bunkie Posts

Crowning Our Annual Photo Contest Winners: Top 3 Photos of 2015


photo contest 2015 summerwood products

One of our favorite annual events takes place in the Summerwood design office every spring – our extremely popular Photo Contest winners are chosen! We’re blown away by our customers’ enthusiasm for our contest and love picking through the latest photos and awarding cash prizes. Our top prize winner takes home $250, second place takes $150, and third place is awarded a cool $100. Not bad for sending in a few photos of your outdoor project! Remember that if you have photos that you haven’t sent in before it’s never too late to do so; send us your photos today and we’ll enter them into the 2016 contest.

The Top 3 Photos of 2015 (Chosen by our design staff!)

2015 was an exciting year featuring many exciting and custom projects, and as usual selecting our winners was extremely challenging. We receive hundreds of photos every year and selecting three finalists is no small feat!  Without further ado here are our top 3 photos for 2015:

1) 10’x10’ Glen Echo Bunkie from Napanee, Ontario


Our 1st Place Photo Contest Winner for 2015

Once again our Ultimate Glen Echo “Permit-Free” Bunkie was a monster hit among customers looking for extra sleeping space at their vacation and cottage properties. This gorgeous Western red cedar bunkie blends in with the trees and serves as a real lakeside retreat in Ontario – a real asset to any cottage vacation rental looking for “permit-free” sleeping and storage space. The double French doors let in tons of natural light and also allow for storing oversized items over the winter months. As always a pull-down ladder for loft access and lots of opening windows are staples of this building design and allow for relaxation and cool breezes to flow in. The customer-built front deck looks like a great spot to kick back in a comfy Adirondack chair and listen to the waves lap up against the shoreline.

Congratulations to our first place winners and recipients of our $250 cash prize!


2) 8’x13’ Verana Studio/Shed from Oakville, Ontario


Our 2nd Place Photo Contest Winner for 2015: “Wow…..this is pretty cool news! We love the garden shed!”

While we love classic garden shed designs we also love when our customers push the envelope and allow style and function to blend together. Our Oakville-based customer was looking for a garden shed that would immediately blend into her yard and feel like it had been there for years. To solve her storage and design dilemma we custom-designed this 104 square foot beauty which was painted to match the existing stucco home. One of the coolest features of this particular shed/studio is that the customer chose to partially insulate the building. Why’s that a good idea? By insulating the floor and wrapping the building with moisture-resistant vapor barrier this customer could easily finish insulating the walls and roof down the road and would have a 4-season studio space. This can be particularly valuable in the event you may need an office or extra guest room, and can also be an enticing feature to potential buyers if you were selling your home.

We adore the transom windows on the sides of the building that let some light into the building but don’t sacrifice the privacy and security of the items stored within. The frosted glass on the front doors will keep the building feeling airy without showcasing the not-so-pretty items stored inside, and a small deck and simple pot lights add to the charm and character of the building. The roof overhang of this building was customized to fit within a tight space and to conform to local bylaws and will keep anyone using the building dry regardless of the weather.

Congrats to our 2nd place finisher!


3) 12’x24’ Surfside Cabana in Toronto, Ontario


Our 3rd Place Photo Contest Winner for 2015

What better place to cool off from a refreshing swim or to relax with a cold drink on a hot day? Our Surfside cabana truly lives up to its name on an everyday basis and is one of the most popular pool cabanas with customers and industry professionals alike. These customers were after a building that would blend indoor and outdoor living and would blur the line between inside and out. Huge sliding French doors were the perfect solution! A simple whitewash of the interior makes the building feel bright at any time of the day and some simple yet beautiful décor make this the place to be when hanging out close to the pool. The cedar shingles will age to a silvery grey and will last a lifetime, adding character and definition to the building throughout the years.

So there you have it, our 2015 photo contest winners! Ready to start the process on designing your own custom structure? Click over to the Summerwood Custom Design Center or contact a design consultant today! Have pictures you’d like to send to us? Email them directly to design@summerwood.com or use our online photo upload tool. Check out our Photo Contest page to see past winners, we’ll also soon profile our 2015 honorable mentions on this page as well.

Small in Size, Big on Function: Leading the Tiny House Movement


Over the past few years we’ve been hearing more and more about tiny houses. Admittedly our design team was initially a bit skeptical about the concept of cramming all of our everyday household items into a very small space. In today’s “bigger is better” culture we truly thought the tiny house movement would come and go quickly. But when we started seeing tiny homes and tiny home kits pop up in Texas of all places, we know we were wrong to doubt the trend! Small house designs and small home kits continue to be one of the more popular conversation starters the Summerwood design staff engages in with our customers. In reality we’ve been building micro homes and small cabins and cottages for over 20 years, making us an ideal resource for designing and purchasing a tiny home kit.

Save Space & Earn $$$ with Your Own Tiny House

Tiny homes have exploded in popularity over the past few years and Summerwood Products’ line of outdoor structures have been a natural choice for tiny home builders across North America. Our DIY and fully-customizable tiny home building kits can be designed to your exact specifications and can be fully insulated for use in all four seasons just about anywhere in the world. We had the great pleasure of working with a Nashville-based client, Rebecca, on the design of a tiny home that new serves as an investment property and offers space for guest overflow. Here’s a Q&A with Rebecca’s story (and some incredible pictures she shared with us!).

Why did you decide to purchase a Summerwood building specifically?

My husband and I chose to buy a Summerwood product specifically because we truly feel they have the best kit designs out there. We had looked at a few competitors and just felt there was no match for Summerwood. We loved that the designs are customizable, and spent a lot of time choosing exactly which style of cabin we wanted, and how many doors/windows etc. It was a fun process!


Sleeping space for guests (paying or otherwise!) or perhaps a year-round living space.

What did you intend to use the building for? Why did you need it?

We have a smallish house in Nashville without an easy way to add on to it. With the birth of our son our house felt increasingly cramped and we were without a way to host guests. Additionally, we wanted to be able to rent out part of our house for income, and with short term rental websites like airbnb, it is very easy to use a space for two purposes. So our Summerwood cabin is now part-time guest space, part-time rental. We love it!


Tiny home living doesn’t mean giving up on modern comforts!

How was the building experience?

The building experience was honestly a bit harder than we’d expected. We had a “house raising” after we received the kit, when around 8-12 friends/family members came to get us started. We got a lot done that first day, but there was still a lot left to do, and we generally were able to work primarily during our son’s naps (so, not that much). It was often enjoyable, at times it was frustrating, since we didn’t really have building experience going into this.

skylight-pullout-bed-tiny house

With an open roof space, skylight, and pull-out bed, Rebecca is making the most of this small space.

How has the building helped alleviate a previous need?

We have started to host our first airbnb guests and we are loving it! And we now have a place for friends and family to stay! It is absolutely wonderful to have it finished.


How would you characterize your experience overall?

Our overall experience was that this was more difficult than we thought it would be, but that we do not regret going with Summerwood at all. The design continues to please us – we love the dormer, the rounded door, the tall ceilings – and Summerwood was helpful throughout our experience.


Live in a cold climate? Insulate your tiny house for year-round living in comfort.

Design Your Tiny House Today

Start online with our Custom Design Center to begin designing and pricing your own tiny house or give us a call now at (800) 663-5042 to talk about your ideas, we love answering your questions and helping make your tiny house plans turn from dream to reality!


Best Seller: Permit Free Cottage Bunkie

We won’t make you wonder, our most popular building of the season is definitely the permit-free Glen Echo Bunkie!

You can almost smell the cedar!

You can almost smell the cedar!

Ultimate Glen Echo Bunkie

Ultimate Glen Echo Bunkie

Here’s a few reasons why Glen Echo Bunkie has been so popular this spring.

  • It’s a 10 x 10 building, so at 100 sq. ft. it’s permit-free in most areas!
    Can you say woo hoo!? Awesome.
  • 3 foot front-overhang creates a bonus 130 sq.ft. half-storey loft space.
    Perfect for storage or extra sleepers.
  • Efficient: Front and rear dormers max-out the loft space, enough for a queen size mattress!
  • Customizable: You choose your doors and windows, we have over 50 to choose from.
    So you can gaze upon your lovely view!
  • Stylish: This Western Red Cedar Cottage Bunkie is a lovely focal point.
    It may steal the spotlight!
  • Includes an attic ladder which allows access to the loft area, but leaves usable floor space downstairs when folded up.
  • Affordable! We’re a custom builder, allowing you the flexibility of creating a Bunkie that’s as elaborate or simple as you like.
Bunkie view from the front

Bunkie view from the front


Bunkie view from the back

Here’s why

It’s the perfect addition to your cottage property for a lot less than building an addition and living through a renovation. Yes, we did say it’s permit-free, as it’s only 100 square feet! Also, it won’t affect your property taxes, so not only is it lovely to look at, it’s a smart choice. Who says you can’t be both!?


Our 10 x 10 Cottage Bunkie doesn't need a permit!

Our 10 x 10 Cottage Bunkie doesn’t need a permit!

What can I use it for?

Well, The Glen Echo Bunkie is perfect for cottage hang-outs, extra sleepers, grandkids and all kids, man-caves, and even as a She-Shed (the ladies need some space too!)


The Ultimate Bunkie

Our Ultimate Glen Echo Bunkie was a hit at this year’s Cottage Life Show. The 10’ x 10’ bunkie is great because it’s a permit buster! With this new design you get 130 sq feet of half storey loft space in addition to the 100 sq feet of space downstairs. In Ontario, structures less than 100 sq feet do not require a permit, so your 10’ x 10’ bunkie will have an extra 130 sq feet of permit free space. No red tape, no extra fees!109

We increased the wall height and modified the roof pitch to 10:12. The 3’ cantilever beam shoot out at the front creates an overhang porch and extended loft space. The result? 130 sq feet of 4 ½ ‘spacious loft space!

There is a triangle dormer at the front, in addition to a shed dormer at the back and extra windows, which really open up the loft area. The main level has 3-screened windows as well as double French doors, allowing in natural light and offering great ventilation.

The exterior doors and windows are made from premium quality Western Red Cedar. The interior is made from sturdy pine featuring gorgeous pine flooring. The pull down attic style ladder is great if you want to close the loft and just hang out downstairs.

Metz41136_2Perfect for 2-3 season use, you can insulate your Bunkie for year round use. Even though the Glen Echo is a permit buster, it meets and exceeds Ontario building code. All our products are safely engineered and built to code even though they are not required to.

Make this your Ultimate Bunkie and customize it to your heart’s delight! Decide on your desired size, add shelves and benching, and pick any of our stylish door and window options as well as our maintenance free siding, to create your unique design.Metz41136-8Metz41136-9

The Ultimate Bunkie is designed for the everyday DIY-er. It comes in a pre-cut or pre-assembled format. So design your Bunkie, grab your tools and get ready for a fun summer project with your friends and family!