80’s Revival

Rediscovering the Shed Style

1980sIf your my age and you have young nieces or nephews you know that the 80’s are back again, and have been for a while. All things return, good or bad, given enough time. If you follow the waves of home fashion styles you know that in the 60’s, nationally, we rediscovered the Victorian. Locally, we reclaimed and revived the Montford neighborhood. Since, it has been Bungalow-Mania for over two decades in all areas of North, West and East Asheville. New artsy crafty constructions are still popping up in all areas of town and beyond. Is that all we know how to build these days?

76247_153879677990704_346866_nNow – we are in a well established trend of modernist styling and romancing the few atomic ranches we have here. Neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills to the East, Malvern Hills to the West and Lakeview Park to the North provide an assortment of ranch style homes, both adaptable & plain and some swanky & sophisticated.

Cedarwood04webSo, that leads us to the 70’s and 80’s. Huh?  Yes, there are some period developments, including a wave of condos, in all directions with a reasonable proximity to downtown, but still nestled in the woods. How many times do we hear clients say that is what they want? These places offer established open floor plans, vaulted ceilings, larger bathrooms than decades past and great indoor/outdoor living relationships. Sure – you have cedarwood0854webto scrape off some popcorn ceilings, lay down some hardwoods in place of carpet, replace large track lighting, but there are some good bones for today’s clean and open modern living. Given what we have in Asheville you more than often have to work a little to make your modern nest within this rustic environment and housing stock. If you search you will find Cedar Wood to the East, the Timbers to the North and Laurelwood to the West. All are simplified versions of the Shed Style of Sea Ranch, but easy enough to strip down and create something chic.


According to the Washington State Department of Historic Preservation, “The Shed Style is easily identified by a juxtaposition of boxlike forms capped with single-sloped shed roofs facing a variety of directions. The style spread quickly through the United States after the construction of the Sea Ranch Lodge condominium complex in Sonoma County, California in 1965.  The use of the style in the 1970s coincided with the energy crisis and some of the better examples employ passive-solar design elements.  Features such as south facing windows at the roofline (clearstory windows) paired Shed Stylewith interior elements such as brick floors or rock walls which could collect and store heat, saved energy costs.”

“Exterior walls are usually covered with flush board siding, applied horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally to follow the lines of the shed roof.  Builder examples often used T1-11 siding, while high style examples are clad with cedar shingles. The junctions of the roofs and walls are smooth and simple, with little or no overhang.  Most Shed Style buildings are 1 to 1½ stories tall.  Entrances are often recessed and obscured from the street and windows tend to be a variety of sizes and shapes.  Long narrow windows installed vertically or horizontally are common, as well as windows that are angled to follow the slope of the roof line.”

Cedarwood01web“The style’s popularity peaked in the 1970s, when it was commonly used for houses, apartment complexes, vacation cottages, schools and small office buildings.  By the mid 1980s, the use of the style in urban areas dwindled, mainly due to the high maintenance requirements of the wooden exteriors.”

It takes over 30 years for styles to circle back around. In the 80’s I was dressing like the 1950’s. Now I’m venturing into the next era of home remodeling. I’ll be offering more on this unexplored territory on Modern Asheville in the next few months. Play some Cure. Pencil in some eye liner. Follow along.


5 responses to “80’s Revival

  1. Hey Troy – really enjoyed this! I’ve been to a condo in the Timbers and it was beautiful. I still love living in Montford but I am pretty tired of the 100 year old drafty house. Anyway, glad you are back and I hope to see you one of these days. We have 3 empty studios at Warehouse now – never happened before. The RAD is is flux as always. Take care, bf

    new painting (16×16):

    [image: Inline image 1]

    • Asheville Modern Architecture, Design and Real Estate

      Thanks Barbara. I will come see you again when I get settled in. It will be another month. Love the work you are doing and will definitely do a feature on it by spring. Stay warm!

  2. I’m in the very early stages of a shed design just N of downtown. Is it something you like to see in a neighborhood built in the 1920s? Interesting post and I’ve been listening to ‘disintegration’ again recently.

  3. I am anxiously awaiting some inspiration, we purchased our home nearly 1.5yrs ago and I have been really struggling to figure out how to update it without loosing it’s character. There isn’t anything that I have come across that is like our home and I just discovered the “shed” style which in many aspects fits our home (though it is mixed with a raised rancher), so the decorating has had me stumped. We love our location, neighborhood, yard, and home, we just want it to feel more like us. I am excited to see what you are able to share that might help me figure this out.

    • Asheville Modern Architecture, Design and Real Estate

      Hi Hilary,

      Thank you for the note. Are you in Asheville? My partner and I have started a company called Design House. We offer a free one hour design consultation if you are interested. Also, I’ll be publishing some updates in the next month on our own shed style condo. We have gutted the interior and it is looking great. Either way good luck with your home!

      Thank you,


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