A Habitable Shed in the Hilltops

Project Overview

The Situation

When Neale and Margaret Grubb sold their house in Tamahere they subsequently needed somewhere to live while their house was being built. After a stint house-sitting, they moved into their habitable shed on a hilltop just out of Cambridge.

The ‘hilltop’ land went on the market Monday, Neal saw it on Wednesday, they made the offer Thursday, and obtained their dream home site on Friday. Done and dusted. They liked the rural aspect and outlook, and it is peaceful and quiet on their new property – and they also can’t get built out. The next step was their house build, once builders became available, and they think that more and more people are building in this way these days.

Neale knew what he wanted and figured out that Waikato Sheds were just the company to fulfill his plans. The shed is lined and the living area insulated, with a mezzanine above providing further insulation and storage space. The shed is 170sqm overall with a living area of 70sqm and the shed itself measuring 100sqm. The Grubb’s would turn up to site every so often and there would be different piles of stuff so they guessed something must be happening.

What We Did

Geometrix drew up the architectural plans and living arrangements for the shed basing it off an
existing plan. There were some minor tweaks, such as deciding against hallways so as to maximise space, which then allowed for two bedrooms. Also to save space they ditched the traditional hot water cupboard and got an instant gas system, which left the cupboard free for brooms and mops. It’s the little things that make a difference. The kitchen came from Mitre 10 as a flatpack kitchen, the Grubb’s offered a few design ideas, and the plan was adjusted to suit their requirements. The kitchen needed to be both compact and well designed, with a good extractor fan system.

The Outcome


The glass in the shed is tinted and the windows and doors, being on a dairy farm, are fitted with fly screens – which also safeguard against other insects, especially with the exploding cricket population over a hot Waikato summer. Living in the space, they learned about downsizing from a house to living in a smaller footprint, and Margaret says until you move in you don’t really know. Occasionally, Margaret wants something, and looks longingly over at the shipping container on site storing most of their regular household belongings.

Ideas or solutions do come along though, and one of the additions to the shed was built for on for privacy – as the neighbours commented on the Grubb’s ‘lights-out time’! So they built a high wooden fenced BBQ area out from the main living area accessible via french doors. Instant privacy. There was also a practical need for a bit of shelter, as being in a high wind area, the washing was being whipped off the clothes horse, so they needed a protected area.

They have plans to rent out the habitable area of the shed in the near future once their house designed by Fowler homes is built, thus the area has been designed so both parties have privacy as the habitable area of the shed faces away from the house site. Margaret also built a small area for a garden which the future tenant will inherit.

Project Details

Client : Neale and Margaret Grubb