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The Hot New Trend Home-Based Businesses Are Loving

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With a growing number of Americans working from home, "shedquarters" are a new home design trend that lets you work right from the convenience of your backyard.

According to Global Workplace Analytics’ research, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce holds a job that's at least partially compatible with telework, and another 80-90 percent of folks saying they'd like to work from home at least part time. Coupled with that, a recovering economy means independent businesses and start-ups are popping up with higher frequency, making it likely that we'll see more and more shedquarters dotting the country's backyards.

A shedquarter is appealing because they are space-efficient, highly customizable, easy to install and potentially costs less than carving out a whole new room in your house. Many modern design companies and DIY builders are creating these cozy outdoor extensions for a range of uses, including a home office, artist's studio, a guest room—and, yes, storage space. Take a tour of some of our favorite shedquarters.

1. Sett Studio

The Austin-based designers create sustainable, pre-fabricated and site-built homes.

"Built with Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs), [the studios] deliver maximum energy efficiency, minimal material waste, minimize labor costs and provide a beautiful and purposeful space that will add flexibility to your current living and/or working space," the company says.

2. Modern-Shed

Lighter Side of Real Estate notes that the Seattle-based company creates flat-packed, pre-fabricated structures with a basic 8×10-foot shed starting at $6,900. Modern-Shed uses eco-friendly building materials such as denim insulation which contains 85 percent post-industrial recycled fibers; a GreenGrid roof, which is a modular vegetative roof system that reduces energy costs, regulates structure temperature and helps manage rainwater runoff; they also partner with a solar panel company for their off-grid customers.

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3. “The World Shedquarters

For those of you who like to DIY, this lovely shedquarter was built by San Antonio, Texas couple Daniel and Vanessa Hayes.

"Together, we got pretty tired of our temporary offices and the clutter that inevitably takes over," Daniel wrote. "We decided that an actual office was not only necessary to keep the peace, but also to keep our sanity so, we built our own!"

"It’s hard to express how truly happy we are with the results. The office is a great place to work and lets us separate 'work' from 'home,' yet is only steps away from our back door." Photo credit: Simple Life Together

4. Kanga Room

The premium tiny home builder's backyard studios come in three styles: modern, country cottage and bungalow. The basic package is an 8×8-foot shed that starts around $5,900 and you can on add on features such as a bathroom, kitchenette or a front porch for additional cost.

5. MetroPrefab

Designed by David Ballinger, this $8,000, 9x13-foot MetroSHED ships to the contiguous 48 states and is delivered flat packed, with full assembly instructions and all necessary fasteners. No building experience is necessary to set it up.

Photo credit: MetroPrefab

 

Photo credit: MetroPrefab

6. Modern Spaces

The Chico, California-based company's stylish pre-fab units can be assembled by their team in your yard or business in just one day.

"These forts for grown-ups are not only uber stylish but practical too," the company boasts on Facebook. "The units carry a strong modern flair and stand in stark contrast to the typical cottage design that is typical of most sheds and small spaces in today’s market."

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On Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor said nearly 60 percent of the state was abnormally dry, up from 46 percent just last week, according to The Mercury News in San Jose.

The dry winter has included areas that have seen devastating fires recently, including Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. If the dry conditions continue, those areas will once again have dangerously high fire conditions, according to The Mercury News.

"Given what we've seen so far this year and the forecast for the next few weeks, I do think it's pretty likely we'll end up in some degree of drought by this summer," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported.

Another alarming sign of an impending drought is the decreased snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The National Weather Service posted to Twitter a side-by-side comparison of snowpack from February 2019 and from this year, illustrating the puny snowpack this year. The snow accumulated in the Sierra Nevadas provides water to roughly 30 percent of the state, according to NBC Los Angeles.

Right now, the snowpack is at 53 percent of its normal volume after two warm and dry months to start the year. It is a remarkable decline, considering that the snowpack started 2020 at 90 percent of its historical average, as The Guardian reported.

"Those numbers are going to continue to go down," said Swain. "I would guess that the 1 March number is going to be less than 50 percent."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecast that the drier-than-average conditions may last through April.

NOAA said Northern California will continue deeper into drought through the end of April, citing that the "persistent high pressure over the North Pacific Ocean is expected to continue, diverting storm systems to the north and south and away from California and parts of the Southwest," as The Weather Channel reported.

As the climate crisis escalates and the world continues to heat up, California should expect to see water drawn out of its ecosystem, making the state warmer and drier. Increased heat will lead to further loss of snow, both as less falls and as more of it melts quickly, according to The Guardian.

"We aren't going to necessarily see less rain, it's just that that rain goes less far. That's a future where the flood risk extends, with bigger wetter storms in a warming world," said Swain, as The Guardian reported.

The Guardian noted that while California's reservoirs are currently near capacity, the more immediate impact of the warm, dry winter will be how it raises the fire danger as trees and grasslands dry out.

"The plants and the forests don't benefit from the water storage reservoirs," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported. "If conditions remain very dry heading into summer, the landscape and vegetation is definitely going to feel it this year. From a wildfire perspective, the dry years do tend to be the bad fire years, especially in Northern California."