Shedsploitation: Tiny, Purposeful Backyard Sheds

Shedsploitation: Tiny, Purposeful Backyard Sheds

Susie Nadler
Oct 9, 2009

Our friend Seth Boor, an amazing local architect, is blogging a new project we're so excited to share. Shedsploitation explores the design of tiny backyard sheds, small enough to build without permits, using found and recycled materials. Seth hopes to unite a "community of backyard artists" around the creation of these dreamy little buildings...

San Francisco's building code allows for the permit-less construction of a single-story, eight-foot-high building with a footprint of 100 square feet. Shedsploitation explores the creative possibilities within these space limitations. How about a little backyard theater for a family of artists? Or an eco-friendly bathhouse with a wetland on its roof for water filtration? Or maybe a little music-studio-slash-guest-room, with guitars hung on the walls? No permit means electrical and water have to be off the grid, too, so the sheds are perfect for exploring green technologies like solar power and gray water systems.

Seth hopes to engage other local designers, architects, and all-around creative types in a discussion about building backyard sheds like these. His brand new blog offers ideas for books and websites to read for inspiration, as well as places to shop for salvage materials.

Although Seth's tiny shed designs haven't yet been built, he is actively seeking submissions of tiny sheds by other designers to feature on the site. Got one? Send it on! And in the meantime, here's a sampling of his thoughts about tiny shed design, which are applicable, we think, to interior design as well...

Simplify. Your shed is going to be small so ask it to do one thing well. Resist the temptation to make too many demands on it. Through the engaging process of place-specific designing and making, your creation will naturally do many additional things very well, but best to let those things be happy surprises.

Prospect. As long as you are making, try a little invention too. Take some risks. Use a material that might be a dubious choice on a larger structure. Consider the resources that are close at hand, borderline, or unwanted. Mine the waste stream. Could you make wallpaper out of all those old t-shirts you have been meaning to take to goodwill?

Be a good neighbor. Forget about the code for a minute. Your first responsibility is to your community so let your neighbors know what you are up to. Unhappy neighbors can, at the very least, make your shed life unpleasant. Happy ones can help you build it.

For more information about the designs pictured above, click over to the Shedsploitation project. You can also see more of Seth Boor's work at the Boor Bridges website.

(Images: Seth Boor)

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