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The Backyard Shed: Your New Home Office?

September 9, 2020

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Image of a The Backyard Shed, the new Santa Barbara home office

Sales of backyard sheds are spiking.  It seems more and more homeowners are needing a Santa Barbara home office. After all, the idea of a separate, quiet, office space is top of mind for many folks who used to trudge to an office downtown, or, even in some cases, to LA. They know that adding a backyard shed to their property not only frees up space inside their home, it also allows a space to get the work done with all the quiet and privacy needed.

“Working from home has quickly become living at work,” said Scott Roberts, vice president and head of business development at LinkedIn. Employees at LinkedIn were recently told they’d need to work from home – possibly for an extended period. So, Roberts built a 12-by-16 foot, year-round, designer shed in his backyard to use as his office. “It is really critical to separate the spaces we use,” Roberts added. “I have to be focused. If you’re not able to create some separation between life and work, this will become so much more difficult.”

READ: Home Improvement: Repair, Remodel or Renovate?

If you Google home office sheds, you’ll find lots of articles about the topic, as well as information on companies like Studio Shed, which specializes in prefab models. The company has sold five times as many home office units in the last three months compared to the same months last year and is on track to sell 10 times more than the previous year in a single month. The best-seller, its Signature Series model, ranges from 64-to-240 square-feet and starts at $10,500. Their kit includes optional interior details, electrical and insulation. Typically, the company takes care of its customers -- from online customization to home delivery -- in just a few weeks.

Matamata, New Zealand - December 12th 2019: Hobbiton Movie Set. The famous filming location of The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings - something that people are copying for their separate backyard office shed.

Getting Started

Your backyard Santa Barbara home office shed not only offers a place to work that’s spacious and functional, but you can’t beat the commute. Backyard office sheds are great for giving you the ability to be in close proximity to home, yet they take you away from all the distractions that can interrupt your workday.

READ: Survey Finds More People Are Working From Home Today

Before you begin, keep in mind, anything you add or build on your property requires planning and, possibly, permits. Start by doing your due diligence to find the best shed and enclosure builders in town. It is important that you work with a professional that knows our city’s guidelines for adding a structure and can get the proper permits and approvals prior to starting the work. That will prevent any major headache down the road, like having to move or remove the shed, or paying fines for breaking any laws and bylaws.

Choose the perfect backyard space

Here are important things to consider when selecting the perfect space in your backyard:

  • Stay clear of low-lying trees and limbs to avoid damage to your Santa Barbara home office shed roof and shingles.
  • Clear large roots and root systems away from the area to prevent possible damage later.
  • Consider your home’s plumbing and pipes and steer clear of both.
  • Determine how the new structure will affect your home. Are any of those amazing ocean and mountain views impeded? Will the separate building block natural sunlight from any room? Will it affect your home’s value?

A beautiful small shed with nice chairs and a lot of flowers in the backyard, painted new in white.

Choosing a shed style

Now for the fun part. The choices and styles of backyard office sheds are practically endless. Narrow your choice by considering the style you want. Today’s backyard office sheds can be a beautiful focal point for any Santa Barbara home office. These outside buildings will also add value to your home when the time comes to sell. They come in a variety of designs, sizes, and costs. That means any Santa Barbara homeowner can find the perfect one for their backyard and get to work.

READ: 8 Steps to Creating the Minimalist Home Office

Most people prefer to keep the style of their home in mind when selecting or creating a backyard office shed in order to create a cohesive look to the entire property. For instance, the new owners of the Striking Mid-Century Modern Home on the Riviera featured on my website might look to add a modern looking office shed once they move in. Meantime, a rustic cabin office shed could be the perfect addition to the French Country-Style Montecito Home in Birnam Wood that is currently for sale on my site.

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Whether you choose a prefab, or a premium office shed, the material you use will make all the difference when it’s completed. Choose from wood, metal, or other material. Just keep in mind how the separate room will affect the value of your property, your neighbor’s property, and the neighborhood.

The internet is filled with prefab shed kits, easy for your contractor to put together. But you can also choose to build a premium, non-fabricated office from scratch. Backyard Office delivers and installs non-prefab sheds in Central Texas in as little as four weeks, and is expanding nationwide soon. The company prides itself on building every backyard office onsite using the same quality materials and methods likely used to build your home.

You can also find a flat-pack version of a cabin online called Kabinka from Hungarian design studio Hello Wood. It unveiled the affordable, compact cabin that comes complete with a kitchenette, bed, desk, and couch. The timber cabin is built from one-meter-long modules and is available in four different sizes—from S (129 square feet) to XL (215 square feet)—which are constructed from five to eight modules. Additional modules, such as a terrace or roof shading, are also available as add-ons.

Set-up, decorate and move-in

Getting your Santa Barbara home office shed set-up and decorated the way you want can be the most exciting part of the journey. From painting and flooring to setting up your workspace with office supplies, adding your personal touches will make all the difference, especially when it’s time to get to work.

If you’re wavering between adding a home office shed to your existing home or waiting until you buy a new home in any of Santa Barbara’s amazing communities, I’m here to help. Just give me a call at +1 (805) 886-9378 or email me at Cristal@Montecito-Estate. I’ll be happy to offer my expertise and help you make the right decision.

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“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch