A Modern Shed at Home in Historic Neighborhood

For nine years, abstract painter Rush Beam shuttled his art supplies from one random tight space to another, borrowing closet, storage and guest bedroom spaces from friends, first in Davidson, NC, then in San Francisco. When he moved back to North Carolina for a position in Durham related to his career in youth ministry, his wife Erin agreed that an art studio of his own would be a priority as they searched for a new home.Of course, the house they fell for had everything they wanted except the sought-after light-filled space for painting. They bought the charming 1930s bungalow in Durham’s historic Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood anyway, armed with a plan for creating an artist’s studio out of the too-small-for-cars garage out back. But renovating the old structure proved too costly.

erinrush-37Their next thought: we have a good-sized back yard, let’s build a backyard shed! They started searching for candidates online. They found just what they wanted at studio-shed.com where the options looked smart, efficient, affordable and perfectly suited to small city lots.

They chose a standard 6’x12′ Studio Shed storage model. The basic trim package included exterior siding, an overhang roof, horizontal CloudlightTM windows across the front, an unfinished interior and stainless steel door. By adding an optional upgrade of vertical CloudlightTM windows they transformed the shed’s compact space into a bright and airy light-filled studio.

“I love the interior’s gallery feel and I love how the morning light beams in through the front windows. In fact I love looking at this studio, whether I’m inside or out,“ says Rush. “And by tucking it into an unused corner of the property, we didn’t lose any yard space.”

erinrush-34They painted the interior walls stark white and the floors slate grey to match the exterior. Then they built in shelving for supplies and mounted pegboard for hanging canvases.

Something else Rush and Erin enjoy is how nicely the shed encloses that side of the yard, blocking off views of the neighbors beyond their existing six-foot fence. The local permit board felt the same way: their shed permit was granted without a hitch.

So how does Studio Shed’s modern design fit with their home’s bungalow style and the historic looks of the surrounding neighborhood? “It fits just fine,” says Rush. “In part, it’s because of the colors we chose: dark grey for the exterior siding, red for the stainless steel door. This color scheme plays nicely off the teal-blue color of the house and the dark slate of the backyard patio. Since then, we’ve added shrubs with red flowers and a brick walkway. Next we’re painting the front door of our house red, just like the red door on the shed.

Cost for a 6’x12′ Studio Shed storage model with unfinished interior and basic trim is $4,800, plus $650 for shipping and $900 for installation. This model features optional upgrades: a 2nd color is featured on the door ($50), a vertical CloudlightTM window is added ($950).


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