Fun in the Sun: Nifty Summer Builds

16x20 Vermont Cottage custom built from a pre-cut kit and being used as a guest house
This Vermont Cottage is being used as a combination building that serves as a pool house and ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit).

After drudging through a long, frigid winter most people are looking for ways to get outdoors. Because we are recovering from a year-long pandemic many are hesitant to travel, so are looking for ways to improve their backyards. Creating an inviting, beautiful space on your property will help you feel like you are on vacation without going anywhere. Here are some ways that our post and beam backyard buildings can help you achieve an outdoor zone for relaxing, parties, and fun!

Backyard Bar

While on vacation people typically visit bars and restaurants. Consider converting one of our sheds or cottages into a bar for hosting small parties. Firstly, figure out how large you want it to be. Then, determine how many people you would host and whether or not you want indoor seating. Setting up outdoor seating means you could use a smaller shed. We have had customers use something as small as our Nantucket, all the way up to the Vermont Cottage for this purpose. One of my favorite examples was how a customer used one of our two-room Heritage sheds.

This prefab storage shed was converted into a backyard bar with some creative design choices.
A shed can be cleverly converted into a semi-open backyard bar / lounge area for entertaining guests.

When they were building their shed kit, they omitted the siding on three of the walls, as well as the interior partition, to create a semi-open structure. They constructed some counters and cabinets and a built-in cooler using the left-over pine and batten siding lumber.  When they purchased this kit they ordered a few upgrades too, such as pine roof sheathing. This upgrade cuts down on noise when rain is hitting the metal roof. A skinned hemlock post in the corner adds a rustic detail. I am guessing it rains a lot where they live because they also added roof gutters!

Then they added some finishing touches. They painted the knotty pine siding to match other buildings on the property. The wall nailers, made of 2x4 hemlock lumber, were utilized as shelves for wine glasses, shot glasses, and party decorations. String lights and lanterns, wicker furniture, and a hammock chair make the space a festive place to socialize with a few friends at night.

Pool House

If you have a pool or waterfront property, a pool house comes in handy. This type of summer shed is used for storing pool cleaning supplies, umbrellas, lounging furniture, and floaties. Additionally, this space can be used as a changing room for guests to get in out of their bathing suits. Add some partitioned walls to create stalls for privacy. Decorate with nautical or beach-themed art and furnishings for the ultimate summer building project.

Painting a storage shed with vibrant hues will create a festive, summer atmosphere.
This Heritage is being used as both a pool-house and backyard bar. The side window opens into the bar area with stools placed below.

Some have installed bathrooms in their pool houses. If you are looking for an affordable option, consider an off-grid bathroom. Choosing between a Nature’s Head composting toilet or Laveo Dry Flush is a quick and easy way to achieve this without hiring a plumber. Use a gray water system for washing hands or have hand sanitizer pumps ready.

Some of our most popular designs for pool house conversions include the Vermont Cottage, Bayside, Heritage, and the Potting Fort. I think one of our newer designs, the Hobby House, would work very well since it has an overhang. I imagine the overhang could be a great spot to put an outdoor shower or use as a place to get out of the sun. The double doors would make moving chaise lounges in and out easy, and the loft could store supplies and water toys that are less frequently used. Build a partition under the loft for a changing room. The built-in workbench is useful for holding clothing and towels while swimmers get dressed. Watch this walk-through tour to get ideas.

Bug-Free Lounging

Sometimes you just want a place to hang outside, where you can read a book, eat a meal, or listen to music, without being eaten alive by mosquitos. This is where our Florida Room comes in. This design is a detached screened room that can be delivered as an assembled structure or built on your property from a pre-cut kit. Our smallest size offered, the 8x10 is large enough for some small patio furniture or hang a hammock from the sturdy post and beam hemlock wall framing. We have larger, family-friendly sizes too. And the deluxe 2-inch-thick pine tongue and groove flooring means it could potentially hold a hot tub! Or bring in an extra-large dining table and chairs and treat your guests to an amazing barbeque. This building pairs very well with a backyard bar.

Interior shot of a decorated detached screen room
One of our smaller Florida Rooms can be used to entertain four people like this set up.

If the Florida Room does not fit your tastes remember you can turn any of our buildings into a screen room. Simply add screen windows, as many as you can fit. If you want something attached to an already built cottage you could order a porch or enclosure kit and add screened windows to that. Most importantly, do not forget a screened door.

Now you should have plenty of ideas for turning your backyard into a vacation retreat. We would love to see how you convert your outdoor shed or cottage into the perfect place for a pool party or napping. Why not get one of each?

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