Sheds in the Great Depression
With the financial and market meltdown one of two things may be happening: You are moving home to live with Mom, or you are mom or dad and the kids are moving back with you. In such circumstances it might be nice to have a place to get away to. That is one of the great selling points for garden sheds; they often do not need building permits, there is now a wide selection of them, and they are the gateway drug for modern prefab.
There is nothing new about working sheds; shepherds have used them forever.
Mark Twain had a writing hut; he called it "the loveliest study you ever saw octagonal with a peaked roof, each face filled with a spacious window perched in complete isolation on the top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant blue hills. It is a cozy nest and just room in it for a sofa, table, and three or four chairs, and when the storms sweep down the remote valley and the lighting flashes behind the hills beyond and the rain beats upon the roof over my head—imagine the luxury of it." ::Shedworking
The British are serious gardeners, so they needed serious garden sheds. Organic gardener Bob Flowerdew says ""The garden shed is man's last refuge... and it's my tranquil haven, the furthest away from the neighbours and my three-year-old twins, where I don't have to be tidy or have a mobile phone with me. It's not particularly modern, there is nothing glaringly new, no sharp corners or smell of fresh paint.... This shed is where I sort things out, make notes of what I will plant, and store and dry seeds. During the growing season I spend several hours a week in here; on warm summer nights I take my mattress and sleep out there. It's like camping without the hassle." ::Shedworking
But the real genesis of the shed boom happened when Allison Arieff and Bryan Burkhart wrote the book PREFAB and Allison promoted modern prefab in Dwell Magazine. Suddenly everyone had a taste for instant modern. Unfortunately, not that many could afford it.
One of the first to recognize a niche for small, modern garden prefabs was California designer Edgar Blazona, who started selling the MD100 in 2004. He also built a larger, 280 Square foot version that you can see on TreeHugger: For Sale By Owner: MD280 Prefab Housing Unit
Another seminal shed was Werner Aisslinger's LoftCube, seen in ads and movies around the world and now finally coming to America. ::Loftcube
Before long, everyone was into it; this Kithaus by Tom Sandonato and Martin Wehmann is available through Design Within Reach. It is a lovely, aluminum-framed design. ::Kithaus at Design Within Reach
There are good reasons why sheds are so popular. Adding on a room to a house is really expensive and disruptive, and doesn't really let you get away. On the other hand, a shed can be stylistically different, can be installed temporarily, and can be a quick fix if you have a need for more space. Yoga, meditation or work, they provide a separate and different environment. Here is a review of some of the sheds we have shown on TreeHugger:
Next: English Sheds