Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The story of the blue shed

I spend a ridiculous amount of my free time thinking about sheds... I'm a sucker for a cute mini-home, and what is a shed if not a potential mini home?  (don't answer that.)  Despite many years of longing, though, I've never actually come close to possessing a shed of any description.  Let alone one that looks like this:

I am so in love with this thing! 

It's such a shame we can't use it straightaway for a guest nest, but I don't think a guest would really want to be sent out to sleep here.  The space between the shed and cottage doors is the buggiest of all areas at the cottage, making for a long and adventurous walk to the bathroom at 3am.  Probably the barn doors don't create a good bug seal either.  Not a good sell for repeat visits.

note the tiny bug lantern on the ramp, making photography possible

Now that we have it, I'm wondering why we don't have a cool shed like this at our house, and the answer is, garage.  It's been years since we parked a vehicle in the little freestanding garage at the back of our lot, though we did when we first bought the house and before we started filling it with junk.  It has become a shed by definition, and it's hard to justify a 'shed' when you already have one big enough to accommodate a pickup truck.

The reason this cute new cottage shed exists is because the original shed, a practical metal structure that had served my uncle well for several decades, was finally starting to fall apart and had a massive dent in the roof from a fallen tree that impacted the door operation.  The door frame itself was already pretty short and Pete kept hitting his head on it, which made the dent sort of a last straw.  Plus, we were trying to simplify the process of closing up in the fall - we felt that a larger shed with a taller roofline would let us store a few things in a shelter that isn't the cottage, so that when we show up in the spring, we can just unpack.

(fun fact: the only outdoor thing we have been storing indoors, other than the super heavy deck furniture we drag a few feet into the living room, is the canopy for a pedal boat. logic is not my strong point when it comes to homelike structures.)

After several years of trying to figure out how to acquire a bigger, better shed - truly, this proved to be a much more complicated procedure than we thought it would be, mainly owing to the remoteness of our location - we had
a/ upped our budget and
b/ met Mike. 

Mike, who is extremely handy and took on a few cottagers' home projects as a way of easing into retirement, had time to build us a shed after rebuilding our deck, a project that really was necessary.  Bonus: he subscribes to a magazine that had instructions for this design.  He thought it would be fun to build and given that he would be working out in bugsville for the duration, we were more than happy to let him choose the actual project.  He started last fall, after we'd closed up and left for the year, which is why I am still so excited every time I look out the kitchen window and see this thing, or pull into the driveway.

It's very, very blue, isn't it?  That's the first thing I notice about it, and then the cool roofline which will never need to be propped up to support a snow load. 

When the project was well underway Mike e-mailed me to ask what colour we wanted him to stain it.  I wanted red because I always default to red, but Pete was not a fan.  We asked Bob what he thought - he's renovated so many properties, he's my go-to guy for decision-making help - and he suggested blue, to echo the lake on the other side of the cottage.  Pete and I could agree on that, so we told Mike blue.  Mike asked, Which blue?

So I searched the site for the local lumber chain Mike was using to see what brands of stain they carry, and after that, the site for the stain manufactuere, and after that, presented the on-screen depiction of various shades of available blue to all our stakeholders.

We ended up with this blue, and I absolutely LOVE it!  Mike sent us a picture in the fall when it was done, but a picture is not the same as seeing this thing in person, even though I am doing my best for you here. 

And he didn't tell us about all the moveable shelves he built for us and put inside, so that was a fantastic surprise.  What do you think of this 50s grey sideboard?? My uncle found it somewhere and has been using it all these years to store tools.  It dominated the old shed but looks tiny in here, if you ask me.

The only thing I would change is something I wouldn't change anyway - the shed faces the driveway now, instead of the lake, the way the original one did.  Because we changed the location of the shed (we kinda had to - we had stone poured and compressed to make a pad for the new shed, then moved everything from the old shed into the cottage, built the new shed, then tore down the old shed, and it's tough to overlap all those activities in one physical space)  the lake-facing slope was going to be too steep for rolling the barbeque into the shed for the winter.  Also, the position of the trees at the driveway frame an entry here perfectly. 

But the only windows now face east, and that makes the shed a little darker than it needs to be.

Oh well.  The view is still kinda pretty!

Now that we have the shed sorted out for the next few decades, I find my thoughts turning to a different conversation I had with Mike, about how to enlarge our kitchen.  The cottage roofline is a bit iffy but he thought it would be possible to extend one section of it, where it's peaked at the correct angles, and that section coincides with the exact width of our countertop and eating area. 

It would be wise though if I left this whole idea at 'thinking about'.  I mean, by one school of thought, it's good to get all your renovation experience into one compact block of time so it doesn't spoil the rest of your life - plus, when you find a great contractor, use that great contractor - but by another: how are ya gonna pay for all that work? 

I guess the best thing right now is for me to enjoy the shed, and do a little more spinning while I ponder.  Spinning always helps me get things straight!


Sylvia said...

I love reading your blog and all your adventures!

Mary Keenan said...

Thanks Sylvia! That's so nice of you :^) I'll spare you guys today's adventures though... who knew so much could go wrong with one furniture delivery, aiiiiee