My father-in-law, a man of many hobbies, understood something important: Everybody needs a shed.

He had an empire of tiny buildings dotting his backyard: one to store tools, a second for metal work projects, and a third for woodworking. On Saturdays, the sound of sawing (or a smell of soldering) wafted out. He emerged at lunchtime with his latest project—a wooden marionette, doorknobs stripped of old paint, a set of legs for a kitchen island—and a look of utter satisfaction. Here are some clever, pre-fabricated sheds from San Francisco-based company Modern Cabana that my father-in-law would have enjoyed assembling, after the flat pieces arrived on a truck. He would no doubt have poured the foundation himself.

Above: Prices for Modern Cabana's wood-sided, pre-fabricated sheds range from $11,500 (for the smallest, unassembled shed kit) to $38,400 for a 12- by 25-foot shed fully installed on an existing foundation. A bathroom will cost about $6,000 more.

Above: Cabanas also can be customized with electricity, or with heating and air conditioning. The standard roof is designed to handle a snow load of 40 pounds per square foot.

Above: Designs require standard sizes of materials, which eliminates much of the waste of conventional construction.

Above: Custom bamboo flooring is standard on upgraded and custom models. If you want to put it together yourself, you'll need: a screw gun, a four-foot level, a chalk line, a staple gun, a hammer, a caulk gun, and two eight-foot ladders. And someone like my father-in-law to help. (A six-foot ladder and circular saw are optional.)



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