The Cottage Studio: Behind the Scenes Part I

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Have you seen, my finished She Shed Project with Home Depot on their Apron blog? I recently shared the completed version of transforming a TUFF SHED from top to bottom into my creative hub for all things Design and DIY. Once my sweet shed arrived, I couldn't help but rename it, the cottage studio it just felt to fitting. I love the idea of having a backyard cottage that's full of purpose and creativity. While its always fun to a see a before and after, personally I also love to see how spaces progress from bare bones in my cottages case from just studs on the inside to a fully finished studio on the inside with electric and air conditioning. 




Planning Process 

When we started the planning process for the shed, when checked with the city with live to determine if their were any zoning restrictions on installing a 10x12 shed in our backyard. In the city we live in Northern California, they have strict guidelines for how tall, how many square feet and how close a building can be with property lines before requiring a building permit. Working closely with Tuff Shed we made sure to stay within those guidelines. We choose a TR-700 Tuff Shed and a nine light door, framed by two 24x36 windows in the front and two 36x36 windows on either side. I kept the back of the wall window free, since I envisioned bookcases filling the back wall. 

Electrical Process

After the Tuff Shed was built [ read more about the process here ] we had to get ready for electrical. We visited the building and planning department and obtained a permit to run electrical from our house to the shed. Getting the OK to dig to run electrical was super exciting! We had to dig a 20ft trench from the end of our patio where our meter and electrical panel reside to our cottage, the trench had to be 18 inches deep to pass code. Friends, digging a 18 inch trench doesn't sound that deep, unless you have hard-pan soil and rocks the size of dinosaur eggs once you dig deeper than a foot, not my idea of fun. We ended up renting a 18 inch deep trencher from The Home Depot and did a lot of hand digging. Below is an interior picture of the Tuff Shed prior to the electric being run inside. Since we planned on running electric inside, Tuff Shed installed house wrap for us, making sure our shed would be water tight. 



My husband and I have experience in changing out light fixtures, updating switches with dimmers but no experience in running power to a building, moving around amps in a main breaker box and installing electrical in an entire building or a sub panel. For this job it made THE most sense in hiring the electrical rough portion of the job out. Rough electrical basically means electrical wiring before the drywall has been covered up, and passed inspection. After receiving many quotes and talking with multiple electricians, we hired Sconce Electric to do the work, Greg the owner of Sconce Electric is simply fantastic! He and I worked on the outlet placement making sure everything was done to code and discussed at length my plans for the shed. I would highly recommend them on both big and small jobs. I'm not getting paid or getting a kick-back for saying this, just passing along good contractors to others. 

Inside we have two switches one for the interior light, one for the exterior light fixture, and six outlets that all work! We also had the electrician run electric for an AC unit (details coming in another post) and run a phone line out there. 

The day after the electrical was installed, I had my rough electrical inspection and we passed! Passing our inspection meant we were ready for insulation and drywall! The inspector who checked everything out, praised the electricians work and liked that we also choose to install a sub-panel at the shed. This means we can turn off power at both the shed and from our main breaker box. To save a little money on this job, we opted to do the finished electric ourselves meaning once the drywall was hung, we would install the outlets and light fixtures ourselves. Another way we saved money on the electrical was taking the time to get the permit ourselves, vs paying for the electricians time to do it. 


Since I knew I wanted a corner window seat inside my cottage, we placed these two windows on the corner. This is the previous view of the same space! It's amazing how different it looks. 


Below is the sub panel installed by our electrician, basically its a mini version of our main breaker box. Quick side note, all the outlets inside our grounded and our outside outlet is a GCFI enclosed in a weather proof outlet box. 


After the electrical was completed, Hasani and I spent an evening installing insulation on the walls and ceiling. To calculate how much insulation we would need to purchase, we used this calculator on The Home Depot website. This calculator also helped us determine our R - Factor. When installing insulation, its important to know which type of insulation is need for your walls and ceiling based on where you live. 


Next up, I'll share the drywall process. I personally love drywall time, for me its when a room starts taking shape. 

Home Depot Workshop: DIY Vertical Planter

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Monday friends, its DIY Workshop with The Home Depot time again! As a quick reminder, I've teamed up The Home Depot as a DIY Influencer to host DIY Workshops in store. Teaming up with the The Home Depot is fun opportunity to share with you fun DIY building projects, that are skill building helping build confidence using power tools and taking you though the building process from start to finish, My first Workshop was Building a DIY Vertical Planter, the next project was Building a DIY BBQ Grill Cart. I had an absolute blast co-hosting the workshops and hanging out with The Home Depot teams at each store. 

As you know, The Home Depot is the go to spot for tools, supplies and projects both big and small, they have it covered. For the September DIY Workshop, my friends will be sharing how to build a DIY Hanging Planter. For the upcoming workshop in September, I'll be in England visiting my bestie and unable to attend, boo! However, I'm still building a DIY Customized version of the hanging planter and will share very soon along with a quick how to. 

My fellow DIY Workshop Blogger friends will be at various locations around the country hosting DIY Workshops at Home Depot stores. I hope your able to join them at the store locations, please see below for more information. 





Please stop by my friends blogs for more details: Chris ManMade DIY, Michelle Decor and the Dog, Jamie That's My Letter, Jen House of Wood and Jamie C.R.A.F.T. I'm so looking forward to seeing the DIY Customized Version of the hanging planter my DIY buddies made! 

Please click here to register for the DIY Hanging Planter Workshop here. Also my friends will be live Tweeting and Instagram during the Workshop, please check out #DIYWorkshop to see what they're up to. 

6 Ideas to Add Curb Appeal to Garages

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Like most homeowners, I have an ever growing project list I want to slowly tackle to make my home feel more us and well like home. 

One of those items on my list is adding curb appeal to our garage. I think garages get the short end of the stick design wise with it comes to adding curb appeal, they either look amazing or ho-hum. 

I've rounded up a my top Six Ideas to Add Curb Appeal to garage. 

No 1. Build a Pergola. Pergolas above garages look amazing, up the curb appeal factor by growing a vine up the pergola. This Old House, as a great Pergola Building DIY video here


image via BHG

No. 2 Bansish your boring dated and way too small light fixtures. Personally, I love XXL light fixtures, especially next to garages. Large light fixtures are more scale appropriate next to garage doors. On my house, I choose super larage lighting to reside on the side of my garage and the look is so much cleaner and modern, then a teeny tiny light, trust me. 

image via BHG

No. 3 Carriage door style garages are a favrotite design look of my mine, they're charming and make you think of a time when everything was handcrafted and not mass produced. Installing carriage garage doors can be pricey, and if your garage door is perfectly fine its not an expense that makes sense/ However, for less than $ 30 bucks you can install carriage door hardware on your garage door, transforming your garage from so-so to wow. 


No. 4 I love the look of windows on garage doors, there are two ways to transform your existing garage door to get this look. 1.You can have garage windows install, and help bring light into your garage 2. Or install faux garage door windows, using 'window' magnets or DIY and add windows using a window panel kit, like this


No 5. The easiet way to add curb appeal to your garage, add plants! Plants soften the look of garages, add hanging baskets next to the garage door, plant a vine to grow up the side, or add large planters in front of your garage. 

image via BHG

No, 6 Install transom windows above your garage door. I love this look for a few reasons, Transom windows let light in and depending on the style you add they can open and close, letting fresh air in! Also if you have an large expanse of room above your garage door that look a bit awkward of bare, transom windows can make that dead space look purposeful. 


For my house, to up the curb appeal to our garage, I plan on softening our garage door with large planters filled with flowers, along with adding transom windows. I'm a bit obsessed with the idea of transforming all the dead space above my garage door and adding a row of transom windows that open and close. Adding these window is on my list to tackle very soon! 

Have you added curb appeal to your garage? 

My She Shed Project with The Home Depot

Thursday, August 6, 2015

It’s always been a dream of mine to have my very own creative space. I adore my small home, but it’s lacking a little extra space to call my own for: DIY Projects, Sewing, Crafting, and Drawing and of course Blogging. Currently when I working a DIY Project, my home can get quickly overran with projects pilled on our dining room table and my bedroom becomes DIY Central [ not as glamorous as it sounds, trust me ]

With that said, I have some dream news to share; I’ve teamed up with The Home Depot to collaborate on a ‘dreaming making’ project to transform a shed into my very own She Shed! This is project honestly a dream come true!! If you’re not familiar with the She Shed concept, it’s basically transforming a shed into a women’s own space that can be used for whatever they want, from a reading nook to a craft room etc.

I plan on using the She Shed, as my Creative Studio Hub for: blogging, interior design projects, sewing & upholstery, crafting and photography and more. For my shed, I choose a 10x12 TUFF SHED SundanceTR-700, giving me 120 square feet of creativity that I can call all my own. One thing [trust me I really have 100+ reasons] I love about the TUFF SHED from The Home Depot is the ability to pretty much to customize their sheds from concept to reality, or as I prefer to say dreams into reality. A year ago, I came across a book while visiting one of my best friends called ‘Stylish Sheds & Backyard Hideaways’, which was a huge source of inspiration for me while designing my TUFF SHED into my backyard studio. I worked with the Jeff, TUFF SHED regional manager in my area to help determine the best location for my shed in my backyard along with taking my concept for my shed from paper to reality. Where I live in Northern California, we have zoning guidelines for how tall, how large, and how close sheds can be placed on near easements (fence lines) and how close they are allowed to be placed near homes, before requiring a building permit.  Working with Jeff from TUFF SHED, we made sure my new she shed stayed within those guidelines so no building permit would be required. 

Exterior Design Plan

I’m so excited to share my design plan! I envisioned my TUFF SHED as a mini cottage version of our beloved rancher. I’ve already lovely renamed my She Shed, my Cottage Studio because it feels like a little backyard cottage, hang tight I’ll share my cottage soon and you’ll see how it got its new name. Below is my design inspiration board, I put together to help visualize my design plan.



For the exterior of the cottage, I decided to use the same paint colors as our house Pier by Behr and the trim Ultra Pure White by Behr, both in satin finish.  I love the idea of adding a trellis on the side of the shed and planting an evergreen flowering vine to grow up the side of the shed. I also plan on building either window flower boxes or a window ledge to hold flowers. To help our shed blend into the surroundings and feel intentional and like it’s always been a part of our yard, the plan is to enlarge our existing garden bed next to our fence line and plant a variety of drought resistance plants, flowers and ornamental tree. I have my heart set on planting either a flowering Dogwood or Crepe Myrtle tree. I think either one would be darling addition to our yard and provide a little shade. On the right side of our shed, I love the idea of planting a trio of hydrangeas that love morning sun and afternoon shade. 


image via Style Me Pretty


I also want to create a pathway that leads to the studio, my favorite look is stone or brick steps placed in grass.


For the interior design of the shed, I plan on painting the walls a very pale grey with white baseboards, similar to the interior of our house. I plan on using bookcases to hold books, my sewing machine fabric and more. I’m so excited my ever growing fabric stash will have a new permanent more organized home. I also love the idea of building a window seat inside, filled with lots of colorful pillows giving me extra seating inside and a spot to curl-up blog and read at.


Image via the Everygirl 


Now, drumroll please the moment you’ve all been waiting for, here’s my she shed! It was so exciting watching the arriving my shed, on the back of the trailer. The TUFF SHED was prefabricated then built on site. It was so exciting watching my shed arrive and seeing how everything was put together. 



To prep our yard for the arrival of the shed, we removed our grass and laid down gravel to give our shed a nice even pad to sit on top of. The build team of Bill and Joe where extremely nice and paid attention to detail while building our TUFF SHED. Since I’ll be using my TUFF SHED as my creative hub year round and the interior will have insulation and drywall, TUFF SHED added house wrap inside which creates a weather resistant barrier to my shed. 


Now for a better look at our new TUFF SHED that is now called my Cottage Studio, isn’t my cottage the cutest! I’m in love with it, the shed is the perfect size and fit for our backyard. I’m in love with the twin windows in the front of the shed, and the door! The front door on our shed, matches our laundry door that we enter / exit to our backyard. Doesn’t the door we chose, give off cute cottage vibes! I love rooms filled with natural light, so lots of windows were a must. In the front there are two 2 24x36 windows and on each side of the shed 2 36x36 windows and it also has a skylight! I'm in love with the skylight, best decision ever! The skylight lets in pretty opaque lighting in, which is such a must. 




I can't wait to plant the perfect vine to grown along up along the side of the cottage, its going to look so pretty, along with adding plants in the front like I mention above. 


Now for some quick photos of the inside of the cottage, its amazing how much different the inside of my little cottage looks compared to just when it first arrived. The white inside of the shed, is the house wrap I mentioned above to help keep my cottage water tight. 






Now that our shed has been installed, we’ve been hard at work getting the shed framed inside and ready for insulation and drywall, along digging a trench for electrical. I'll share more of the Electrical details in another post. 

Exciting things are happening and I’m so excited to share our finished cottage in a few weeks with you all. 

Friends, what do you think of my new she shed? Could your backyard also use your own creative outlet?

This Post is Sponsored by The Home Depot

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in this shed program. As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot.  All expressed opinions and experiences are in my own words.  My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission
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