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Stacey's W. shed building journey: "Welcome to My Shed!"

Shed assembly journey documented by Stacey W. from Virginia

A first-hand story shared and written by our customer Stacey W. from Virginia.

Disclaimer: Stacey is a freelance writer and was very kind to offer us permission* to publish this story. We are absolutely delighted to have been given a glimpse into the birth of a she shed, and are grateful to her for the enticing and honest writing ♥

*Stacey did not receive any compensation or incentives from SolidBuild® to document or share her experience.

This is the story of my She-Shed, which I now call "True North" because it gives me so much inspiration and purpose. I looked for several weeks in the winter of 2020 for a refuge I could install that would give me a place to write and to relax in, away from three men and three dogs. I just wanted my own little world when I needed it!  After searching online, I found SolidBuild, a wonderful company in Illinois that provides the materials for you to build a beautiful woodsy shed that was precisely what I wanted. They were terrific to consult and work with, and so, in March, I decided to purchase one of their sheds, the Bristhol, and install it myself!  Why not? I am only 65 years young and recently retired.  And, so, I began a fabulous journey that I am proud to share with anyone interested!  I hope my story here inspires you to build one yourself—you won't regret it!

First Phase: Shed Delivery & Foundation Building

Once I ordered the shed, it took about two weeks to arrive by freight. Because the pallet was so large, they could not use a lift, so my sons and I had to unload the wood and parts by hand. We put all the wood in the garage, where it sat for about two weeks until the rain stopped and I had time to prepare the foundation. There is a lot of wood, so be prepared to keep it covered someplace (or ask SolidBuild to hold off the shipping for a bit)! 

I drafted a design from one of the sheds I saw on their website because it was also a Bristhol and had a nice small deck built into the front. I decided to create the same foundation as this design, which involved using pressure-treated boards and cement blocks on which the shed would sit.  Once I finished the design and worked out all the measurements, I finalized the location on our property to a sunny, southern exposure, which I love.

Because of the size of our lot, our county did not require a permit for any structure under 256 sq feet. The only stipulation was that if we built it close to the property line (which it is), it had to be no more than 8'6" high. So, another plus of this shed is that it comes in at 8'2"!  But check your requirements where you live to be sure. And I made sure my neighbors knew what I was building—they love it, which makes me happy!

It took about 2 1/2 days to build the entire foundation. I did the initial step all by myself, which was a chore because I had to check and recheck the levels continually. I also had to dig holes where the concrete blocks would go. I used 12 block locations to support it, which was plenty. This was a tough day, but afterward, my younger son helped me put in the joists that would support the shed itself.  And now we were ready to build the shed itself!

Shed Unloading
Shed unloding
shed stacked for temporary storage
We unloaded the wood in about 40 minutes from the delivery company and then stored it in my garage for two weeks until the foundation was completed and the rain stopped.


Building shed foundation
Building she shed foundaiton
Treated wood shed founadtion in progress
I built the foundation using a blueprint from another builder.  I chose to set the shed between bushes for privacy, facing south for sun exposure.  I set it on blocks and leveled it—this took a whole day working alone. 


Shed foundation nearly done
Shed foundation completed
My younger son then helped me with the joists. That's a tough job to do alone because of the need to level them constantly. I didn't put front deck joists in until later, as this created more space to work.


Second Phase: Shed Assembly

Once the foundation was done and solid, we built the shed in one day from the ground up to the gables. This was the one day when my sons said they would help ALL day (it is a SHE shed, so of course they thought I should build it alone :)) We started in the morning, and by sundown, we were done!  Amazing!

The company sent excellent step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow.  The first step involved attaching the shed to the foundation with anchors, which my older son did, and then we simply built the walls per the instructions, fitting them like Lincoln Logs. Once I decided where the windows would be, we had to stop and cut the boards to fit, but those were the only cuts needed. Everything else is perfectly pre-cut!  Since you can put the windows anywhere, the company sends you enough wood to cut and fit them in fairly easily.  You don't have to put in windows, and I considered not, but I am SO glad I did.  Even though there's a lot of glass in the front, it's nice looking out the sides... and they give a good breeze.

Once we got to the gables, we were done with the installation of the main body of the shed. Time to collapse and feel good about a productive day!

Anchoring shed floor joists
Shed window installation
Shed window installation progress
My older son attached the shed to the foundation using wood screw anchors.  The boys and I then began layering the walls and moved the windows in place.  We cut the wood to fit around them, which was fairly straightforward.


Cutting boards for add-on windows
Shed assembly progress
Garden shed front assembly
The back of the shed went up very quickly, and then we worked on securing the front windows and doors.  Again, everything was easily marked, the front glass was in great shape, and it all went quickly. 


Finishing shed facade
Day one over
The final step of the day (try to put up the shed on a nice day, it really helps physically and mentally!) was to install the gables and then crash!:)  We all slept well that night!


Third Phase: Roof & Floor

Now I had to put on the roof boards, upon which the shingles would be installed. This step consisted of hammering 90 boards, end to end, meeting at the peak of the roof.  So, each side of the shed roof has 45 boards. You simply fit and nail them in, and they are all pre-cut.  Remember, these are tongue and groove, so it was quite easy, and there were very few bad boards. I did this whole step myself in about a day and a half.  No cutting was involved, and I was very proud — they came out perfect!  This step was where I incurred my only injury of the project – I was on a ladder finishing the last board (of course!), but the ladder began tipping. I jumped, catching my finger on the ladder itself.  But nine stitches later, I was good to go!  :)  I felt this was a great badge of courage, and it didn't detract me from proceeding!  But that part is not in the SolidBuild instructions, just FYI…

I hired some roofing friends to put on the shingles (matched it to my house), which they did in about 3 hours.  That cost was $500, and it's been great since, no leaks at all through winter's snow and rain.  

After the roof was done, we put down another layer of plywood on the floor for insulation, and I installed the floorboards.  This step did take longer than I anticipated, but it was sort of fun – like piecing a puzzle together!  I had to cut every other board because it wouldn't fit under the windows and door frames after putting in the thick plywood, so that took a bit of time, and then I nailed each board in.  But the result was good! 

Installing roof boards
My ladder failed!
Roofers installing shingles
Roofing was easy until I ripped my finger…thankfully, I had arranged for roofers to put on the shingles!


Roofing in progress
Shed roofing complete
And I loved the end result!  It matches the roof of our house.


She Shed floor installation in progress
Wooden shed floor complete
Putting on the floorboards was perhaps the most time-consuming, but nearly every board supplied by Solid Build was good—few were warped, and they provided extra.  In the end, I was happy with the resulting floor!  I just never wanted to walk on it again; it was so nice! :)


Fourth Phase: Staining the Shed and Finishing the Deck

Once the floor was done, the only thing left was to stain the shed and put on the front deck. I looked at lots of stains, in part because I had worked so hard on this thing, I hated making a mistake at the end with the color!  Finally, I chose an excellent stain and spent about two days staining it. The stain I chose included a finish, so I only had to do this once, thank goodness!  Some bees decided they wanted to help me because I chose to build the shed in bushes, but I finally got my pest company to send them elsewhere :)

After the stain was applied, my son helped me put in the joists for the final piece – putting on the deck with pressure-treated wood.  This step wasn't too hard, just a little time-consuming.  This probably took two days, but it could have been done in one. I just wanted perfect boards, so I went back and exchanged them a couple of times, which dragged this process on a bit. 

Finally, it was done!  About a month or so later, I worked with my electrician to wire it for power. That was very important because I needed a fan in August! I had to dig a 125-foot trench from the house (I was trying to save money by doing it myself), and he wired it in. Voila!!  The she-shed was done!!

Time "accounting"

Foundation

2.5 days

Shed

1 day

Roof boards

2 days

Roofers

0.5 day

Floorboards

3 days

Staining

2 days

Digging line for power

1 day

TOTAL

12 days

 

So that's how it was built!  I really enjoyed the process so much and have had nothing but compliments.  After it was built, I ordered an inexpensive daybed, some IKEA furniture, a few shelves and rugs, a cappuccino maker (Christmas gift), and I was finished!  

Stain samples
Staining the side wall
Staining shed front
It took me a while to try out different stains.  I was obsessed with finding the right one and finally did.  It took a couple of days to stain it, and then it was done.  


Front deck is coming together!
Installing supporting frame for deck boards
Final touches on the deck
My son helped me with the joists for the front porch, and with my border collie's supervision, I finished off the last of the deck boards!  


She Shed completed!
Family picture - finished shed shed
What a great feeling to finish it, and have had an excellent crew to help too!   We all felt SO proud!


Digging trench for electric cable
Installing electrical in the she shed
Trench digging
To get electricity, I had to dig a 125-foot trench a month later from the house to the shed.  This would have cost around $500-600, and I was too proud to let someone else do this at the end! So my nice electrician put in 3 boxes and then…it was…FINALLY…done!!   


Stacy writing at her she shed
She shed interior
Add-on window of the she shed Birshtol
Let there be light!!  Ikea and I furnished the shed nicely and reasonably, cost-wise… I now have a nice place to write and enjoy my time alone or with friends.  Dogs are allowed inside on dry days!


She shed in winter
She shed on Christmas
It was a tremendous joy to look out the backyard and enjoy during the holidays in the winter.  An added benefit is that with the south exposure, the windows keep the shed very warm in the winter on sunny days—I can be inside in a t-shirt and shorts when it is 30 degrees out---without the space heater!  This spring, I will get solar screens to help keep it cooler as I am not putting in AC but do have a fan.  


I love this shed so much more because it was my two hands that made it happen!  Happy building!!  I hope you enjoy yours for years to come. 

The 'True North garden' shed