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Home Sweet Homeworks: Backyard Addition

Ross & Chloe's Extra Space

Adding any structure to your property can be an arduous task, but in the case of Ross and Chloe—two of our own Homeworks agents—it’s been time and money very well spent. The pair own a lovely home in Millcreek, mostly mid-century in design, with eclectic and well-chosen touches throughout. Though comfortable in the house, they needed a bit more space, both to accommodate their own family and add room for guests…so they looked out the window. The result is a tidy, modern, and entirely worthwhile addition to the Brookham back yard that lends square footage for creative endeavors, a bit of additional work space, or the perfect landing pad for a visitor or two. We chatted with them a bit about the process and the place.

What inspired this addition?

We started this project because we were simply running out of room. Our current home is 1,600 square feet with 3 bedrooms. After we had our second child and we started working from home (during the pandemic), we realized we could use a bit more space. We learned that the city classifies any structure under 200 square feet as a shed (so long as it isn't a “permanent dwelling,” in which case it becomes an ADU). The permitting process to build a really nice shed is much easier than that for ADUs, and we knew we could use it. So my wife Chloe set to work and did all the design/architectural drawings for the required permits.

What did the process—from build to design—look like?

We'd used Top Shed in the past to build an inexpensive garage, and decided to use them to drop the shed structure that would become the “guest house.” Before they did so, we poured a concrete slab foundation and added some plumbing and electrical underground. Top Shed typically provides windows and doors with their projects, but we wanted to install a custom glass that would match that of our existing home, so we simply had them frame-in the rough openings for the windows and doors.

We were able to take care of insulation, exterior work, flooring, and painting on our own, and we did some of the initial work needed for framing, plumbing, and electrical. But professionals were needed to complete a few pieces of the puzzle. We got some help framing out the bathroom, wall, and closet, and we hired a plumber to complete the work for the bathroom and water heater. For the remaining electrical work, we brought in our friend Eric, owner of Evergreen Electric.

We chose a few high-end finishes—like the concrete sink from Concretti, the Wow Design EU tile, and the pond mirror from Ferm Living—to help nicely with a few of our more economical choices, such as the vintage and IKEA pieces, as well as the local art. We didn’t necessarily have a particular design style in mind, but we knew we wanted something both modern and clean that also felt cosy.

Any surprises in the process for you?

I think we ended up spending about double what we initially planned, although getting another bed and bath out of it was absolutely worth the cost. I think if we could go back and do it all again, there are definitely a few things we would have done differently. Overall, though, we're really happy with it.


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