Anyone who's read Michael Pollan's A Place of My Own has probably fantasized about having a backyard office shed. The reader may have also realized halfway into the book that he or she would choose not to build it by hand. Pollan's DIY odyssey makes a case for the simplicity and ease of a prefab kit — at least for those of us who lack extreme carpentry skills. If you fall into that group, here are eight modern options that would work well for a freestanding home office.
Based out of Austin, Texas, Kanga Room makes backyard studios in a few styles: modern, country cottage, and bungalow. A basic exterior package for an 8x8-foot shed starts around $5,900 and you can add on a bathroom, kitchenette, and front porch for additional cost.
Founded by husband and wife team Ryan Grey Smith and Ahna Holder, this Seattle-based company that makes flat-packed prefab structures. Basic 8x10 sheds start at $6,900 and run as high as $70,00 for larger, more extensive models.
Weehouse / Alchemy Architects
Minnesota's Alchemy Architects designed the Weehouse Studio, which starts at $79,000 for 435 square feet. It includes a main room and a bathroom, and it can be used as either a home office, guest house, or even a main residence.
Tom Sandonato and Martin Wehmann design the kitHaus, a modular site-constructed prefab housing system. The least expensive model is the K-Pod, a 117-sf shed that starts under $20,000. Larger models can run as high as $100,000.
Their structures, which they describe as "forts for grown-ups," come in four styles, all of them basic and boxy. Prices start at $6,000 for a fully installed shed with a foundation and finished exterior. On-site installation available to California residents only.
These sheds were designed by Werner Aisslinger to make use of the extra space on top of city skyscrapers. Less than 400 square feet, these glass-walled structures include a kitchen and bathroom and start at $139,000.
This San Francisco company makes modern sheds starting at 10x12 feet for $11,500. Sizes and prices go up from there, to almost $70,000 for a full studio with kitchen and bath. The basic model comes with a sliding door and works well as a backyard office shed.
Designed by David Ballinger, the MetroShed is a prefab, flat-packed model that starts around $6,000. Made of a cedar wood beam post frame with aluminum-frame sliding doors, it's a simple modern design that comes in 9x13 feet or larger.
Photo: Kanga Room Modern Studio