Making a Mullet Shed
What else would you call an outbuilding equipped for business on the top and parties on the bottom?
Last time on Angela bought a house with a ginormous barn, I had recently come to terms with the house I wanted, and the shed I wasn’t so sure about. The house was a home run. It was the size we needed, in an area I loved, and it came with not one, but two fireplaces. As an added “bonus,” some would say, the home also came with a very large partially finished shed. When I finally sat down with my friend who has a doctorate in Psychology, I figured out it wasn’t the maintenance of the barn I was afraid of, it was the promise.
I purchased my home in 2019, and since then I have been playing possum with this shed. I start to think about all the things that it could be, become quickly overwhelmed, and then freeze under the pressure of it all. But not now. Now is the time I renovate the barn!
Because I am smart enough to know that I am dumb enough about most things, I went to my friend, designer, and barn handyman Adam Greer to talk it out. For someone as creative as Adam is, I was surprised at how pointed he was in helping me dig into the heart of the matter.
The first thing he challenged me to do was to define the relationship with my shed space. “You should ask yourself, what is your intended primary use for the space,” Adam said. “Do you want a space someone else could use as a spare quarters, or do you want a space to work and entertain in, an extension of your outdoor entertaining area?” he asked.
Well that’s a great question, Adam, and to quote “The Brady Bunch,” I never thought of it that way. I had thought about using it as a grandma’s quarters for my mom whenever she retires, or possibly using it as an Airbnb; and while those all still sounded like good options, both of those use cases include some variables that are out of my control, i.e. what if my mom doesn’t want to live there, or I end up not wanting to deal with people renting/staying in my backyard. By going this route, I could potentially be building a church for Easter.
I am an overall practical sort, and the idea of building a space and spending a chunk of change on a “maybe” wasn’t the most attractive road for me. That being said, having this epiphany really helped me in ruling out those options.
So with grandma’s palace out of the running, and me getting out of the bed and breakfast biz, it was time to consider what the shed could be to me and my son. The thought of a playroom had been suggested, but to be fair, my entire house is already a playroom, and as many of my experienced parent friends pointed out, the playroom is for a season, not for forever.
Then if this shed isn’t for my son, that means it’s for me, and that was sort of a deeper reflection point than I realized. A space that was all mine and was solely focused on something that I dreamt up. “This barn has the possibility to improve or add to your current living space,” Adam said. “Think about what this new space may allow for your lifestyle.”
My lifestyle. Well, currently my lifestyle is a sleep-deprived mom of a toddler. I work from home, I like to entertain friends when I can stay up past 8 p.m., but I don’t want to wake up my son in the middle of the night. I am also a writer, and as appealing as my kitchen table is, it would be nice to have a dedicated space to create.
What I felt like I was describing was a space for business on the top and parties on the bottom. That’s when it hit me. The shed has a loft that could be my writing, creative, and business space. Underneath the loft there are built-in cabinets and a space for a bar, there is a wood burning fireplace perfect for couches and chairs, large televisions, and a nice entertaining/party space. My barn was a mullet. My architectural mullet!
Armed with my revelation and some more definitive direction, I brought my plan to Adam. He dug it, but he did have some words of gentle-yet-practical wisdom. “Time and supply issues will not be in our favor, nor will the rising cost of materials,” Adam said, “Also, projects no matter what size and scale, can always become tense and stressful. Be open to different ideas and be flexible with pitfalls.”
Suddenly my college friend was less like the 1999 beer pong champion and more like Mr. Miyagi. And he’s right, it’s good to know these things going in. So let’s do it, let’s build me a mullet shed, Adam!
Adam says our first step is to design a floor plan and feel. Stay tuned for whatever that means in our next installment, Angela learns to read a blueprint.