03
Aug

Backyard Office: Dreaming

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Backyard Office

 

Drawing of a Backyard Box office unit.

Nichelle and I have dreamed of building an office in our backyard, off and on, ever since we bought our house almost 5 years ago.  We have talked about a million different ideas and locations in the yard.  A couple of years ago, we even bought a huge 300 pound picture-window on craigslist to put in the office, which we never ended up building.  Those who know me well, know I am a dreamer, and can often be impulsive.  Thankfully, however, I am not so impulsive when it comes to big decisions like this.

Over the past several months, we began discussing a backyard office once again, but this time, everything seemed to fall into place.  We have had 5 years to think, research, and let it all sink in.  Now, I can honestly say I am glad we didn’t act on some of our previous ideas.  Our needs and lifestyle has changed quite a bit over the past few years, and I think we now have a better idea of what we want and need moving forward.  As I look out the window at the huge hole in our backyard, I am pretty sure we are not going to back out this time.

We played with the idea of building a prefab office, and we also interviewed architects and contractors.  In the end, we went with a company called Backyard Box and we are so excited.  Backyard Box is a new company run by contractor Sloan Ritchie, specializing in prefab offices and homes.  The designs are by Jim Burton of Blip, and as soon as we saw pictures of his work, we knew we found what we had been looking for.  Jim and Sloan have worked with us over the last 2 months to create a custom office, which ended up being even better than I expected.  That says a lot coming from a perfectionist.  It will look a bit different from the image above, but this is the unit it was based on and the style is obviously the same.  We will not be able to do prefab for a number of reasons, so this will be a good old fashion construction project.  It still has not sunk in that it is actually happening.  Although, the masonry drill putting holes in our foundation at 8:00am helps reality set in a little.

Having a work space where you can be creative and away from distractions is really important.  Since this is something I am extremely excited about, I thought I would blog about the building process as it unfolds.

Many of you have asked me to blog about this process as you are interested in doing something similar.  I hope it is something you enjoy.  For those who are not so interested, I hope you will bear with me.  It won’t go on forever.  :)

So far, we have ripped a roof off of our patio.  Tore down two sheds, built a new shed, cut down a few bushes and trees, and finally the construction crew has begun digging.  It’s hard work, and very time consuming, but I have really enjoyed all of it.  I love working with my hands, and our backyard has provided no shortage of things to do.  No wonder I have felt so busy lately.

I recently did a shoot with Jane Pauley (NBC, AARP) and she commented at one point that the brain is happiest when it sees the hands working.  I don’t know if that is a scientific fact, or who to credit that statement to, but I think there is a lot of truth to that.  I find that I am happy when I am working in our yard, and I can see tangible results.  But, just to be clear, I’m not working on this office.  I’ll leave that to the professionals.

Next post in this series: Backyard Office: Shed Demo & Building.

Comments

Congrats John! I too dream of “no-distraction-zone” workplace at home. Inspiring. Make sure to share pictures as the construction progresses.

posted by Matthew Coughlin on 08.03.11 at 11:27 am

Congratulations on the new project! I can’t wait to see the final result!

posted by Graham Lee on 08.03.11 at 2:12 pm

Thanks. I can’t wait either!
@ Matthew, I will be posting pictures of everything. Probably more than you care to see, but I already have the next 5 posts scheduled.

posted by John Keatley on 08.03.11 at 2:14 pm

Sounds like a fun project John! I look forward to hearing how it all turns out. I’ll definitely be interested to see the construction process too if you decide to continue posting on the subject.

posted by Chris Campfield on 08.03.11 at 4:11 pm

Congratulations!
As a married father of two, with the in-laws included, my house can either be a source of inspiration or a downright creative vibe killer. So I envy your opportunity as well as wish you guys all the best on your new project.
Look forward to seeing the finished office space.

posted by Christopher Yow on 08.03.11 at 4:35 pm

[...] Previous post in this series: Backyard Office: Dreaming [...]

[...] P.S. Seattle photographer John Keatley has a real reno project going on. have a look here. [...]

Congrats on your vision! Very nice indeed.

posted by Randy Sloan on 08.07.11 at 11:25 pm

Hey John, just came across this link and thought of you and your office build… http://design-milk.com/the-rise-of-the-backyard-office/

posted by Ben on 08.10.11 at 9:49 am

Leave a comment