It seemed so hip, so NOW… forty-odd years ago, anyway. As a kind of a bridge between the Contemporary style of the mid-twentieth century and the Post Modern movement of the late-twentieth century, the Shed style had a brief moment of glory in the early 70’s. Shed style houses were simultaneously rustic and sophisticated; warm yet chiseled… the contradictions must have been part of their short-lived, but great, appeal.
Characterized by boxy forms clustered together, Shed houses typically have single-plane (shed) roofing with minimal overhangs (or none at all) and stained wood siding – often on the angle. While gabled examples do occur, they are not the norm. The “natural” look required a lot of maintenance, however, and many surviving examples are now being painted in more currently fashionable colors. And some are getting entirely new skins… giving the style a contemporary twist!
The style first emerged in the 60’s and examples were still being built well into the 1980’s. It found favor with builders of apartments and condominiums as the style appealed to younger renters more than middle-aged home buyers. Today, if you look around at new construction in your nearest upscale subdivision, you may see houses which are clearly taking cues from the Shed aesthetic! Yes — for better or worse — some attributes of the style have been experiencing a revival.
The woodsy look of the Shed style sold a lot of magazines and plan books in the 1970’s and early 80’s. Home Planners, Inc. 1980.
By the 1980’s, masonry veneers were beginning to creep into the exteriors of Shed houses. Best Home Plans, 1979.
This plan seems to anticipate the now-prevalent “open concept” floor plan; there is just one wall separating the living area from the dining/kitchen area. These space are connected visually through two openings. Best Home Plans, 1979.
A classic example of what the Shed style was all about. Cabins and Vacation Houses, a Sunset publication, 1967.
This architect-designed house in Kansas was built for a narrow, wedge-shapped, city lot. Its front has lots of glass to soak up a river view. Photo courtesy Google Street View.
The rear of the same house – this side does not have a river view! This is one of the few Shed style houses I have seen which still retains its original stained finish. Photo courtesy Google Street View.
A modest and late example. Here, board and batten takes the place of cedar siding. Realtor photo from zillow.com.
These townhouses have been painted a contemporary taupe with contrasting trim. Realtor photo from zillow.com.
This house has also been updated with paint. Realtor photo from zillow.com.
Though painted, I think this red still works with the original intent of the sleek but rustic style. Realtor photo from zillow.com.
The core of this house was clearly built in the Shed style. Additions, new siding and paint have “updated” its look. Realtor photo from zillow.com.
A late and transitional style built in the 1980’s. Here, Shed-style dormer windows serve as skylights on a house with a modified hip roof. Realtor photo from zillow.com.
A house built in 2011 clearly recalls the Shed style. Realtor photo from zillow.com.
Single-plane roof lines reminiscent of the Shed style join more traditional gables on this new house. Realtor photo from zillow.com.
Single-plane roof sections flank a modernist core on a house recently built as infill in an established neighborhood. Natural wood siding evokes the Shed style. Realtor photo from zillow.com.