Monthly Archives: April 2016

Deciding what size shed you need

What size shed do I need?How big is big enough?
One of the most important decisions in purchasing a building is deciding on the size. There are many things to consider, and so we will discuss a few of the most important ones.
1. How much space do you need?

Many people look inside a building and say, we could the mower here, the snow blower over there, your workbench on that side, etc. without really measuring it out. Most larger items take up more space than you think unless you actually put a tape measure to it. Another aspect is everything has to come in through the door(s), which means you need room to maneuver around things. A common statement is we have a 2 car garage and can’t get any of our vehicles inside. After looking at buildings, a common conclusion is an 8×10 or 10×10 would be sufficient. Sorry, folks, that ain’t gonna happen. You can’t unload a 2 car garage full of “stuff” into a 10x 10 shed.
Here are a few tips on how to determine how much space you need. Gather all your things together in the garage and arrange them like you would in a shed. If you measure the area in one corner of the garage you can use the walls to gauge the space you need for hanging items, workbenches, shelves, etc. Again, it has to go through the door, you can’t just plop it in from anywhere.
Another way of doing it is to draw it out on graph paper. You can make each block on the paper  equal a foot. Lay out the building to scale including the door. Measure the items then cut out pieces to represent each one and try to arrange them inside the building. You can even try to slide them through door to see if they fit. This gives you a concept of how much room you need without using the actual items. Two items we find people often underestimate the size of are mowers and trailers.
In my 30+ years of doing this, I don’t recall ever hearing anyone say I wish we would have gotten a smaller shed, but I have heard the opposite quite frequently. The most common complaint we hear from our customers is I wish we would have gotten a bigger one.
2. The size of your yard.

Many people are concerned about how their structure will look in the yard, and rightly so. Something we hear repeatedly is, we have this small yard and a big building would just be overpowering. That may be true, but I’ve never heard anybody say, we have a huge yard and can’t get a small building because it would get lost in the landscape. The right style building with appropriate landscape design can make a larger building become part of a small yard and vice versa.
3. Building and Zoning permit restrictions.

Last, but not least are the code restrictions that apply to your area. State code allows for up to a 200 sq ft. building without a building permit (10×20 or 12×16). However, many areas are more restrictive with their regulations. A building permit deals with the how the structure is built, while a zoning permit deals with where it is placed on the property. Typically, if you are outside city limits, the county issues building permits, and the township handles zoning issues. If you have a homeowner’s association, it trumps everything else. Within city limits, check with the city building and zoning office. See a previous blog post for more details about permits.

These are just a few ideas. If you call or stop by we would be glad to discuss your specific situation in depth.

This entry was posted on by Shannon Martin.

When I grow up I want to be a fireman



Was it just me or did every kid growing up dream of being a firefighter one day?

I am not sure what happened. Here I am, sitting behind this desk without a fire truck in sight.

The 7 year old me would be so disappointed in the 40 year old me.

That is not the case with one of our customers. Firefighter Kevin followed his boyhood dream and became a career firefighter. I am sure that the realities of being a firefighter may have been a bit different than he thought it would be as boy, but he never lost his fascination with firefighting.

The part of that fascination that we are so impressed with is his fire equipment collection.

Kevin has a collection of antique firefighting equipment that would be the envy of many museums.

One of the most prized parts of his collection are the antique fire call boxes. If you are unfamiliar with fire alarm call boxes, here is a link to Wikipedia that explains it better than I can.

 Several years ago, Kevin came to us for a building to keep his collection in. Since then, he has added two other buildings to house his ever growing collection.

His most recent building is a 10×14 Cape Cod that he set up to resemble an old fire house.

Have a look at these pictures. Your inner 7 year old demands it.

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This entry was posted on by Shannon Martin.

Is smaller the new bigger?

Tiny house outside

Tiny house outside


The building we are featuring in this post is following the current “Tiny House” trend. It is a 12×24 Cottage with a row of dormer windows running the full length of the building. We

The shell as it looked when we delivered it.

The shell as it looked when we delivered it.

insulated the floor with 2” foam and installed an insulated service door. It was delivered to the Dayton area and placed on a post foundation provided by the customer. From there on, everything was done by the customer.


On the exterior rough sawn cedar siding milled from Ohio trees was installed over the existing siding. Windows were purchased at a local ReStore at a greatly reduced price. Sliding barn door hardware and a large window were used to craft a sliding door. Several LED lights illuminate the exterior at night.IMG_70802

Interior walls are insulated with fiberglass insulation and are covered with the same cedar as the outside. Lights are LED Edison bulb replicas and draw a total of 30-40 watts for the entire house. Immediately inside the door the center of the living room floor is mahogany wood and native stone with grout and covered with polyurethane. The rest of the living room has hardwood floor, while the kitchen and bathroom have slate floors from a local big box store. A wood burning stove/oven between the kitchen and living room heats the whole house and was provided all the cooking this winter. The wall behind the stove is covered with slate shingle reclaimed from an old Ohio barn roof. Due to the nature of his job, the owner is gone for 24-48 hrs at a time, a propane heater is used as a backup source of heat. A couch, chair, TV/dvd player, coat rack, and some firefighting memorabilia finish out the living room.

 A bar/counter separates the kitchen and living room and provides storage for kitchen items. There are plenty of wine glasses for any amount of people you could fit into this house.  There is a propane stove top, a small sink, a full size refrigerator/freezer, and shelves for storage everywhere possible in the kitchen. IMG_70652

The bathroom has a composting toilet and a beach shower that is not hooked up yet. There is a holding tank for water that is currently being brought in from elsewhere, but future plans call for a rainwater collection system.

There are identical lofts at both ends of the building. The rear loft above the bathroom is the sleeping quarters and a little storage and the front loft above the living room is the guest quarters.tinyhouse34

The house is completely off grid with electrical power coming from a 600watt solar panel system and batteries for storage. This will need to be upgraded in the near future to keep up with the demand. Also in the future plans is an outdoor kitchen and a few small modifications on the inside.

If a Tiny House is on your bucket list, this is one you will want to check in to. I was amazed at what all can fit into a little space and still have enough room to be comfortable. It is very nicely finished and decorated and we are delighted to have had a small part in the project.

From the owner: A question a lot of people ask me is why did I decide to do this, and contrary to belief, it is not just because I wanted to go green, although that does seem to be the side effect. 

I wanted to do this for independence, the cabin is self-sustainable on its own, even without the propane or internet access.  I was also looking to be debt free, and am working to that goal now, allowing me to spend otherwise wasted money on savings and retirement.


This entry was posted on by Shannon Martin.