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Davis Journal

Detached living spaces deliver bang for your buck

Mar 02, 2021 11:31AM ● By Gail Newbold

Whether dubbed a man-cave, she-shed, art studio or home office, detached living spaces come with all sorts of benefits. These small stand-alone structures located on the same property as your primary dwelling can deliver a serious bang for the buck.

People use them as rental properties for extra income, or as individual dwellings for college students, elderly parents or as guest rooms, according to Lewis Barton of Lehi-based Lakeview Realty. Less-elaborate structures can serve as home offices that offer a quiet place to work away from the hustle and bustle of the main house, not to mention a next-to-nothing

commute. Some people build them as retreats for creative pursuits such as art, woodworking or Yoga.

Conversely, building an off-site playroom for noisy kids or teens, can buy quiet time for the adults inside the main house, adds Barton.

Bountiful resident and freelance sound editor Jon Clark needed a place for sound production, editing and mixing where the noise wouldn’t bother his wife. He checked Bountiful’s setback rules, then paid to have a 14- by 18-foot A-shed constructed on his property.

He did the finishing work himself, which included insulation and soundproofing.

“It doesn’t have any windows so it’s very dark inside,” said Clark, “but I didn’t want people to be able to see all my equipment.” He ran one 20-amp circuit to the structure, which powers his equipment, plus portable heating and cooling units. These days, he also uses his studio in his teaching job for Salt Lake Community College.

The cost for a simple detached structure can be about $10,000, and much higher for pre-fab modular small homes. Modal in Salt Lake City, for example, offers “high-end, low-cost minimal living” options starting at $89,000, according to its website.

If you’re interested in building a detached living space on your property, be sure to first check into Bountiful’s current codes for accessory structures.