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.