Remodel a 600 sq ft shed?

4 Replies

Hi everyone,

I have a 600 sq ft shed (build by the previous owner with permits) sitting in my backyard right now.  It has a new roof, basic framing, and electricity, no plumbing though.  Right now it's just used as storage and I feel like it's going to waste and the space could be used to generate income. It is attached to a one car garage with a wall and door, and sits about 5-6 feet from the back wall of my house. My idea is to turn it into something like a 2bd 2ba, with shared kitchen and living space, and either renting it out, or do airbnb.

I've never done any type of major remodeling or construction before: 

-Getting the entire project permitted by the city. Where would I start? Do i need to hire a designer to submit specs?

-Do I need to change the zoning from R1 to R2?  What's the likelihood I'll be successful here, or will this be a showstopper? 

-What's the best way to begin taking action here? I don't have any relationships with contractors, do I just start on Yelp?

-What else should I think about, and would this be a project worth undertaking, why or why not?

I'd be happy to clarify any details I may have missed.  Thanks everyone in advance for your thoughts and advice! 



Hey @Jeff Hsieh , 2/2 in 600sf? That's extremely tight, given that most 1/1's are 500sf+.

It sounds like since you don't have any DIY experience, you should start networking and get some general contractor referrals. They'd be able to answer the permitting and zoning questions. I'd start by reaching out to the realtor you purchased your home through and ask for a referral or two. Maybe even reach out to other realtors in that office, because every realtor has their own recommendations. 

As for if this project would be worth it, depends on what the costs are and what you can get per month for rent. Can't really answer that until you have bids and answers on the permitting and zoning.

Best of luck to you!

@Jeff Hsieh   I'd start with the city building department.  Take some pics of what you have today with you and sketch out what you have in mind.  The city will need plans, blueprints and possibly a variance to give you formal approval/issue permits (that's the part that the contractor and/or architect handles) but if you can give them a general idea of what you have in mind they should be able to at least tell you whether its feasible or not.   

City building inspectors sometimes get a bad rap because they can be the bearer of bad news, but by and large I've found that they're very helpful if you deal with them proactively....most have a lot of knowledge/experience about what will fly and what won't - even when it comes to cost.  And dealing with contractors will be a bit easier when you can say "I already ran the idea past Joe Smith at the building department and he said it sounds feasible but gave me a list of items that would have to be done to make the project work"......good luck.

Hey @Jeff Hsieh , I agree with@Don Petrasek . Go talk to the permitting department first. THere is no point in going further if the zoning will not let you do what you want. They will also let you know if you need to bring the building up to current energy codes (non-heated storage is very different from living), and can let you know what they will require for the building permits (may need an architect, maybe not). Try to talk with the planner on duty and a building plans reviewer if you can, the permit technician is a wealth of information about the process, but the reviewers will tell you what they expect to see.

This is all great feedback, thanks guys!

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