10 Home Office Design Tips

Remote work is becoming more and more popular with each passing year, meaning more and more professions don.t need workers to be at the office to perform their duties. With the rise of working from home, so does the need to have a personal, comfortable, and efficient space to focus and feel productive. With a home office shed that you can place in your garden, backyard, beside your home, or anywhere else outside, it becomes a lot easier to get some peace and quiet while you work.  Looking like tiny little homes, garden office pods or outdoor office spaces are self-sufficient productive spaces, where you can not only make a living but also create, think, and ponder. Here are some helpful tips for creating a charming and practical workspace within our sheds.

 

Be creative with your space
Summerwood Products - Creative Office Space

 Don’t be afraid to steal decor from around your home and place it in your home office. Feel free to mix up some of your vintage items from your rooms with some modern office elements to make it feel a lot more like home and less of a showroom. 

Clean regularly
Clean Regularly - home office tips - Summerwood Products

Don’t let a poorly maintained office space cause you to lose a client. Maintaining a clean office space might seem like an obvious thing to do, but it is important to keep it clean. A clean office is a direct representation of who you are as an individual, especially if you do plan on having clients or colleagues over, as it helps to create an inviting space. You are also ensuring that a good first impression will be made on prospective clients. If you do plan on setting up an outdoor office space, it is important to vacuum the floors daily, as well as empty the trash and recycling.

Notice board
Home office tips - Summerwood Products

Some office accessories are just so simple, basic, and easy, it features everything you have to do right at eye level. Let this board carry some of your organization, so you can put notes up, reminders, and some family photos. This is also perfect for clearing the clutter of your area, as an organized work area is perfect for enhancing clarity and focus.

Give yourself a view
Summerwood Products - Office with a view

Position your office chair and desk where you can stare at something more interesting than a blank wall for when you look up from your desk or computer (insert custom design centre link here). A Window’s natural light is ideal, but if you’re in a windowless space, hand up a picture or piece of artwork above your desk or chair. Our Custom Design Centre allows you to build your own outdoor office space to fit your needs. 

Allow light
Summerwood Home Studios - Allowing Light

Research has shown that the presence of natural light in professional spaces has an overwhelming positive impact on employee productivity and morale. Natural light also helps with making a space look bigger than it is- perfect for small spaces. Allowing light into your home office will also help with making sure not to strain your eyes and help with reducing headaches from glaring at your computer monitor. 

Paint the walls a colour you love

Summerwood Products - Home Office Designs

Is your home office painted in a bland beige? Maybe just a mixture of black and white? If these are colour schemes that work for you, great. If you dread sitting down at your home office everyday try adding some more colour – maybe lots of it. It is important to make sure your home office space is a place you can’t wait to visit.

Hide cords
Home office design tips - Summerwood Products

Technology is essential in the office, while there is only so much you can do to help beautify your computer, monitor, printer, and phone, you can hide some of their cords. You should start by making sure that your equipment is close to the outlet and easy to unplug it. One suggestion would be to hide the wires behind your furnishings. By hiding your cords it will make your office look clean and organized.

Go paperless
home office design tips - Summerwood Products

As the world has made a huge shift towards digital, so should your files. Paper filing systems tend to take up a decent amount of space, as well as become cluttered and hard to search through. Cloud storage solutions like Dropbox or an external hard drive are the perfect solutions to keep all of your files digital and available anywhere you have an internet connection, plus they make them easily searchable as well.  

Choose homey accessories
Home Office Designs - Summerwood Products

If you want your home office to feel a bit more comfortable, you can always add a few more homey accessories to it. As much as it is important to focus within your home office, it is also important to create a space in which you’ll be happy to spend your work hours in.    

Inspire yourself

home office design tips - Summerwood Products

It is important to remind yourself of your mission by placing some visual encouragement around you. Set up a small or min shrine, piece of art or a cherished item – that motivates you to work or create while you are in your home office space. Fill your office with art or personal items that will help to energize your space and make you feel motivated during your work. 

Home office design tips - Summerwood Products
Here at Summerwood, we’ve noticed a growing demand for backyard offices and studios, and worked with hundreds of customers to help make their dream a viable reality. We support you in your goals to work from home – to be productive, be comfortable, and be happy while you work.

Spend time browsing through our home office studio styles and our photo galleries of customer favorites. We have a number of designs that other Summerwood customers have designed, or you can use our Custom Design Center to make the perfect office space for you. Don’t forget: all of our builds, including home studios, include easy-to-follow instructions, diagrams, and assembly videos to help you through the process and we’re always here to answer any of your questions.

Family Time: Top 10 Advantages Of Involving Kids In Outdoor Projects

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Family Day came and went and it was a nice reminder that spending time with family, unplugged and in-the-moment, is really important. Our Summerwood family practices the age-old saying, “Families that play together, stay together.” It got us thinking that a cohesive family is like a Summerwood build – where all the parts fit together to create something special and built to last.

Life can get busy and sometimes it feels like a luxury for families to come together, but we feel that it can happen at anytime, without a special occasion or holiday. As everyone in the family grows older, it’s important to stay engaged with adventures, experiences and home projects because those memories will last a lifetime. How do we know? For more than 20 years, our customers have shared images and stories of their families working together to create their fabulous builds, whether a gazebo, cabin, playhouse or workshop. We’ve seen multi-generations enjoy their outdoor space, from celebrating life milestones, backyard play dates, to spending relaxing long weekends together.

Proactively scheduling family time is important, so what could be more appropriate than starting on Family Day? With Spring just around the corner, it’s the perfect season to get the family together to construct your Summerwood build, like a shed or workshop in time for gardening. Maybe it’s that cabana, gazebo or pool house your family has wanted to enjoy for the hot Summer months. These outdoor projects are a great way for families to build closer relationships while making memories, and possibly coming across some teachable moments.

Along with the obvious advantage of getting children away from electronics and into the fresh air, there are a wealth of other benefits to including kids in outdoor projects. Here are our Top 10 advantages to involve kids.

 

1. You get to know your child better

Kids grow and change quickly, so scheduled family time is ideal for busy parents to connect with their children. Especially when enjoying an activity together, parents will get to know their developing child better, and see their strengths and aptitudes.

Also, older children tend to share more information about their lives while engaged in an exercise with their parents, rather than when they are asked “What did you do today?”

2. Strengthens family bonds

Working together as a family will not just help build a playhouse or whatever your Summerwood building may be, it also builds strong and caring family relationships.

Families who share activities together as a group form solid, emotional ties, as a special relationship of trust and security develops. Studies have found that families who share in group activities that allow for mindful interaction hold a stronger emotional bond, and an ability to adapt well to situations as a family.

3. Teaches important life skills

Spending time together working on a project, family members learn how to listen and work together, while the child learns the value of communicating effectively and supporting others, important interpersonal skills they can take through life.

Working toward a common goal, they understand there is a plan and that teamwork will make it happen. Kids learn commitment, responsibility, patience, work ethic, and the benefits of being part of a team to make a dream a reality!

4. Builds confidence and self-esteem

Children who spend time with their parents carrying out tasks are learning in a safe and supportive environment.  With the freedom to make mistakes and find solutions on their own in a non-judgmental setting, children begin to gain self-confidence at an early developmental stage in their lives.

When children have a real say in what happens and their views are heard, they will build a positive sense of self-worth, as they know that their parents value them. When children feel that they are valued, they feel greater self-esteem and are better equipped to succeed in life.

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5. Encourages positive behaviours

When families take the time to participate in meaningful activities together, behavioural problems decrease, and kids are less likely to act out. Research has shown that teenagers with families who spend quality time together are less likely to use alcohol, drugs and engage in risky actions. If children know they can come to you with their tricky situations, they will likely choose better solutions to the issues they face in life.


6. Better school performance

Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom, but what the child learns outside of school can have a positive impact on their performance in school. A healthy emotional well-being, along with positive self-esteem, confidence, and good communication skills can work wonders in the classroom. Numerous studies have shown that children whose parents spend quality time with them perform better in school.

7. Develops creative and problem-solving abilities

Children have curious minds and love to see how things work. They are also eager to create something and to feel proud of the finished achievement. By involving your child in practical pursuits like a Summerwood build, you are nurturing their problem solving and creative skills, which can help develop aptitudes and interests in math, art and other subjects. Before long, the answer to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up” may not be a superhero or an astronaut, but instead be; “an architect”, “a designer” or “an engineer.”

8. Relieves stress

In today’s fast paced, competitive, and technological world, children and teenagers are experiencing higher stress levels than ever before. Time spent in a non-judgemental family situation working with purpose towards a goal, takes children away from the social and school pressures that surround their lives, lowering stress and stimulating feel-good chemicals in their brain.

Talking through the challenges encountered in the project, can also help children learn that the best solution to problems is to talk about them, something that can carry over into the rest of their life, helping them deal with worries.


9. Develops parenting skills

Quality time together with their parents helps kids develop parenting skills for later in their lives.  As children from happy families are more likely to create a loving environment for their own children when they grow up, what you do this Family Day may well have a bearing on how your grandchildren enjoy Family Day in the future.


10. Creates memories

Lastly, active family time creates warm and treasured memories that can last a lifetime. For years to come, every time they enjoy their Summerwood building, parents and children alike will be reminded of happy family times that made it happen.

The adjective “cohesive” comes from the Latin word cohæsio, or “to cleave together.” Cohesive things stick together so they are unified just like your new Summerwood building, and your happy family.

For inspiration on what type of building style your family can choose from, take a look at our 3D tours that showcase the interior and exteriors of some of our most popular builds. For families with younger children, we also have our playhouses that might spark some imagination! Never hesitate to contact us or visit our Custom Design Centre to create a Summerwood build to meet all of your family’s needs.

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Going to Work from Home in 2020? Avoid the Pitfalls by Creating a Dedicated Space

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In our recent post ‘New Year, New Project’ we spoke about making life changes in 2020. One of these changes might be to achieve a better work/life balance. Working from home can be a dream come true, so why not let Summerwood make it a reality?

Cutting out the daily commute can free up 10+ hours a week, so it’s not surprising that many people consider working from home as a blessing. In fact, working from home is a trend that is here to stay according to labour market research. The New York Times reported last year that 43% of employed Americans spent time working remotely, while CNN reports a 115% increase in telecommuting workers in the decade between 2005 and 2015.

Ambitions to work from home could be one or two days a week, or full time if you have the flexibility or have started your own business from home. Regardless, a home office can be the perfect solution to achieving that greater work/life balance you desire. But how do you do it right?

A shared space where you’re contained within the same four walls, days or weeks on end, can cause cabin fever, where maybe your dining table doubles as your office desk or your couch is the most comfortable office chair. It can mean having to clear away your laptop and work documents so dinner can be served, or family trailing in and out to chat while you’re on the phone. Maybe you can’t fully relax, because rather than the age-old problem of taking work home with you, work literally surrounds you 24/7.

Are we painting an idyllic picture? Probably not, because we know you need a dedicated working space, away from the distractions and interruptions, but also a place where you can close the door and say that it’s the end of the work day.

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A separate backyard prefabricated build may be the answer. Here at Summerwood, we’ve noticed a growing demand for backyard offices and studios, and worked with hundreds of customers to help make their dream a viable reality. We support you in your goals to work from home – to be productive, be comfortable, and be happy while you work.

Working meters from your home has all the advantages you imagined; no more early rises to beat the morning traffic, no more humdrum commutes, and no more comprises to convert your work station back into a dining room. Instead, you have your own devoted office, a place in which you know you are there to work, away from the main house, and personalized to your liking. You can add features to keep the space organized, like module shelves, or livable spaces to gather your thoughts and be creative, like a lounge chair or reading nook. Many of our customers also add a stylish dormer window to create a little more natural light. And best of all, your family gives you space so you can work effectively and efficiently without being disturbed.

Spend time browsing through our home office studio styles and our photo galleries of customer favorites. We have a number of designs that other Summerwood customers have designed, or you can use our Custom Design Center to make the perfect office space for you. Don’t forget: all of our builds, including home studios, include easy-to-follow instructions, diagrams, and assembly videos to help you through the process and we’re always here to answer any of your questions.

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New Year, New Build: Five Important Practical Questions

It’s January – a time for new beginnings, setting plans for the year ahead, and making improvements to your lifestyle.

If your new year resolutions include taking more time for yourself, to rediscover a hobby, or pursue a favourite pastime, then extra space may be what you need. Determined to make this year a great one, having a dedicated space to follow your passion will likely make all the difference. Adding an outdoor lifestyle building like a studio, exercise room or workshop may be the answer to achieve your goals in 2018!

However, before you begin to even think about personalizing the interior and selecting materials for your new space, there are some important practical considerations to consider.

As experts in designing and constructing lifestyle buildings, here are five of the first questions to help guide you.

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Build it yourself or not?

The decision on whether to take on the project yourself or hire someone to do it for you should be your first consideration. Deciding factors include your dedicated free time, your budget, and level of DIY experience and competency.

Even if you are an accomplished ‘do-it yourselfer’, consider the size of the building and the complexity of the design you have in mind. Do you have the time and the energy required for the task at hand?

Whether you’re a DIY aficionado or plan to get all the help you can, our building kits are designed with ease of assembly in mind. Detailed easy-to-follow instructions, an assembly video, and all the essential parts you will need are included. As a reliable building partner, our Summerwood team is available online or by telephone to help guide you through it all.


Choose Pre-assembled or Pre-cut?

To help you decide if you are going to self-build or not, consider the two types of building kits we offer. There’s either “pre-assembled” format (think parts) or a “pre-cut” format (think pieces).

If you have limited time or simply want to enjoy your Summerwood design as soon as possible, consider purchasing one of our pre-assembled kits. “Pre-assembled” means that major structural components such as walls, trusses and floors are built and framed for you allowing quick and convenient assembly.  Depending on the size and complexity of your design, pre-assembled kits can be built by two minimally skilled people in a day or two.

With the Pre-cut Format, we’ve designed the product to be purchased so the materials fit together perfectly, and can be easily handed over to you. Pre-cut buildings require about 50% more assembly time than pre-assembled structures, but are less expensive and will offer greater job satisfaction and sense of accomplishment to the do-it-yourselfer.


Installation and Contracting

If DIY projects aren’t your thing, or you’re short on time, then a Summerwood installation may be right for you. Summerwood offers the option to install your new studio, workshop, gazebo or whatever your new outdoor addition may be, if you live within a few hours of our Toronto HQ. Our team of experienced carpenters and craftsman know Summerwood products inside and out, making the build quick, easy, and always done right.

Even if you are outside of our installation area, we are here to offer advice on employing a contractor. It is important to enlist the services of a qualified contractor who understands your expectations for the project. Rates can vary significantly, and you should request a quote before any assembly work begins. We have a long list of experienced contractors from across the United States and Canada that we’d be happy to refer to you. See our guide of how to hire a contractor’.

 

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Customize

Style is a personal issue, that comes down to which design best suits you, your life, and the space available. We have a wide and varied choice of cabana, shed, spa room and many more design options to select from. Take a colourful 3D video tour of our most popular designs, and search over 1,000 photos of customers finished projects to discover the building styles that appeal to you.

If you can’t find your dream building on our site, our expert design staff will create it for you. All our buildings can be customized to your own personal requirements. Get creative in our Custom Design Center and make something unique for your space. We are here to help – simply pick up the phone or send us a sketch and we’ll help nurture the budding architect inside, so your vision comes to life.


Permits

While letting your creative juices flow to create a perfect outdoor building, pause to consider how large or complex a design you want to proceed with is. Decisions on the size, location, and style of your outdoor building are not entirely up to you, as a permit may be required.  While most Summerwood buildings don’t require a permit, buildings exceeding 100 square feet might. There also might be restrictions such as a two or three-foot setbacks from a property line to contend with. Before you build, be sure to check with your municipality to ensure you are meeting the local requirements. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

If you require a permit, rest assured we’ll help make it as easy as possible to slice through all that red tape, as we can design our buildings to conform to the most rigid building codes. If you require permit drawings, our in-house designers can provide custom drawings to your exact specifications. Here is a list of municipal offices by state and other useful information on our permits and zoning page.


Here to help

There you have it – five of the first things you need to consider this new year before getting down to the fun stuff. We’re here to guide you through each step, so contact us at any point in the planning process. Before you know it, you will be enjoying the freedom of extra space and achieving your lifestyle goals. 2018 will be a year to remember!

How To Choose A Cabin

Whether you enjoy alone time or spending time with others, prefer mountains or oceans, seek thrills or relaxation, there’s a cabin lifestyle for you.

 

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Start with the spot


First consider which natural setting appeals to you and why. Is it near a riverbank, farmland, lakeshore, deeply wooded area, or the mountains or valleys? How far are you willing to venture? If you are considering entire summers away, the distance from home to cabin can be less than year-round weekend jaunts.

Does proximity to amenities matter or are you okay with being far off the beaten path? Some of us crave seclusion while others like the comfort of a community nearby.

What’s your leisurely pleasure? While cabin life can satisfy many lifestyles — artsy, sporty, foodie, crafty, romantic or relaxing — the way you want to use your space most often will help you narrow down the options of where you want to build.

Once you have an ideal location or cabin lifestyle in mind, be sure to scout the area, view open houses, or rent a similar place for a night to ensure that your romantic notions are in line with reality. While you may imagine the idea of waking up to distant sweeping views of a lake or mountain range is heavenly, you might realize you prefer to be on the water or closer to the action. Long for life amid the woods with the fresh aroma of crushed pine needles? In reality, a bright open sky may feel more uplifting long term. Much like eating foreign foods, you won’t know what you like until you try.

Remember to consider safety, zoning and permits, price and taxes, and plumbing and electrical access  just as you would consider the view, foliage, weather or temperature. All of these are equally important.

 

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Picture the build and put yourself in the picture

 

Much like choosing the location, deciding on the size, features, layout and structural elements of your cabin come from combining the fun fantasy with the reality of cabin life.

Beyond the essentials — like water, power and waste treatment — consider the size of the cabin and position on the lot. Ensure the cabin fits the space, maximizes the outlook and orients to the sun patterns. Consider how time outside of the cabin will be spent when picking a location. Do you want a firepit, an accessible driveway, a garden or hot tub, and other add ons? Remember the big picture and how elements will flow together.

It’s also helpful to think about the number of people likely to stay, visit or be entertained in your cabin.  Are you eager to host a party or prefer enough room for yourself and your thoughts? We offer options for both camps. Loft-beds are a great way to maximize vertical space for storage or sleeping.

 

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Design for life

 

Style and function come together in every Summerwood cabin. How that looks is up to you.

Our cabin styles vary by unique design with distinct advantages and personalities. Explore the features that feel right for you and we will customize from there.


The classic cabin with a peaked loft and generous porch — like our Canmore Cabin — is a perennial favourite. Tremendous natural light year-round and ample space for storage defines the Kepler Creek Cabin. Feel better with basic? Check out the 10 x 10 Bala Bunkie Cabin for its compact minimalism that delivers big personality. Still uncertain? Visit our cabin favourites for inspiration and take a 3D tour through some of our popular designs.

 

Now for the really fun part. Consider the details to make your cabin your own. Roofing, siding, paints or stains, skylights and trims – the options are endless on our material choices list.

 

Regardless of design nuances, be assured Summerwood only uses the finest materials on the market. Most of our cabin kits are constructed from premium grade western red cedar while offering durable and attractive Canexel maintenance-free wood fiber siding. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed! Simply take your time and consider how these details will make this build feel like your own personal space.

 

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Construction commentary


Summerwood cabin kits are a DIY dream come true. Each cabin comes with detailed, step-by-step instructions and live help is available, only an email or toll-free phone call away. Carve the time, build the energy and organize the tools needed to complete the project. Learn more about its assembly and required tools here. Prefer help? View our how to hire a contractor package for more information.

 

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Here to help

 

From cozy rustic to minimalist contemporary, Summerwood can help bring your vision to reality and perfect your cabin in no time. Our pre-cut designs are easy to customize. Our process takes the stress out of what can be a daunting notion: creating the cabin of your dreams. The Summerwood team is always happy to help.

Whether it’s questions about materials, sizing, styles or customizing any of our builds, no question is too small nor idea too big. We welcome you to be in touch through email or by phone here.  

 

How To Make Your Small Space Instantly Cozy

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Let’s agree there is no better time than winter to enjoy the great indoors!

 

When the weather outside is less than delightful, the search for warm surroundings is universal.

 

The Danish have a word for it —hygge (pronounced hue-guh)—which roughly translates to that feeling of familiarity and welcoming coziness that has been adapted into decor and design inspiration, particularly during the colder months out of the year.

 

Scandinavian or not, making favourite places a little cozier encourages creative wintertime use of our Summerwood spaces, whether it’s a back garden studio, workshop, she-shed, pool house or cabin.

 

From prized spaces of solitude to social hubs, winter-time comfort is never far off in a smaller dwelling.

 

Here are some of our favourite ways to make your place warm retreat from bitter weather and early dark nights.

 

Layers

 

Winter is no time for bare surfaces. When the temperature drops, we pull out the knits. Blankets, carpets and throw-pillows are all great additions to making a space feel comfortable and intimate, and can easily be introduced or removed based on the season and changing decor preferences. Drape the layers over benches, toss them over couches, and nestle them on your favourite chair for a a warmer, softer, and more welcoming vibe on crisp day and chilly nights.

 

Touch and texture

Eliminate starkness from your space by including different textures across your furnishings. The difference in textures will contribute to overall hominess of your dwelling, where variations in pattern, fabric and even types of art can add depth to your decor.

 

This mix-and-match of textures will make for a unique coziness. For example, an old leather chair, a worn wooden table, sheepskin throw or a knit blanket all provide different tactile experiences that together add visual interest and a welcoming softness to a space.

 

 

Lighting

 

An easy way to influence the mood of any room is through lighting. For a simple way to make your space more peaceful, swap out cooler lighting for yellow-toned bulbs that cast a warming glow. Consider additional lighting beyond a single overhead bulb to usher in warmth and offer a sense of scale—think dedicated reading nooks, shelf lights and any other features you’d like to bring focus to.

 

 

Colour

 

 Nearly every colour has a mood, and can offer both warmer and cooler hues across different shades. Cooler colours make a space feel larger and airier, while warm colours make a space feel more intimate and are generally more welcoming.

 

For friendlier, warming influences in your space, choose options with yellow, red and gold undertones. For example, opt beige or cream instead of stark white, or deeper, more richly pigmented shades of your favourite colours for the walls.

 

 

Personal pieces

Warmth in decor is often related to a sense of comfort and inviting hominess. A great way to conjure this feeling is to include our personal items in our spaces.

 

Whether it is a set of vintage skis hung off the wall of a cabin, a stack of favorite books, an old framed poster, or even a chair that no longer matches a remodeled living room, personal pieces offer our spaces familiarity—an essential for lasting comfort.

 

 

Do you use your Summerwood build during the winter? What are your favourite ways for adding cold-weather pleasures to your space? Let us know by joining the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!