Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wide open spaces

My in-laws have a spot of land out on Whidbey island that for years served as their summertime getaway. They parked a camper trailer on the property back when there was nothing but trees for company and spent long weekends as a family, just hanging out roasting hot dogs and smores. (I know, I know... nostalgia overload.) Since then, the lot they own has become severely overgrown, the camper has been vandalized and eventually collapsed under the weight of moss and bush growth, and neighboring properties have sprung forth with mini-estates. So the children of the family (among which I can now proudly count myself) have been discussing for some time how best to utilize that property so it a) stays in the family b) is maintained a c) returns to its former semi-glory as a gathering place. None of us can afford to shell out a ton of money to build some sort of Swiss Family Robinson retreat but the longer the property lingers, the more likely it is to lie unused and become overgrown with weeds and stinging nettles. Not to mention I wouldn't put it past some "friendly" developer to try and edge their way onto land that seems to be long forgotten.

Enter solution A: the Modern Cabana.
I first read about these prefab structures in Outdoor Magazine and I have to admit they look pretty slick. You throw a few concrete support posts under these babies and according to the site, they go up in a few days. Admittedly, I'd want to enlist the services of a skilled carpenter or construction worker to help in the process but I can't imagine that would be too pricey. The basic structure is on the small side but there are larger units to accommodate traditional living spaces, they come ready to be wired for electricity and can be fitted for plumbing to allow for kitchens and baths to be added after-the-fact. At between $11,500 and $30,980 (before shipping and varying in price based on your choice of "standard" or "upgraded" structures), these humble yet stylish little shacks could make a sweet retreat from the city without breaking the bank completely.

Solution B is the Modern Shed.
Their 10' x 12' Studio with a Deck would be the minimum size for a pint-sized, no-frills alternative to camping and costs $18,200 before shipping. Their highest-end model tops out at $39,950 (also before shipping) and comes pre-painted in custom colors with a wood interior ceiling and a nice little glass transom at the roof line. While I think a grown-up structure would be pleasing to the neighbors, there's a small part of me that wishes they sold an adult-size version of their play shed so I could live out my summer camp fantasies in style. To boot, they have eco options that utilize several green construction principles to max out the earth-friendly capacity of your customized structure.

For now we'll remain content to pitch a tent out there from time to time in the middle of newburbia just to piss off the neighbors.


Mary T. said...

We actually purchased plans (they were $35) from Readymade for a modern shed. I'll find you the link online. We haven't built it yet as we moved across the country and then we were renting, but we're still planning to. Total cost of materials is $1600! I'll find you the link. Check Shelterrific too -- I've had a couple posts on modern sheds.

I love this idea! I want property to "camp" on!

Mary T. said...

Link one:

Build your own modular dwelling plans:

Anonymous said...

Thanks a ton, Mary! Those look great. I'm gonna have to rally the troops for a construction summit. :)