A Prefab Shed that Provides Refuge for Work and Play

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By William Lamb / Published by Dwell
When Marco V. Morelli’s home office became his daughter’s bedroom, he found an ideal workspace in an unexpected place—his backyard.

In the end, it was sheer desperation that pushed Marco V. Morelli out his back door and into his yard.

A Prefab Shed that Provides Refuge for Work and Play - Photo 1 of 1 -

Marco V. Morelli says his Studio Shed is the perfect refuge. “It’s changed my life for the better,” he says. “I’ve gotten so much more work done, and I think my marital relations are much better because I have a place of my own.”

Morelli and his wife, Kayla, were running a successful Web-design business out of their two-bedroom house in Longmont, Colorado, about 15 miles northeast of Boulder, when the birth of their first child upended their routine. One of the bedrooms, which Morelli had been using as an office, went to their daughter, Carmen. Once she began crawling and talking, it became virtually impossible for Morelli to get anything done around the house. 

He considered renting an office in town, he says, "and found a couple of places that were cheap, but the cheaper they were the worse they were." He tried coworking, but that didn’t pan out, either. "I was just desperate," he says. "I needed a place where I could get my work done and write. It was existential."

Eventually, he found a solution mere feet from his back door. "We don’t have a big yard, but it had enough space," he says. "I just started dreaming of building something where I could walk out and work in my own little room without having to pay rent or leave the property." 

A Google search led him to Studio Shed, and he used the virtual configurator on the company’s website to design a ten-by-14-foot shed clad in ruby-red Collins Truwood Siding and corrugated metal. Morelli had to get a building permit for his shed because it was larger than 120 square feet, but he says it was worth the extra hassle to carve out a little additional space. He cleared and leveled the ground himself, and a friend helped him pour a concrete foundation. It took a Studio Shed crew three days to assemble the outbuilding, and then another friend helped Morelli put up the drywall and install in-floor electric radiant heat. Another neighbor laid down the Brazilian black-slate flooring.

The finished shed feels like an extension of Morelli’s home, and yet separate from it in a way that lets him focus—a need that took on renewed urgency when Kayla gave birth to the couple’s second child, Beatrice, in late 2013. "There’s a number of nice things about it," he says. "One is that I can work from home. I can work anytime; I can walk out the door and have a very private space that’s conducive to getting things done and to being creative. Two, the whole design of it is cool. We have an older house that was built in the 1890s, so the juxtaposition of old and modern is nice. And I think in the long run it’s saving us money because we don’t have to move, and we don’t have to put an addition on the house."