Backyard boom of man caves, she sheds, children’s retreats

Man Cave/Kids retreat's rising in popularity - SHS real estate case study

Kim Cummings and her family have created an impressive “kids’ world” retreat out of a storage shed at their Macedon home. Picture: Jay Town

Victorians desperate for extra space at home after lockdown have created a backyard boom of elaborate man caves, she sheds and children’s retreats.

The addition of a secondary living space has become “do or die” for family buyers, as more homeowners were converting sheds and garages into an additional room on their properties.

Leading shed manufacturer Easy Shed reported a massive 450 per cent spike in shed sales across Australia in the past 12 months, and a 50 per cent increase in Melbourne during the latest snap lockdown alone.

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Man Cave/Kids retreat's rising in popularity - SHS real estate case study

Kim Cummings and her partner Wayne Greville with their kids Ella Greville (7), Mia Greville (10), Sophie Cummings (11), Jess Cummings (12), and Zoe Cummings (14) have put their shed to good use since lockdown. Picture Jay Town

Easy Shed’s head of digital performance Nikos Maniaty said sales were “going through the roof”.

“The biggest uptake of sheds has been in the cities, where space is premium,” Mr Maniaty said.

“We are seeing sheds being repurposed as separate living spaces, guest rooms, man caves, she sheds, aviaries, home offices, gyms, studios – even home distilleries, home cinemas and pool rooms.”

He said the trend had dramatically “accelerated” as more people sought out a cost-effective solution to gain space without upsizing.

Mini Garden Makeovers landscaper Kimberly Cummings and her partner Wayne Greville created a “kids’ world” in the existing shed at their Macedon property during Victoria’s initial lockdown last year, after feeling cramped at home with their five daughters.

The shed-turned-kids’ retreat is now decked out with couches, a TV, arts and crafts table, dress up box, plus pool and foosball tables.

Man Cave/Kids retreat's rising in popularity - SHS real estate case study

It’s become a necessary second living room for their big family. Picture Jay Town

Ms Cummings said the family “streamlined” their storage space and added to the room gradually across each of the lockdowns.

“(We have) a five-bedroom house but with five kids and us, we are still two bedrooms short so space is crucial in our home,” Ms Cummings said.

“We wanted to give them a room where they go have fun on their own. It’s been amazing. It means that they’re not always in our space too.”

Advantage Property Consulting director Frank Valentic said it was a “really smart strategy” to add a 10-20 per cent premium to an existing home.

No. 31 Woodlands Road in Cranbourne South is currently for sale with a decked-out game room the vendor added to an existing shed.

“It can add a lot of value, but the best ones can be used for all different functions,” Mr Valentic said.

“It gets into being a bit more risky when you’ve set it up as a concrete theatre room and you’re looking to resell, but your future buyers don’t like watching films at home.”

The buyer and vendor advocate said a “functional” second living space had become “a deal breaker” for his clients, as a shift towards properties with lifestyle offerings continued.

“It’s do or die,” Mr Valentic added. “I know most of my families won’t even consider a property if it doesn’t have a second living room.”

Auction case study - Westmeadows couple

Alan Drury recently sold his family home that featured a man cave with beer on tap. Picture: Rob Leeson

The Westmeadows pad appealed to buyers post-lockdown demands with a swimming pool and outdoor area.

An impressive man-cave at a Westmeadows home with a full bar recently helped the four-bedroom pad soar more than $100,000 above reserve to score $960,000 at auction.

The entertainment zone at 23 Arnside Crescent with a retro jukebox, gym, pool table, bar fridge and beer on tap convinced the upsizing buyer’s to stretch their budget after spending lockdown in a small townhouse.

Realestate.com.au data revealed a 117 per cent surge in online searches for properties with sheds over the past 12 months, while searches for garages had jumped 32 per cent.

Garage is also currently the most searched keyword, followed by swimming pool, outdoor area ensuite and airconditioning, while shed was at number 13.

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