In 2006, Jeremy Nova, an Olympic and National Champion mountain bike racer, had a problem. He didn’t have enough space to store his bikes. The solution was obvious—he needed a shed. What also became obvious, was that all his shed kit options were uninspiring at best. As a passionate fan of modern architecture with an engineering background, Jeremy felt he could do better. And he did. Knowing a great opportunity when he saw one, Jeremy teamed up with his friend, fellow mountain bike racer and successful entrepreneur, Mike Koenig to form Studio Shed. Since the company formed in 2008 in Boulder, CO, Studio Shed has built, delivered, and enhanced more than 4,000 backyards across North America and beyond.
Much of Studio Shed’s success is due to its user-friendly, online design center that allows customers to customize their own sheds. And the panelized system makes them easy to ship and deliver to the build site. Co-owner Mike Koenig explains, “Because of our efficient panelized system, our sheds do not require heavy equipment like lifts or cranes to move. We’re able to hit literally anywhere. We’ve built sheds for rooftops in New York and delivered sheds to Hawaii and remote islands in the Caribbean. I recall this one narrow row house in San Francisco where we had to carry the panels through a kitchen to get to the backyard.”
From the time a shed is designed, it takes about three to six weeks to be delivered and built, depending on the complexity of the build and permit requirements. Prices range from $120-$180 per square foot for a fully installed shed with a livable interior. Once a shed is delivered, a customer can put it together themselves, hire a local contractor, or they can choose a contractor from Studio Shed’s national network of certified installers.
As expected, people are using their sheds for storage, as hobby studios, and for spaces like pool houses, but about half of Studio Shed’s revenue comes from Summit Series Sheds. Folks are using these accessory dwelling units as guest houses and granny flats. Home offices is a category that has seen recent gains. Since the COVID-19 scare, more people are faced with the challenges of working from home and are looking for separate spaces where they can focus on work without distractions. Occasionally, they do get an “unconventional” request. Mike recalls, “We had a customer in North Carolina ask us to build them a wig-making shop, which was pretty cool. Another one that I will never forget, a person purchased a shed to house their 20 cats. Yes, a cat studio!”
The style of sheds built directly reflect the personalities of the owners. Most of the early sheds embraced a decidedly modern or contemporary design, but they’ve continued to add more traditional options over the years. “Jeremy and I both come from design/ architectural/ construction families dating back four generations. We both appreciate modern aesthetics, but Jeremy swings more modern, and I tend to lean more traditional. If Jeremy were a shed, he would probably be clad in sleek, block siding, while I’d be sporting warm, natural, cedar planks.”
Another ingredient in Studio Shed’s secret sauce of success is partnering with reputable companies. “Product quality is obviously important, but we look at the company itself first. We try to align ourselves with like-minded, socially conscious companies. Marvin is a great fit on both these fronts. Parallel to this, we prefer to buy American-made and -sourced products. Some of our lumber comes from Canada, but other than that, everything else is made in the good ‘ol USA. We also focus on using a lot of wood, which is a great carbon sequester.”
Mike and Jeremy had worked with a few window companies before partnering with Marvin. “When I first met our Marvin rep, I knew within the first five minutes of that meeting, that Marvin was going to be a great partner. His focus on the people-first culture at Marvin was very inspiring to me. The product fulfillment process is a huge improvement over other companies we’ve worked with. And of course, the Marvin Essential fiberglass windows we use are high performing and just plain awesome looking. I’m actually building a home right now, and it’s getting all Marvin windows and doors.”
Always looking to the future, Studio Shed will soon be launching Studio HOME. The homes will be built in a similar panelized manner as the sheds just on a grander scale. “We’ve built several homes larger than 3,000 square feet over the years. We also built a 4,500 square-foot school in Lake Tahoe. We’ve learned a lot from these projects and will be coming to market with a handful of thoughtfully curated homes.”
Photos courtesy Studio Shed