There’s a tiny shed subculture growing, and you may find one sprouting in your own backyard. This prototype from Modern Cabana showed up recently at a San Francisco garden store, which also hosted a Tiny Shed Challenge as part of the month-long AIA SF Architecture and the City Festival.

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Shed refers to a simple, small structure, either freestanding or attached to a larger one, usually used for storage or shelter. The spread of “shedsploitation,” however, is making wannabe shedsters “a little more open-minded,” says Seth Boor, principal at Boor Bridges Architecture and presenter of the Tiny Shed Challenge. Boor offers diverse examples (shown here) of the myriad possibilities for this increasingly popular genre, along with four concepts for site-specific sheds tailored to very different tastes: a private drum room, an outdoor theatre, a storefront cutting garden and a luxury bath house.

The drum room seems the most practical, doubling as a rehearsal space and a guest bedroom, using lime paint with natural oxides and old security gates from salvage yards. The outdoor theatre evokes excitement with a dramatic stage facing the street from a gentle slope that offers natural landscape and drainage. The cutting garden also features an onstage florist showing the public what to do with what’s available. And the bath house? Well, think sunken pleasure for a party of eight with solar water heating, greenhouse design, and natural filtering through a rooftop wetland.

Whether you’re looking to do it yourself or spend thousands of dollars on a really sweet set-up, a tiny shed might be just the ticket. The challenge? Make the dream real, simplify and unplug, consider experimentation and collaboration, and know your place. The right size and shape could bypass local building and planning codes while making the great space you envision.

+ Modern Cabana

+ Boor Bridges Architecture

+ AIA SF Architecture and the City