WASHINGTON • About six years ago, Ms Chelsea Hadley left her job to run a small arts foundation from her house.
In theory, the idea was a no-brainer - she had two school-age children; her husband, musician Justin Reinhardt, already worked from home; and the flexibility was seductive.
But she needed a workspace - her house in Los Angeles was not designed for that kind of lifestyle.
"It's one big, open space," she said. "So we realised really quickly that with him working at home and me working at home and having two young kids, I was never going to get any work done and neither was he."
Adding a room would have busted their budget, but they did have a lot and a backyard - littered with outgrown toys - that needed updating.
The answer to everything was a US$60,000 (S$82,100) luxury shed by kitHAUS, a pre-fabrication maker that has created sleek spaces for clients including actress Amy Poehler.
Backyard sheds long ago morphed from dusty storage shacks to swoonable spaces that let people fulfil needs and fantasies for a fraction of what it would cost to trade up or remodel.
They serve as offices, meditation rooms, writing nooks, bars, saunas, guest suites or crafting cottages.
The popularity of the units is evidenced in the growth of shed companies. Business at Modern-Shed has increased 20 per cent a year for the past six years, said Mr Tim Vack, general manager of the Seattle-based firm.
While they come in many styles and prices, high-end sheds tend to use durable and ecologically responsible materials and they have bespoke details that help them match the main house, such as custom paint or curated lighting.