Dec. 3 2010 12:00 AM

811 Bement St., Lansing


    Property: 811 Bement St., Lansing

    Owner: Sam Usman

    Assessed value: $12,900

    Owner says: Could not be reached for comment

    This property matches the season in both color scheme and in deed. Just like the leaves, this property features a palate of orange and brown, and parts of it seem to be falling to the ground.

    The brown siding of the house is not in bad shape, showing a reasonable amount of dents and weathering. Most of the windows and doors are boarded up and the paint on the porch is well beyond peeling. The worst part of the lot would have to be the shed behind the house. It lacks a door, it’s beginning to rust, it’s quite misshapen, and houses random garbage and cinderblocks.

    — Meghan Spork

    critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Barn, shed, Quonset hut, privy —
    call it what you like, these structures like the small metal building
    accompanying the petite early 20th century house in the Hosmer
    Neighborhood at 811 Bement Street are simply outbuildings. They’re
    small structures for things and/or activities you don’t want in your
    house. People tend to think of these ancillary structures as
    inconsequential to the overall aesthetic of the home. Outbuildings,
    like garages, are an extension of the home, and neglected ones,
    particularly the highly visible, detract from the overall
    attractiveness of the primary structure. Outbuildings can add immense
    style and delight to your home. They can be a great storage solution
    for narrow urban sites too restrictive for a garage.

    are a great way to improve your property. They’re typically small,
    ranging from sheds, cabins, tractor barns, workshops, home offices,
    studios, craft rooms, pool houses, cottages and coach houses. The
    options are fairly endless, making them good DIY projects.

    vast majority of outbuildings are available as building kits at any
    home improvement store. If you are really ambitious, you can design and
    build your own.

    about designing and building your own? Another excellent option is
    hiring a skilled local craftsman for the job. Lansing has a variety of
    builders who have a great reputation for quality, and most small
    outbuildings can be completed in a day, often at a price more
    reasonable than a kit. Make sure to take the time to research which
    style and construction type of building will most suit your lifestyle
    as well.

    Outbuildings are great because in addition to adding practical storage
    to your property, they can add charm and character. Outbuildings don’t
    have to be strictly utilitarian — have fun with them. Depending on your
    taste, outbuildings look great with additional touches such as
    shutters, flower boxes, windows and/or decorative gables to suggest.

    An outbuilding is a significant financial investment and it is important to protect your asset with routine maintenance.

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