Architect Firm at Natick, Framingham MA - Millhawlk

Victorian Shed: history, buying, DIY and maintenance

What is a Victorian Shed

The Victorian shed is typically sought after when the owner needs to maximize their lot area. The design directly influences the functionality of this space, and our team of architects in Framingham MA and surrounding region is ready to offer you the best in this aspect.

With multiple functions, this area can move from simple storage to a more elaborate area, and for this reason, in some scenarios, the application of permit is necessary, and we, as architects in Natick MA and area, are specialized with this type of paperwork .

In addition, every care must be taken to ensure that the exterior visual  of this structure matches the main house, and the team of architects in Newton MA and Great Boston have designs that offer the best solution to make this happen, creating a harmonious outdoor environment.

Below, you will find an extensive content that will delve even deeper into the history, functionality, construction, and other interesting facts related to the impressive Victorian Shed.

What is a Victorian Shed

What is a Victorian Shed

A Victorian Shed is a small house with an area between 50 and 450sq ft (give or take), which works as a support to the main house, with multiple purposes, from being used as storage, till be used as a garage or office.

The “Victorian” in the name evocates the Victorian Style, a type of design very particular.

As has been highlighted, this “extra room” located outside (most part in the backyard) is a key space for the owner, see below a list of how you can optimize this area:

What the purpose can the Victoria Shed be used for:

  • Storage – most common to use, more indicated to small sheds (with 50sq ft or less).
  • Tool keeper – if you have a decent number of tools (carpentry, mechanical, or garden), this is the best room to keep them organized. Indicated to small sheds.
  • Bike keeper– If you are a cyclist who has a big concern to keep your bike safe and free of scratches, a medium shed (with 85sq ft up) is the best option for you.
  • Heavy equipment – A medium shed can hold a big lawn mower, a snow blower, a snow shovel, and other types of heavy equipment that need to be in a safe local.
  • Office – If you have a large shed (more than 300sq ft) and you’re looking for a quiet and cozy workspace, this room is an awesome option for you. The correct furniture and decoration can turn this area into a great space to work daily.
  • Gym – A large shed can accommodate your workout equipment, and you can use that space as a gym or yoga practice as well.
  • Hobbies – Art studio, music production, knit, reading space… There are so many possibilities that a large shed brings together, especially if you’re looking for a space to practice your hobbies.
  • Garage – Over 400 sq is possible to use your shed as a garage.

Now you know how to use a shed, maybe is time to hire us and implement a cozy and comfortable extra area on your property.

The History and Origin of the Victorian Shed

The History and Origin of the Victorian Shed (H2)

Origin of Shed

According to historians, the origin of the sheds came from the necessity of the Egyptian’s storage of grain and silos.

Not only in Egypt but in early Europe and ancient Romans, was found evidence of small safe spaces close to their houses used to stock olives, skins, and condiments. The name “Shed” came from an Anglo-Saxon expression used to describe a “cover” space.

Victorian Era

The Victorian style was an important design movement consolidated in the U.S., in the 19th century, which changed the way how the design was made. This era was a cultural change made during Queen Victoria’s reign.

This movement impacted the construction, bringing the concept of sophisticated and classy houses. A Victorian Shed will have a very imponent gable, with a trim work meticulous and elaborate.

Victorian Shed vs. Modern Shed Designs

The decision of which type of design you’ll pick for your deck will depend on what you want to transmit with the visual. And, of course, it is indicated you adopt a design like your main house, to have harmonic propriety.

See below the difference between Victorian Shed vs. Modern Shed Designs:


The Victorian style typically has accentuated pitch, like 8, 10, or 12, which turns the roof into a pretty imponent part of the visual. Modern designs most of the time opiate to flat or low-pitch roofs.

Siding color

Victorian usually have colorful exterior siding, and modern usually use sober colors, like concrete and wood tones.


With very elaborate big trims around the windows, Victorian style evidence more this part of the windows. The modern style looks to “hide” this part of the trim, opiating to simple profiles of metal extrusions color match with the siding around the windows.


You’ll find a lot of shapes at your finish in a Victorian Style. Curves and rounded shapes are typically used in this design – in a harmonic way. Modern will bring more squared and simple shapes to the design, bringing a more minimalistic vision.

How long will a shed to house last?

The average time of durability of a shed is 10 to 30 years or more than that. The key factor to a long endurance of a shed is the materials and foundation.

Buying or building a shed: differences

Have a substantial difference between buying and building a shed. Let’s check the main points:


Because of the production in scale, a shed sold in stores is not durable as a shed built from zero.


Building a shed will give you the possibility to buy good materials, that will turn your shed durable. Pre-build sheds usually use cheaper materials, because those who build think about the profits on top of it.


A shed built in loco will have a more solid and deep foundation, which will make your shed safer and more solid. For an easy and quick installation, a diamond pier foundation is a good fit as a structure for your shed.


Your shed can be used for multiple purposes, but this will depend on your design. A pre-built shed will not give you the opportunity to optimize your space, different from a built-in loco shed.

What is the largest shed without a permit in Massachusetts?

According to the IRC guidelines, a structure with more than 200sq ft will request a permit application.

But take into consideration that this area can change depending on your zoning code, we, as an architecture firm, attend as architects in Natick, Framingham, and Newton MA, and we can guide you to avoid permits or, if needed, provide permit application plans.





How to Build a Victorian Shed

How to Build a Victorian Shed

The first step is checking if your shed will need a permit or not. From there, see the steps below:

Set of drawings

You’ll need floor plans, footing plans, framing plans, sections, details, and a finish schedule to start building your shed.


Set your foundation position on the land and start to excavate – 48” to sonotubes and 12” for the diamond pier – poor concrete or install the diamond pier.


Install your deck framing structure.


Rise walls following plans.


Use the framing plan to set your rafters and make your roof.

Windows and doors

Install windows and doors.

Siding and Shingle

Install exterior siding and shingle on the roof.


Install interior insulation on walls and drywalls.


Place your floor finish, trim on walls, and other types of finish indicated in your finish schedule.

Best materials to build a shed

For the Victorian Shed, we indicate that you choose the best materials, especially for the finish, and to help you, see below a list of materials that we indicate:

  • Diamond pier for foundations.
  • Pressure Treated for joists (with ground contact).
  • ¾” T&G AdvanTech for deck plywood.
  • Kiln Dried studs for walls.
  • Zip system and zip tape for wall plywood.
  • Fiber Cement siding James Hardie (for long last and less maintenance).
  • Azek or Wolf PVC for trims.
  • Nail finish or Cortex screws with plugins for PVC.
  • Alsco for aluminum flashings 019.
  • Firestone or ATAS for aluminum flashings 032 or thicker.
  • OSI MAX for caulking, and Dow Sil for color custom.
  • Hardwood flooring.
  • Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore for paint.

The Essential Tools for Building a Victorian Shed

To build a shed, we highly recommend that you hire a contractor, because this process needs to be made by professionals, for safety.

For contractors, the most essentials tools are:

  • Hammer
  • Cut Saws
  • Squares
  • Nail Gun
  • Level
  • Snap Line (shock-line)
  • Drills
  • Sawzall
  • Excavate tools
  • Caulk gun

This is just a brief list of the most common tools, during the process, different tools may will be necessary.

Safety Practices during the Victorian Shed Construction

Following the OSHA guidelines, see a list of requirements and PPE (personal protective equipment) that you need to follow during the construction:

  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Steel-toe boots
  • Hard hat
  • Ear protection
  • Toolbox-Talk
  • Fall protection license
  • Harness
  • Special pants
  • Cables in good condition
  • Ladders which support more than 250lbs

How do I make my shed livable?

First of all, you need to check with your zoning department what type of improvements you need to make your shed livable. Here are the typical requirements:

  • Interior finish
  • Insulation on the walls
  • A bath
  • HVAC
  • Power line and electrical equipment
  • Plumbing, sewer, and water supply
  • Airflow
  • Interior lighting
  • Fireproofing

Victorian Shed Maintenance and Care

We indicate that you use all the materials maintenance and care guidelines (provided by the manufacturer), like caulking replacement, shingle replacement, a new coating of paint, good use of the space, window replacement, and others.

Common issues with older sheds are typically related to humidity and structure. Pay attention to walls that are appearing different that what is normal, like mold and air bubbles behind the drywall.

If your drywall has a non-typical crack, check with a structural professional, because this can be a problem with your structure (overload).

Seasonal Care for Your Victorian Shed

The transition between seasons can degrade your shed because of the different weather exposure. This dramatic change can damage the shed materials. Check a few tips to avoid this problem:


Clean your gutter and roof, siding cleaning with a special detergent and water, pest control, chimney cleaning, and an exterior inspection is especially important to replace damaged materials.


Ventilation maintenance, a new coating of paint, and landscaping around the shed.


Double-check gutters and roof, waterproofing inspection, interior organization, and HVAC inspection.


Insulation inspection, doors, and windows inspection, snow removal, and interior maintenance to avoid mold.

Now that you have an entire analysis of a Victorian Shed, feel free to contact us to get your project and build your brand-new shed. Send a form and we will get back soon.

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So, at first, I was on the hunt for some architects in Natick to help me design my new sunroom. After poking around a bit, I found Millhawlk and after certain back and forth, I hired them. They did a pretty good job with the drawings and the permit stuff. Now, i'm enjoying the summer with the best part of my house, my brand new sunroom!
Paulinho da vila
Paulinho da vila
If you're looking for architects in Natick, we highly recommend Millhawlk Design & Architecture. We were looking for plans for new construction and were struggling to find a team that could help us bring our vision to life. That's when we found Millhawlk. They were amazing from start to finish. They listened to our ideas and worked with us to create a design that exceeded our expectations. They were always responsive, organized, and timely. We couldn't be happier with the end result! As contractors, we are very happy with the support during the construction, the architect was on the field at least once per week, which avoided a lot of problems on the execution. They deserve each of this 5-star review!
Anne Peacer
Anne Peacer
We had an amazing experience working with Millhawlk Design & Architecture. When we were searching for architects in Natick, we were impressed with their portfolio and decided to give them a try for a new construction drawings project. We're so glad we did! They were responsive, organized, and collaborative throughout the entire process. They listened to our ideas and worked with us to create a design that was perfect for our home. We highly recommend Millhawlk to anyone looking for architects in Natick!
Mônica Furbino
Mônica Furbino
I used the Architectural House Design services of Millhawlk in the Newton, MA area and it was a great success! The team was extremely helpful and competent, delivering the project within the stipulated time frame. What a beautiful design! I highly recommend them! Thank you!
Rafael Paranaguá
Rafael Paranaguá
We were looking for an architecture firm to do our plans for new construction, and with a recommendation of a friend who had a great experience with Millhawlk's services, we hired them. Their customer service was incredible, they followed and accomplish the scheduled for the project and also, the permit process was super smooth. They supervised the execution from beginning to end to ensure that our contractor was correctly following the project. Even with one or two divergences between the projected x the executed, the solutions came quickly and did not stuck the job site. I strongly recommend, 5 stars without a doubt!
Andrea Krause
Andrea Krause
Early this year I hired Millhawlk to turn a commercial area into an office/material storage/break metal business in Framingham MA. Was a very dedicated permit process and the floor plans were tricky as well, but their customer services and experience make our waaaaay life easy! The permit was approved with only a quick revision, which surprised us! If you are looking for a company that cares about your needs, hire this company!
Luiz Augusto
Luiz Augusto
I hired Millhawlk Projects to make a full set of drawings to a exterior deck in late 2019 at Fall River, MA, their support was awesome, the design process was very helpful, we had no clue about flooring deck, and then they brought a couple samples and explained how each deck works, same for samples, and at the end of the day, we chose Trex, and since there, no problems with the decking. About the design, they potentiated our ideas and the area for the deck. Regarding the permit process, was a very smooth application process, they take care of all the paperwork, inspections and back and forth with the town. We highly recommend their services!
Loryn Carvalho
Loryn Carvalho
I had a very good experience with Millhawlk Projects. They delivered everything we agreed on our contract . Very trustful and professional. I definitely recommend this company.
Louis H Costa
Louis H Costa
For the longest time, I've wanted to remove my steel gate and replace it with a brick fence going all around my front yard. To say the least, Millhawlk Projects is phenomenal! From the moment I first reached out with the job inquiry, and throughout the entire process, this company's staff always responded promptly and always with detailed answers for every question. The staff came across as highly professional, extremely reliable, and always showed up on time. The staff were very professional and reliable. I was impressed with their attention to detail - everything from the way they conducted themselves to their equipment was top-notch. Overall, I would highly recommend Millhawlk Projects, and I will definitely be calling them again in the future with any other projects.
Thomas Lee Brown
Thomas Lee Brown



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