Relaxshax's Blog

More on Cathy Johnson’s Artist Shed/Mini-Office
October 18, 2010, 9:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Cathy (Kate) Johnson is one of the people who kindly emailed me some pictures of her own tiny house/shed/cabin/fort/shack creation- which I’ll include in my book through The Lyons Press- due out Fall 2011. We’re still accepting photo submissions, ideas, and general words of tiny house wisdom for this book which will be LOADED with tiny house designs!

We recently posted a few shedworking/tiny house photos and sketches from artist/tiny house author Cathy (Kate) Johnson on this very blog, and now having emailed back and forth with her many times, here’s a little more of what has transpired, informationally- as well as a couple more of her really cool sketches and watercolors….

Deek: Is the little outcropping a bathroom/toilet? (next to the bench in the sketch shown below)
Cathy: Nope, just enclosed storage since there isn’t much inside—we’ll keep deck chairs, a folding table, maybe a small BBQ and charcoal, etc. in there—right now there’s still a fair amount of construction stuff, tools, stain and such.  It’s in the yard next to our house, so I walk over here for the necessaries.  Getting plumbing and permits for a bathroom would have also upped the cost a LOT—we managed to keep it around $5000, even paying our friend Mark to do most of the heavy work.  He had recycled stuff and we had leftover plywood and boards from previous projects, so that helped too.  

Deek: Permit wise, based on size, were you left alone? Or were you forced to jump through various, razor-wired hoops?
Cathy: Permit-wise, we thought the City wouldn’t have to be involved, since it’s under 120 square feet, but turns out any deck of ANY size has to have a permit.  Then they made us get an electrical permit, and a licensed electrician, and dig an 18” trench, so that all upped the cost, but still I’m pretty pleased with the budget.

A thread-spool broom holder...

Deek: It looks like a great little cozy place to get creative with your artwork…
Cathy: It is! I’m very happy to have the brand new light in there, it makes doing art MUCH easier.  I can use the laptop over there if I want, but I have no internet connection, it’s too distracting!

Deek: That’s right, no Ms. Pac Man for you! Now your out of print book “A Naturalist’s Cabin”- can we still find it anywhere?

Cathy: You’ll still find it online in a few places.  I have a few copies, as well, mostly bought on Amazon for people who want them.  (Check out her site- email her? ). I also have a new book on the way as well- this one’s on keeping an artists’ journal.  I’ve done something like 10-12 books for North Light over the years…

She has! Definitely a hard working, VERY talented woman. Be sure to check out many of her works online….you’re sure to come away from the experience inspired! I actually now have a desire to mess with watercolors, something I’ve never done, after having seen some of her books on the subject…



6 Comments so far
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Fun post Deek! Cathy thanks for sharing your cabin and design sketches. Amazing that the project only ran about $5,000. Those french doors are perfect.

Comment by Alex

Great post about the shed. Who would’ve thought a deck would be the un-doing of a non-permitted shed?!

Comment by Timaree (freebird)

Alex, thank you! And thanks, Deek. We did do a fair amount of the lighter work ourselves–sealing, painting, tweaking, details and such, like shelves and Shaker pegs.

We were lucky Mark had time for us, and was willing to work within a budget. We had quite a bit of construction stuff, plywood, underlayment and such left from another job, and also hit Habitat for Humanity’s ReHab store and various thrift and junk shops. That helps too.

You can see that changing my original 8 x 10 plan to 10 x 10 gave us less deck room, so no bench, and so far we decided against a little overhang over the door…it would block my view of the trees!

Comment by Cathy Johnson (Kate)

Timaree, that surprised us (A LOT!!) too. it’s tiny, about 6 x 7 feet. The official word was that if it wasn’t built with a permit and too many people crowded onto it (how many can you GET on a deck that size?) and it collapsed, they could sue the City. HUH???

Comment by Cathy Johnson (Kate)

Yeah, if the deck collapsed and everybody fell, what, 7-8″ to the ground? Lol- typical book-quote ordinances, without any flexability….oh well….someone’s gotta cut checks for the city and keep everyone employed I suppose. 🙂 I always joke that in MA, the restictions are so ridiculous, that soon you’ll need paperwork in triplicate just to pass wind. Anyway, most importantly, you “Got ‘er done”.

I guess I paver/patio could have been another way to go, but the deck DOES lend itself to the shed nicely.

Comment by relaxshax

7-8″, if that! And I figure 6 people tops in that tiny space…

Unfortunately the deck was already built and the little storage extension built over it before the building inspector showed up, so a patio was out. Happily the P & Z guy was there too, and flexible!

And yep, we got it DONE, and we’re USING it, and love it! Thanks!

Comment by Cathy Johnson (Kate)

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