Easily identified by a juxtaposition of boxlike forms capped with single-sloped shed roofs facing a variety of directions, the Shed Style spread quickly throughout the United States after the construction of the Sea Ranch Lodge condominium complex in Sonoma County California in 1965. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the style was touted as a “Contemporary” design appropriate for Northwest living. The utilization 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 clerestory south facing windows, and an interior thermal mass could collect and store heat, thus saving energy costs.
The style experienced most of its popularity in the 1970s, where it was commonly used for houses, apartment complexes, vacation cottages, schools and small office buildings. By the mid 1980s, the style largely died out in urban areas mostly due to the high maintenance requirements of the wooden exteriors.
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. Roof-wall junctions are smooth and simple, with little or no overhang. Most Shed Style buildings are 1 to 1˝ stories tall and entrances are often recessed and obscured from the street. 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 roof line.