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.
- Kanga Room: 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.
- Modern Shed: 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.
- KitHaus: 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.
- Modern Spaces: 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.
- Loftcube: 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.
- Modern Cabana: 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.
- Metroshed: 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