Backyard Office or Gym?

I desperately need some space of my own in our Berkeley home. I’m thinking about putting in a backyard shed to serve as a workout space, occasional office space (I mostly work in person at the office), and a quiet space to connect with friends with some privacy. In summary - a lockable refuge where I won’t be bothered by my spouse or kids.

Does anyone have any recommendations for companies who will install such a space? I’m looking at Tuff Shed and Studio Shed, but by the time the project is done both will be well over $20k .. and that’s if I do it without permits. Adding permits increases the requirements and increases the cost to closer to $30k. As much as I desperately want some space, I’m not sure I can justify such a large expense for what is essentially a she shed. 

Has anyone done this on the cheap? Any suggestions for how to keep the cost down? I’m ok with a less nice looking solution as long as I can get some privacy.

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RE: Backyard Office or Gym? ()

If you live in Berkeley, you need to get it permitted - in Oakland, way less of a big deal. I have many Oak neighbors who've done this - and by the way, when kids get older it's a great space for them to be with friends, keeping them at your house vs someone else's. To me, $30k for peace is well worth it. But as your issue is really needing a bit of privacy and maybe working out, why not look into a club nearby? A decent club will offer a gym, adult hang out spaces, etc and will cost around $500/mo for a family membership, less just for you. 

RE: Backyard Office or Gym? ()

If it's anything more than a small garden shed I think you will have a hard time getting by without permits. Any neighbor can report it to the city which would cause you to remove it or permit it. I remember reading another post on here a few months ago about someone getting reported for trying to put up a greenhouse. Also, any structure including a shed is required to follow setback rules. I believe it is 4 feet from the property lines.

RE: Backyard Office or Gym? ()

Hi there, I put in an unpermitted backyard shed from Modern Shed ( in early 2021 and the total cost (including finishes) was around $30K. I wouldn't underestimate the value of what you call a "she shed" -- I unapologetically call mine a "me shed" and my toddler calls it "mama's house." It's an invaluable space for me to get some quiet time, take my work calls, and feel like someone other than mama! Everyone in the family is happier when I have somewhere to decompress. 

Yet, I did consult our realtor with my design before putting it in -- she agreed that it'd be an asset to our property and a good investment.

RE: Backyard Office or Gym? ()

I bought a 10'x 10' Tough Shed brand office shed six months ago, and it's working well. If you get a shed with less than 120 square feet, most cities don't need a permit.  The shed itself was about $6,500, and then I hired a contractor to do insulation, dry wall, and electrical connection. The total cost came out to be around $10K.  Check your city's building codes to see their requirements for permit.  Sometimes, you may need to get permit for electrical, if you want to do it by a licensed electrician. 

RE: Backyard Office or Gym? ()

We had our shed put in nearly 10 years ago, and we have had no problems with it. They built it on a cement pad that they also installed. Shed Shop was the company.

RE: Backyard Office or Gym? ()

Have you checked out the Shed Shop in Hayward:

We go the studio/office shed model that came with a regular door and one sliding window.  My husband added a skylight and got an electrician to connect it to our power line. Otherwise, it was bare bones (we had a space heater when it was cold and my husband would leave the door open when it got hot or used a fan. This was almost 10 years ago so we don't recall the price offhand.  The ShedShop is very a la carte so the more you add to it, the pricier it will be but I do think it's worth checking out to see if you can make it work for you.  We lived in Lafayette and don't think we had additional charges with the city. Hopefully, that will be the case for you