Build a Shed House For Your Office or Guests

How do I build a shed house?

The idea of building a shed house is a very intriguing notion to me. I have always liked the idea of small spaces built for specific uses. The idea of a shed house seems quite unique to me. Now when I say build a shed house, I don’t mean build an eight by ten storage shed and live in it. My vision is a small outbuilding built with the expressed purpose of being livable or useable. Specifically, think of a guest suite, detached office, or sewing room. The list could go on and on.

You might wonder what the point is. If you have been thinking of building a guest room addition to your house, consider all that is involved. Most likely, you will need an architect, contractor, foundation, building permits and inspections. That doesn’t even include the huge cost and mess you have to deal with when doing an addition. As a whole, this is a huge and highly inconvenient undertaking. However, with a detached “shed house” you save on many of these steps. You may still need to pull a permit for some of the wiring or plumbing, but the project will be far less of a headache.

This idea first came to me when my landscaping company was servicing a campground. There were probably close to twenty very small cabins that were brought in and set on blocks just like a mobile home. They usually included only a bathroom and sleeping quarters. It seemed like such a neat little get away. This gave me the idea of doing something similar on my own property as a separate space for guests. You may find that a conventional foundation is unnecessary, causing you to save thousands of dollars.

The biggest advantage to having a separate guest house is the privacy that is afforded to both you and your guests. They can be comfortable in their own space and you will have yours to yourself. I mentioned the cost difference earlier. There is always the option of purchasing a shed at your local box store or shed dealer. Depending on the quality and size, these units can range from under one thousand dollars to several thousands. Generally speaking, the problem you will run into is that these sheds won’t be quite big enough. Even if you finish them out with insulation and drywall, chances are they won’t provide enough space for bathroom, which defeats the point in my opinion. The answer, of course, is to build your own!

So, what should you include in your shed house? First, you will need a living/sleeping space. These can be one in the same. A bed and two chairs will do quite nicely; a folding couch is another option to consider. A bathroom and a small closet are necessities. The bathroom doesn’t have to take up too much room if you install a small shower and not a full bath. A small microwave and mini fridge is an option that could really complete the space well. You could do this in about a three foot square area. A small table or section of counter mounted over the fridge to hold the microwave works great. Finish off the “kitchenette”, if you can even call it that, with a single wall cabinet above the microwave for a little dry storage.

For a very minimal cost, you’ve just created an extremely livable guest space. Of course, I mentioned building this yourself. You might feel that because of limited experience it’s just not something you can take on. The best answer is to get plans and instructions. If you have done any research whatsoever, you have most likely seen shed plans for sale online. If you want to finish out your space you will also need some guidance in the area of wiring and plumbing. While you may choose to hire someone to do this part for you, it will be much more cost effective to do it yourself.

The only shed plan package I have found that includes both a wealth of plans and instructions and a manual that covers wiring, plumbing, and much more is “My Shed Plans”. This is a very thorough package and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in undertaking a project like this.

Check BuildAShedHouse.com in the coming months as I am going to be developing material specific to building a shed. I will even post a simple layout to display some suggested dimensions and help you build a shed house. If you would like more information, download my free ebook on planning your shed. Good luck and happy building!

Plans: Shed

Comments 2 comments

Ghost32 3 years ago

I'm always glad to see write-ups on projects of this sort. My wife and I lived full time in a 12' x 16' shed house on 20 acres in the Montana mountains for three years (1999-2002) and loved every bit of it. Due to time constraints (winter was coming and we were living in a tent), plus the joy of finding a local shed builder with bargain rates, we were up and running for $1700 (shell only).

Before we were done, we had it fully insulated (Montana winters, remember), a 4-burner propane stovetop, a couch for Pam's bed and a "bed table" with pads for me, a propane fridge, a full sized bathtub, a small table, satellite TV, a window air conditioner mounted in a special hole I cut in the wall, and a bucket toilet behind a curtain in one corner.

Couldn't beat it.

It was on skids, so no foundation--though we did add skirting.

We've been off grid again since early 2009, down in southern AZ, but this time--though I built the place myself--it's both larger (1,296 square feet) and built from the ground up with a fair amount of creativity (not stick-built completely, in other words).

Voted Up and More.


Johnf970 2 years ago

This kind of game gives a real experience of building a eegaadfefdde

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