Alternative living spaces have grown in popularity in recent years. Some say the recession and tough economic times had a lot to do with this new found appreciation for the "less is more" mentality; regardless of the causes, the fact is, more of us are simply looking for ways to downsize. Our priorities appear to be shifting and with the many changes in society, it makes perfect sense these days that many are converting their eco garden shed into a cozy cottage apartment.
We'll explore some of the incredible ways average folks are creating extraordinary living quarters, via their environmentally safe buildings, without investing a lot of money. First, though, let's take a look at what might be driving these new mindsets.
The recession is the most obvious answer. The job losses, foreclosures and heavy financial burdens in recent years has limited many Americans' options. Not only that, but there are parents whose college students are returning home either after dropping out for a semester or graduating, only to learn the job market is challenging. Mom and Dad want to assist Jr., but both recognize the need for privacy and a small apartment on their property is just what's needed for both Mom's nerves and Jr's sense of pride. These are probably two of the biggest factors in this shift.
So how do you go about investing in an environmentally safe building and then converting your green garden shed into a stylish living space that doesn't feel cramped, but provides everything you need? We have the answers - keep reading.
Find - and Define - the Space
ECO Garden Sheds has many styles of elegant lifestyle buildings. With tons of options, like windows, overhangs, loft designs and even door choices, finding the right building really is easy. What you want to be careful with, however, is ensuring you don't purchase a too-small green building; otherwise, you defeat your purpose - especially if your goal is to convert into an apartment for rental income.
First Things First
Have you worked out a budget? That's really important and a strong plan of action ensures you include everything you want into your new living space. There's a lot to consider at this stage of the game, including:
You'll want to be sure it's absolutely level. If you initially purchased it, put it in place and then realized it was just a tiny fraction away from being level, you might have overlooked it. For a living space, though, it could mean big problems. For instance, a refrigerator that's leaning even slightly might prevent the doors from sealing and as a result, it could be running far more than it has to in order to keep your food cold. It can also affect your plumbing, as well, so be sure it's level from the start, otherwise, converting your eco garden shed could prove very expensive.
Also, all of our environmentally safe all natural wood luxury buildings that include windows will arrive with plexiglass. You might want to consider an energy saving glass window. Again, this can really help you make the most of your investment while also keeping you loyal to your green commitment.
You may wish to install deadbolts on the doors for your safety and don't forget the insulation - again, it comes down to saving energy (and money) over the course of time.
Next up is your plumbing and electrical. As a rule, we strongly encourage our customers to hire a contractor for these purposes. You don't want to compromise safety and a professional installation is a far better investment than a homeowner who might not be as confident in his efforts. Ask for recommendations from friends and family on wiring and safe load requirements.
Your flooring choices are important as well. Tile or hardwood are often the first choice for homeowners and if you do select hardwood, you can easily stain it to match your Eco Garden Shed. Of course, the floors meet the walls so this will also be an important element. Here's where many find themselves against the wall (no pun intended) - they are too focused on sticking to tradition as they would a traditional house. Consider going with the loft look and feel. You'll still be able to wall your bathroom for privacy, but other than that, you'll probably feel cramped if you try to neatly categorize your kitchen from your living space. Plan carefully and vision what it looks like in your mind.
Converting Your Eco Garden Shed
Once you have all of that in place, it comes down to the aesthetics and visual appeal. Think bright and airy colors - it opens any space up. The same goes for your window treatment options - lighter is better and in fact, you might want to consider horizontal blinds. They don't take up much space, but can add a sense of height to your new cottage. As far as paint, we recommend Benjamin Moore for both the interior and exterior.
Today, finding space saving furniture options are much easier. Consider environmentally safe home furnishings - many modern home furnishing companies offer a line of eco friendly choices. Consider a loveseat and chair instead of a sofa. Opt for wall mounted televisions and in your eating space, a lovely bar height table and stools might be perfect for your limited space.
Think outside the box when it comes to your storage solutions. If your luxury lifestyle cottage convert provides for a loft and you opt to install a compact staircase instead of a ladder, consider shelving under the stairs for books or even a small writing desk.
Choose space saving and environmentally friendly stacked washers and dryers, too and you can make the argument that a shower is better than a traditional bathtub in these smaller living alternatives.
Finally, we have a few recommendations that are worth your consideration, including the Summer 13x10 hard wood cabin. This incredible design is good for the environment, offers plenty of natural light, courtesy of the front that offers up for large windows - including two in the door - and a handsome overhang. There's storage space in the loft area or can you attach a stylish ladder to include it in your living space.
The Star 13x10 Wood Shed is another great choice. It too is constructed of all natural, eco friendly wood. It offers plenty of windows for all the natural light you could need and the flat roof and lean-to give it a "homey" feeling. It's classic, simple and an all around great investment. The trio of windows that sit higher than average, along with the double doors, complete with glass that occupies the majority of the doors, is inviting and airy. No worries about feeling cramped in this beauty. A bit of landscaping, a few patio chairs, an evening sunset and suddenly, life is good.
Don't forget - it's an investment that affords you many options. Whether you turn it into an in-law cottage or a second home for your college kids, this is a solution that you'll turn to time and again over the years. Step outside the box, allow your creativity to take over and don't forget to share your photos with us - we would love to see what your Eco Garden Shed looks like after you've made it your own.