Sunday, September 8, 2019

On sheds

Somehow, it is true that we live in shed country. My Vancouver neighborhood was built in the 1930s, with large lots. Plenty of space for auxiliary construction, and nature abhors a vacuum!

When we lived in (fill in the blank:) Tulsa, or Houston, or Nashville, there were a few sheds in those cities (maybe; not sure), but not two in every yard! I love my neighbors, because they are great friends and cool people. But also because they have a lot of sheds. It's a new way of life to me. It's a way of expanding your reach over your land. It's a way of making a CAMPUS of what would otherwise be, well, a HOUSE. Jeff told me that in Vancouver you can built a shed, up to 200 square feet, without a permit, and I suppose that rule feeds Shed Fever. It doesn't hurt that he and Jose have excellent construction skills. They have constructed what might be called Taj Mahals, but for that pesky 200' requirement. Such attention to finish detail! Straight lines; good materials. Over the fence, I see: a massive grape arbor/outdoor patio, a huge and lovely grape-covered patio, yet another (uncovered) outside patio, and a shed that served as a teen boy hangout, and a shed that is a fine artist's studio (with a vew of the Fremont Bridge!), and a high-ceilinged garden shed to die for, and two detached garages, and a new wraparound deck that's covered and has surround benches, and the list goes on. That is just in TWO properties.

I built a carport (to ward off hot summer sun and bird poo). Sort of like a shed. We're building a metal shed now, from a kit (as the many sheet metal cuts to my hands can attest). Because the outdoor table and chairs, and the fire pit, and the wheelbarrow need a place. That kit has about 10,000 parts, so shedbuilding is not a matter to be undertaken lightly.

You get to the point where any open space starts screaming for a new shed. Just so, there is another space where I could build a 10x20 shed, tricked out as a spare bedroom, with electricity and a chamber pot and wraparound deck. It could even have a secret door to an underground wine cellar. And a rooftop sun lounge! Maybe a small antenna to listen for extraterrestrial signals! ("Is anybody out there?" thank you, Pink Floyd).

It's not like we don't have nice homes. Each of us has a very nice home. If we were normal like you, we could just sit inside our homes and not even think about sheds. But there is a Lure of the Shed here, be it She-shed, or He-shed, or They-shed. It's enough to make you shed a tear. It beckons the hammer, the saw. You get your dream juices flowing. You are charmed by the Siren Call of The Home Depot (is that a rail stop for houses who travel by train?), or the Lure of Lowes. Eagerly you reach for the bait, only to find the hook in your mouth. The new shed rises. It's almost like San Gimignano, where it was fashionable to make your home as tall as you possibly could, only here it's about making the campus of your dreams, a network of locii for your luxurious livification.

We climb mountains because we can (well, some of us can). We "shed" because we can. Some say that experiences are worth more than "stuff," and there is the truth of it. Building a shed is about the design, the building, and the pride in a job well done. The fact that you can store stuff in it is ancillary. Right? Right?

But build it well. Because the World is Watching. And, who put the "shed" in "dashed," as in, "the shed failure dashed his hopes?"

(photo credit:

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