Outbuilding Ideas: How to Create a Personal Oasis

by John Clapp 07/10/2022

American culture continues to evolve in ways that position couples and families at home. Remote learning and home-schooling place children squarely in the living space longer than those who commute to traditional institutions. Growing work-from-home opportunities allow professionals to reduce drive times and, sometimes, take a little tax deduction for home offices.

What all of these scenarios have in common is that someone needs a little "me time." That's why converting an existing outbuilding into a private oasis is a great idea. If you are among the ranks of people who dream about some extra privacy, these are ways to make that fantasy a backyard reality.

1: Renovate Your Barn Into a Backyard Office

Although remote work delivers significant lifestyle flexibility, it's not a seamless transition for everyone. The common distractions of home life simply do not disappear. If you find yourself doing laundry and distracted by others in the household, you may need to commute across that lawn. Old barns rank among the perfect outbuildings to remodel into office space.

The high roofs and loft space create opportunities for storage. Many enjoy traditional barn doors that make bringing in large desks and office furniture convenient. The key elements to converting a barn typically include insulation, fixing interior walls and securing sometimes drafty double-doors. It's not uncommon for property owners to mirror the vintage barn look by using materials such as interlocking lumber for wall materials. When updating a barn, consider accentuating the natural beauty of large posts and beams.

2: Turn a Large Shed Into a Luxurious Spa

You can pay to be pampered at professional spas, but what if you could include some of those relaxing perks on your own property?

One of the hot trending outbuilding renovations involves running power and water to underused wooden sheds. The interiors are then remodeled using wall materials such as tongue-in-groove western red cedar. A seating platform can be built to one side and heating units consistent with a sauna can be integrated. This type of oasis often includes an oversized cast iron bathtub with space for scented candles and incense.

3: Enjoy More Sunlight With Glass Houses

Converting an outbuilding into a glasshouse is a cost-effective opportunity. One strategy is to collect seemingly useless windows people throw away after updating theirs. Sturdy old windows generally find their way to local landfills, junk stores or sell for cheap on platforms such as Craigslist. Collecting odd-sized ones present an opportunity to remove the existing outbuilding sheathing and replace it with floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

This glasshouse design can be topped off by affixing a thick plexiglass roof. Converting a shed or other outbuilding into a glasshouse uses budget-friendly and sometimes free materials. Once complete, it serves as a perfect greenhouse or place to relax in the warming sunlight.