And so began construction of my little office, with the shoveling and pounding of two yards of gravel.
“Yeah baby, spank those rocks. Spank ’em good.”
August 2013. The back story: For the past two years if I wanted to work from home I had little in the way of options: the couch, my bed or the kitchen table. None of those are spaces that are conducive to focus and concentration. We live in a 1,000-square-foot house, so space is at a premium. My old office got turned into a bedroom when Kid 2 was born, and my husband’s office is eligible for an episode of Hoarders.
We looked at converting our spare bedroom in the basement, but we do have company from time to time, and frankly, that room is grim. Dark, cold and devoid of sunlight. Then I went a bit crazy and started thinking about building an addition on the house, but spending $100k is a little outside our budget. Then I thought, why not insulate the space above the garage? But as it turned out, building a habitable space up in the rafters would require raising the roof by several feet.
So obviously the only logical solution is an outbuilding.
I don’t want to call it a shed, but it’s a shed. A cozy, furnished, heated and powered shed, but a shed nonetheless. We bought a prefab kit that looked like it would suit the job. The reviews online said two people could put it together in about eight hours. Neither of us are particularly handy people, so we figured a weekend of hard work could get it done.
This is what we accomplished the first day.
I’m not sure even Mike Holmes (sorry, Americans and overseas readers – I don’t know who the US equivalent would be. Pick the star of your favourite home reno show) could put this together in eight hours. Maybe day two would see more progress?
End of Day 2. I have a floor and one corner.
Screw this noise. We are working until we drop. Long past sundown, into the wee hours of the morning, we had something that was starting to look like a small shed.
And then I dropped.
So my husband and I are lying there on the floor, looking up at the stars, when the same thought crosses our minds:
“I wonder how high those power lines are?”
It’s funny because we genuinely have no idea and will find out when we attempt to put the roof on.
Monday saw us both back at work so we only had a couple hours in the evening. We put part of the roof together and installed the skylights. Skylights! We had to stop when I started wearing one of the gable pieces like a hat and the husband told me I should wear it to bed because it made me look like a sexy roofing nun.
Tuesday I tried to assemble a door (yes a door) by myself and it brought me to tears.
Wednesday. Installed two doors and a gable all by myself. Used pieces of furniture in place of helping hands to hold things steady. Broke my middle finger hitting it with a hammer. Total drag. I use that one a lot.
Saturday. We call in reinforcements. In other words, my father-in-law. It’s together… sort of. The doors don’t close. We have to re-level it and shim it and possibly sacrifice a small animal to the ancient ones.
Some weeks later, after multiple calls to the manufacturer, the doors close tolerably. Only it’s the end of fall. There’s frost on the ground in the morning. Winter is around the corner. Winter in Canada. No point in working on it now…
Spring 2014. We have had a hellish winter. I’ve been writing in coffee shops and my bedroom and airport departure gates and everywhere but my little shed. So I’m like, let’s get this shit done. We start cleaning out the winter debris and moving furniture in as time permits.
Today: the husband takes Kid 1 and Kid 2 camping for the weekend and I am free to move things into my shed uninterrupted. I’ve been collecting various things for the past year, and they finally have a home.
A wordsmithette’s home.
A few typewriter friends… from left to right: Ivy, Casper the Haunted Typewriter and The First.
Awesome, right? It still needs to be wired for electricity – currently I’m making do with an extension cord – and I have a couple more pictures to frame and hang, but for all intents and purposes, it’s finished.
I love it. It’s my own place. Everyone knows the famous quote from Virginia Woolf: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” This is my room of my own. I will do great things here.
(with inspiration from My Cool Shed.)