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An Efficient Workspace: Working Better but Less

For more than ten years Astrid ran her thriving residential landscape design firm, Astrid Gaiser Garden Design, LLC, from her home in Mountain View, California. For years, this arrangement worked well. Her open, airy Eichler house (circa 1954) readily accommodated the spreading piles of resource materials and project records, oversized printers and large landscape plans. One day, she realized, “My work is taking over the house.”

For Astrid, the decision was made. “I needed dedicated office space with built in efficiencies – out of the house but not out of reach. I looked at my big backyard and thought, ‘it goes there.’”

Efficiency matters to Astrid, whose technical skills are as strong as her design eye. She earned a certificate in Environmental Horticulture and Design following an earlier career in Silicon Valley and Germany in high tech product management, backed by graduate and undergraduate degrees in Information Engineering and Computer Science.

To research suitable prefabricated structures, she went online. She reviewed several firms but only Studio Shed held her interest. “I loved Studio Shed’s streamlined thinking, especially the 3D Shed Configurator,” she said. “The perfect combo for me is smart and fast.” Studio Shed’s modular prefab structures gave her what she wanted: an affordable price, green construction and thoughtful modern design. Plus Studio Shed’s look was exactly right to relate to the mid-century architecture of the house.

“In 10 minutes on the Configurator you can come up with an initial floor plan, customize it by choosing options, cost out the design, and get a rate for shipping.” She played around with her plan for a while, mulling over the best size, design details, colors, and door and window placements.

Her final design featured a 12-foot by 14-foot Signature Series structure with three large operable Milgard windows and a full glass façade with French doors. She needed a town building permit for a structure that size. After putting that in motion, she booked her installation with a local Studio Shed certified installer.

The day her Studio Shed structure arrived on a flatbed truck, Astrid watched the contractor’s team unload the modular pieces and start to build. “Usually construction is so painfully slow,” she said. “But not with Studio Shed. At 1:30 pm, they unloaded. By

4:30 pm the whole structure was up. The entire frame, the rafters, three walls.”

In two weeks, the studio was completely finished, inside and out – the process stretched out a bit by delays for required town building inspections.

Astrid loves her new work environment. “Having dedicated office space changes everything. It’s so practical. I had 14 feet of built-in storage and counter space installed across the whole back wall. Everything is right where I need it, including space for client meetings. It’s a super cozy workspace – and so airy, it’s like being a tree house. The interior has beautiful light and a nice cross breeze. The floor’s radiant heat is all I need in winter.”

Astrid positioned her office studio strategically in a corner of the property, tucked amidst towering heritage cedar trees and oversized garden plants. From her desk, she sees the entire property. Visiting clients approach the studio on paths that wind between small patio areas and plantings that Astrid changes routinely. These pocket landscapes serve as design samples for clients, while showcasing three garden looks she’s best known for: Native/Mediterranean, Modern and Northern California Tropical.

She’s so taken with the look of her Studio Shed that she repainted her house to echo its color scheme. “I used the same colors I chose from the Studio Shed palette — in the studio, the house and in the exterior décor throughout the garden,” she said. “I love how it feels to be here.” Her clients concur. Already, one has placed an order for a Studio Shed of his own.

What surprised Astrid most, she said, was how her new Studio Shed office changed the way she works and lives. “In my studio, I concentrate fully. With fewer distractions, I get more done in a day. I feel like I work better, but less. At first I felt guilty closing the door and going home. Then I realized, ‘this is what efficiency feels like.’”

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