This backyard shed near downtown Atlanta pairs nicely with the 1920s Craftsman bungalow home it sits behind. Designed by architect Cynthia Karegeannes, the new shed stands where a somewhat dilapidated lean-to had stood for many years.
When the homeowners, a couple with two children, decided to upgrade, they kept the same location but incorporated more details from the house into the design. “It looks like it has always been there, or should have been there,” Karegeannes says. “It looks like it’s intentionally placed, and it does echo the architecture of the home, yet it has its own identity.”
By maintaining the shed’s original footprint during the renovation, they were able to keep it in its original location near the property line in the yard’s rear corner, rather than complying with more recent regulations that would have mandated a larger setback. They also avoided having to go through a neighborhood review and zoning board, though it did require a building permit. “It seemed that was the best solution for this particular project,” Karegeannes says of keeping the shed in its original location. Otherwise, they could have moved it closer to the house and lost a portion of the yard.
The homeowners weren’t restricted as to what their shed could look like, as their home is not in a historical district, but they wanted to tie it in with their 1920s bungalow. “They really wanted something that echoed the character of the house but still felt unique,” Karegeannes says.
Karegeannes, who remodeled the main house several years prior to designing the shed, incorporated the same clipped gable detail and used the same cedar shake shingle siding with a rain screen and asphalt shingles. The fiber cement white trim and wood windows are in the same style as the house. In fact, the main window on the side of the shed is an original from the house. The rest are wood Jeld-Wen windows in the same historical style.
The team built the shed with standard two-by-four frame construction. It is rough-framed inside but could easily be insulated and finished if they decide to turn it into a guest house in the future. The eaves remain open with no soffits and expose the rafter tails. They opted against a stone foundation around the shed’s base, shaving a few thousand dollars off the overall budget.
Karegeannes also added details to distinguish the shed, including a shed dormer off its side. A pergola extends off the side to provide shelter when the homeowners grill and also to balance out the structure’s mass.
Two 8-by-8-inch cedar posts atop flagstone footings anchor the pergola, a detail Karegeannes was adamant about. “The visual weight of the 8-by-8 really makes a difference, because there are only two,” she says, even though smaller posts would have sufficed. “Those two needed to look strong and have visual weight to balance the shed.” The top supports of the pergola are 2 by 8 inches, and the cross members are 2 by 4 inches.
The sliding barn door is another distinct feature of the shed. Custom made by Innovative Construction, the project’s contractors, it slides over a lockable steel door that covers a 36-by-80-inch door opening.
The shed sits about 40 feet from the back of the house and 4 feet higher on a hillside that leads to the surrounding neighbors. “It is set in the slope and grows out of the land,” Karegeannes says. They couldn’t change the grade around the shed’s existing footprint, as this would affect neighboring properties, so they built a retaining ledge and wrapped it around the building to then become the foundation for the pergola.
A new fire pit and seating area fronts the shed, replacing what had been a driveway. The same flagstone from the pergola was used in the fire pit.
The homeowners don’t have a garage, but they wanted to be able to store everything for the yard, including lawnmowers, tools and outdoor toys, as well as athletic gear, outside. By keeping the shed small and using architectural details that tie in with the main house, it appears more like a little house perched on a hill, rather than a storage shed.
The same shingle siding and clipped gable roofline seen in the shed is present in the main house. A second story was added several years ago during a remodel.
General contractor: Innovative Construction