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Custom Backyard Studio Shed: Zac Nafziger Customer Story

Award-winning stained glass artist Zac Nafziger recently welcomed the arrival of his new backyard studio shed — a custom building from Byler Barns.

“When they called and said it was on its way,” said Zac, “I sat outside as if it was Santa Claus or an ice cream truck just waiting. I took pictures as they drove down the lane. They put my shed in the middle of the road and turned it around. It was pretty much the coolest thing I’d ever seen.”

Zac started creating with glass as a high school student at Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He went on to study art at Savannah College of Art & Design and Eastern Mennonite University. You can see many of his commissions around the downtown area of Harrisonburg, including The Church of the Incarnation, Community Mennonite Church, Ice House Studios, and Virginia Mennonite Retirement Center. These works and more have earned him many awards and distinctions both locally and nationally.

The Hunt For A New Studio

ZN Stained Glass occupied a couple of other spots in the downtown area of Harrisonburg. But with space getting tight, and rent payments rising, Zac needed a place and quickly.

His challenges included finding something close to home, affordable, and with plenty of light. When he realized renting a large enough space close to his home was out of the question, Zac started researching backyard studio shed options. And nothing can get closer to home than the backyard.

He drove to every place possible. He even looked into overhauling a cargo container. But the turnaround time on that idea was six months and he needed something faster than that.

That’s when he visited Byler’s.

“Working with Drew [sales representative at the Harrisonburg location] was great,” Zac said. “He was very helpful and into the process. He really understood that this wasn’t just a building, this was something meaningful.”

And, Drew realized it was important enough that six months was too long to wait. Byler’s was able to build, deliver, and set up Zac’s new studio in two weeks. “At first, they said it would be four weeks and it only took two,” said Zac. “For them to be able to get it here extra fast was meaningful for me.”

Designing A Backyard Studio Shed

Zac chose to customize one of Byler’s Premier Series buildings to meet his backyard studio needs. “The customization process was so easy,” he said. “I went just went in with a wish list.” 

He chose double doors off-center to match the placement of his previous building. He upgraded the window package with three additional windows, stacked together to make one large one facing east for optimal lighting. Then, he added five transom windows for indirect lighting. Zac also had the building framed as tall as possible, elevating the ceiling, and upgraded to a 7/12 roof pitch. 

“I asked my wife and she said, ‘Don’t get a typical shed roof.’” So, to help with the “not-shed-like” requirement, he went with a copper-colored metal roof that blends well in his Augusta County residential neighborhood.

A Backyard Studio Shed Under Budget

“I think while I was shopping,” Zac said, “the important thing was budget because like most artists we don’t necessarily run with a safety net. We run with tens of thousands of dollars worth of hoarded supplies because we keep making things. So, the thing I had to do was make it affordable.” And, he added, something he could grow into.

Talking about affordability, Zac explained that some of his options were going to cost as much as two years of rent payments. His Byler studio cost less than one year of rent payments.

“I couldn’t have been happier with the whole process. From getting my shed designed to actually have a finished studio that’s my own. I would recommend this to any artist looking for their own spot.”

If you’d like a backyard studio shed of your own, reach to a Byler’s representative. They’re trained to help you customize the studio of your dreams.

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