Having built custom studios for nearly two decades, the Modern Shed team was inspired to embark on a creative project in 2020, asking: ‘What can we do to serve this moment?’ In response, the team created its first-ever portable dwelling. Drawing on their design/build expertise and pursuing modern uses of space, the team created a beautiful, self-contained space big enough to call home, yet small enough to take anywhere: The Dwelling on Wheels, or The DW.
The DW captures the imagination of how we can conceive of our lives, offering agility in a simple and intuitive form. A classic gable form creates a recognizable home, with wall-to-ceiling window placements maximizing landscape views and sunlight. “The DW can do a lot-it’s great for enjoying nature short-term, for off-grid living, or as a second, remote home,” said Ryan Smith, Owner at Modern Shed. “Adjusting the floor plan even a little makes it a great home office that can move with people as their priorities move. I also think it’s a great ADU for someone looking to move closer to home, providing a way to have family close by. We’re really excited about the intersection of small, portable living with our experience creating spaces that offer our clients something really beautiful, and personal.”
The resilient, low-maintenance envelope is contrasted by a bright and spacious wood interior and sustainable linoleum flooring. The DW offers room for three with a large bed-just a few inches short of a queen-tucked below a twin in the sleeping area. Thoughtfully designed, built-in storage accommodates small living while the glass wall orients the structure to capture the horizon in the living room. Having worked with small spaces for a long time, the Modern Shed team shows sensitivity to conquering limited square footage – The DW doesn’t attempt to fit an entire house into a small footprint, instead the project works with the unique opportunities that building small affords, conquering the challenge to create a space that feels right-sized.
“With small buildings, you don’t want to feel trapped, so we wanted to erode the feeling of the walls as much as possible,” Smith added. “This prompted the window at the end of the hallway that helps the line of sight continue outside, eroding the corner and opening up the structure front-to-back. Pulling the windows all the way up to the ceiling helps lift and enlighten the structure as well.”
With a solar array on the roof equipped with batteries, and a wood stove to provide warmth, the DW is equipped to be used off-grid. The dwelling comes with two electric wall heaters as a backup, and is ready to accommodate water tanks or a composting unit. Built efficiently with high-intensity, slim insulation paneling in the walls, the DW likely won’t require heat when occupied in a Northwest climate. The DW was created with non-toxic materials and natural finishes. The DW comes with a custom staircase to extend the deck to the ground when parked-a deck extension is also possible, to create more space to dwell on the porch.
Photos: Courtesy of Modern Shed