Build your own home office in a box?

01 Sep
Build your own home office in a box?
A $6,000 home office in a box (© Paul Hochman)

© Paul Hochman

A kit made building this stand-alone home office a cinch. It adds space while saving on costs and labor.

Short assembly time

Made by a Canadian company called Summerwood, this 8-feet-by-10-feet "Palmerston" style shed was customized online, on Summerwood’s Web site. Assembly took a day and a half and cost less than $6,000, including all labor and materials.

A $6,000 home office in a box (© Paul Hochman)

Piece by piece

Each wall arrived fully assembled, and the cutouts for each window had been done at the factory. All the contractor had to do was unload the pieces from the delivery truck and screw them together, then attach roof shingles and flooring.

A $6,000 home office in a box (© Paul Hochman)

A blank slate

Note that the interior comes unfinished and uninsulated. That’s because most home owners want to customize their office setup, layout and finish materials, which is best done on site. For example, you may decide to add a skylight or some air conditioning.

A $6,000 home office in a box (© Paul Hochman)

The right place

One benefit of an unfinished interior is it allows you to put electrical components exactly where you want them. In addition to standard wiring, heavier-gauge stuff (the orange-colored wiring) was run for a baseboard heating element. Two outlets were included at desktop level for lamps, a printer and occasional charging needs.

A $6,000 home office in a box (© Paul Hochman)

Keep it affordable

Most of the office furniture was purchased at IKEA, including these wall cabinets, from a line called EFFEKTIV. They are similar to much more expensive Italian office furniture and easy to assemble. This wall setup cost $45 for the wall cabinet frame and $60 for a set of two doors. So outfitting the whole wall with two setups cost $210.

A $6,000 home office in a box (© Paul Hochman)

Energy-efficient lighting

The LED strips are made by a German company called OSRAM Opto, which makes LEDs for lots of companies with names you’d recognize, like Sylvania and Samsung. LEDs use only about 10% of the energy of an incandescent bulb and throw off almost no heat. Plus, unlike incandescent bulbs, their light stays focused almost all the way to the surface they’re illuminating. The LED strips next to the wall were designed to add "wall-wash," or general ambient light; the LED strips on the cabinets’ front edge are for task lighting — for focused spots on the desk.

A $6,000 home office in a box (© Paul Hochman)

Add personality

Once the contractor finished installing insulation and drywall and painted the new walls, personal touches were added, including art and pictures. Computer speakers in Xbox green from Axiom Audio and a 21-inch Samsung monitor bring the office to full functionality.

Ultimate Backyard Office

CedarShed Industries

$12,999 kit

This 10-ft. by 12-ft. office comes as finished panels incorporating flooring, pre-shingled roof sections, and pre-hung windows and doors, and comes with attached 9-ft. by 9-ft. deck. The building pictured has extra windows and doors and sells for $14,999, including delivery to West Coast locations. It’s higher in other parts of the country.

For more information, visit

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Posted by on September 1, 2009 in Design


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