While writing, organizing, and creating content for the past 6 months, for Jamaica Cottage Shop, several things became abundantly clear to me. Not only does this company have an amazing amount of inventory to choose from, but most importantly, the products are beautiful, strategic in their design, and the process for you to build them (if you choose to go the prefabricated kit route vs. DIY plans or fully assembled) is so well crafted, you will be considering adding carpentry to your resume while you marvel over your accomplishment.
If everything was done in a way that took the guess work out of a project, wouldn’t that be something? (Imagine what we could accomplish). So in my dreaming about putting their cute little 6’ x 8’ “Greenhouse” in my spot of a backyard, I came to the idea that it would be great to explain away the guesswork that comes with this idea of purchasing and assembling a DIY greenhouse. Mostly because I really think the estimated assembly time for this garden cottage at 1 person – 25 hours (with only basic tools and skills), for someone like me – who currently has only a hammer in the kitchen drawer – is very, very exciting indeed.
So, this is what I learned as an insider. I’ll use this prefab greenhouse as my example, since that is what I want, (and since it’s February and more than half the country is knee deep in snow, and I suspect I am not the only one dreaming about beautiful gardens and my own personal potting area & greenhouse). The greenhouse with the red door and those hand forged hinges of course.
The Perfect Greenhouse
I have only a hammer in my kitchen drawer. I need someone to hold my hand when it comes to having to buy nails. What kind? How many? Ohhh, you need a size too? But back in the 80’s I did build a structure with no electricity, (with only the help of a chainsaw, hand tools, pulley systems, some inspiring books, and a partner who was equally blissfully unaware) … so I know I have it in me.
Katrina and Mindy, at the other end of the phone, or in my case email, patiently (and kindly) answered EVERY single one of my questions, always within a couple of hours of asking. (toll free 866-297-3760 EST M-F Winter Hours, or email)
When I wanted to know exactly what kind of tools to have on hand for this project, here’s the simple list I received in just a few hours. A quick look on Amazon proved that this was all basic equipment I could easily purchase to add to my workshop, or borrow, if I felt this was going to be a one time DIY greenhouse assembly.
Skill Saw or Hand saw
Saw-z-all or chain saw
Nail puller (cats paw or crow bar)
25’ tape measure
¼” drive bit for drill
#3 Square Drive
I am across the country – 2500 miles away from where you make your products. How long, once I order, does it take to get here, and how much is shipping?
First, the shipping for prefabricated kits is something they have taken the guess work out of. Katrina linked me to the website for a clear outline of the shipping. Second, she added a personal note, “Truckload shipping = wait for a full truck headed that way so the timeframe really depends on what other orders we have in that part of the country. For a larger kit, let’s say like the 16×20 Vermont Cottage – we can ship those out much quicker. Smaller items need to wait for other orders”.
When it gets here, how do I get it into my backyard? Could a kit that size be put in the back of a pick-up truck?
Katrina told me this kit weighs 1800 lbs., and added, “and the dimensions don’t always fit between the wheel wells… really depends on the pickup truck. We recommend shipping to a local biz that you find that can accommodate a full-size tractor trailer and has the 5k lbs minimum forklift to unload off the tractor trailer and onto the desired method of transport. If unable to do that, people transport the materials in many different ways including taking the kit apart and putting piece by piece into the back of pickup truck or on trailers (again, it depends on the truck/trailer)”. Even though my initial reaction was, “oh no 1800 lbs. ! “ to move piece by piece, I recovered when I thought about how many cords of wood I have moved over the years, moving that old rock wall last summer, and carrying a toddler around for the 1st three years of his life.
Ok. I have my site prepared, my kit is here in a pile, and I have borrowed or purchased whatever supplies I need. Is it going to be hard to figure out how to assemble the shed kit (remember that 1 person – 25 hours estimated assembly time)?
Here’s what I know. The Jamaica Cottage Shop has been designing, cutting, assembling and shipping (internationally) prefabricated building kits (they must have over 100 designs/sizes from what I can tell) for 20+ years. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. They have testimonials galore on how easily, and beautifully, these building kits come together. They are well known for their sturdy, rugged, elegant design quality. This small business has grown from one man at 25 years of age making doghouses, to his employing 25+ employees cutting & packaging some of the most innovative building kit designs available on the market today. When I visited the factory last summer, I was fascinated by the orderly, neat piles designated to this concept. I loved how each and every board was labeled securely, to match a step by step plan booklet that comes with each order.
So, I don’t see how anything could go wrong – but there is even more comfort in the knowledge that if I do have any more questions – there is an in house tech support team for pre-cut building customers Monday thru Friday 9-5 EST (Winter Hours) at their toll free number 866-297-3760.
Happy Spring !
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