If you have been considering the advantages of living in a small house, consider converting a storage shed. It is a home in the making – it already has a roof, walls and floor. Some storage sheds are as large as small apartments, with enough room to incorporate small bathrooms or even kitchenettes. It’s helpful to decide on a design before beginning alterations. This will help focus your energies and purchases, such as selecting a patterned rug for a cozy cottage look or hardwood flooring for the feel of a rustic cabin in your shed house.
Check with your local building department before beginning any conversion. Depending on the work you plan to do, city or county building departments may require several different permits. For example, if you are going to be installing wiring or plumbing, you may need electrical or plumbing permits.
Incorporate electrical wiring throughout the shed house. Although many sheds already contain wiring for a light or two, a house also needs several electrical outlets. If the shed does not have any windows, plan to install at least one. Two windows, placed opposite each other, provide for extra light and the movement of air. The shed house may also need a window air conditioner for the summer and a space heater for the winter. Run any plumbing pipes before beginning insulation. Install insulation in the walls and ceiling; many sheds have open framing, making this part of the job easier. If the wall and ceiling studs are already covered, apply blown-in insulation. Once the electrical, plumbing and insulation is in place, you can close up the walls and ceiling with paneling or drywall.
You will also be installing a bathroom and a small kitchen in the shed house. These require not only a water supply but also a way to discharge into a septic system or your district’s sewage system. One option for a bathroom is to use a small, prefabricated unit designed for motor homes. A kitchen can be set up in a very small space. A microwave oven, a two-burner hotplate and a small refrigerator will all fit in a corner of your shed house.
Personalize your shed house with furniture and accessories. Save space by using furniture that does double duty, such as a sofa bed or a futon. A chest can function both as a table and as a storage area. Furnish your shed house with personal items, or look for treasures in thrift stores and secondhand shops. A ceiling fan is a nice touch, as is a television or a collection of books. Outfit the kitchen area with dishes, utensils and pans. Don’t stop with just fixing up the inside – paint the outside of the shed and dress it up with some potted plants near the entrance.
As you can see, it can be very simple and inexpensive to convert a shed into a small or tiny house. Join the move toward smaller, more eco-friendly living with a shed house!