like the existing house). We’re currently working on the
building layout and placement on the property, and once that’s done
we’re going to apply for the permit (which is apparently a fairly easy
process, our next-door neighbor built a workshop and his permit was
granted with no problems).
As this is our first construction project,
we wanted to get a bit of practice in. We have a dilapidated 8×8 shed
that’s full of bugs and grunge that we’d like to replace. Yesterday we
went to Home Depot and bought a truckload of lumber (really, we filled
up the bed of a U-Haul pickup) and we will be building our new shed using the same framing techniques that we will use for the outbuilding. I’ve got several books from the library and have found that framing is not nearly as complicated as I was thinking it would be, we just have to make sure everything is cut to the right length, level, and square. Not only will we get some great practice (as I’m sure we will make mistakes), but when we finish we’ll have a new shed with a real door, a window, caulk-sealed wall sheathing and roofing, and hopefully minimal insect and arachnid intrusion for all our gardening supplies.
To follow will be photos and updates of our progress as we move along.