How to Build an Old Western Storefront Shed
Today’s homeowner craves a little imagination added to utilitarian projects, so it’s no surprise you have your heart set on a shed that emulates an Old Western storefront. Backyard sheds are indispensable for stowing everything from grass seed to lawn mowers and weed whackers, but in the past, do-it-yourself engineers did little more than slap up walls, pop on a roof and hang a door. Find inspiration for your storefront shed by renting a few old John Wayne videos, partner, and you’ll be motivated to recapture that era when you build your backyard storage hub.
Sketch out the façade of your storefront shed by searching websites for drawings or photographs of actual Old West-styled general stores. Look also for images of products sold at these mom-and-pop stores so you can replicate barrels, boxes and crates, either as 3D embellishments or painted-on designs.
Rake up grass before using string and stakes to mark the boundaries of your old western-themed shed. Use 2-by-4s to construct a frame. Lay down gravel if you want an extra measure of waterproofing under the shed floor. Prepare cement mix in a wheelbarrow per package instructions and pour it over the graded area, allowing it to cure and harden before you remove the wood frame.
Build a floor. Re-use the aforementioned frame if it’s intact or make another so you can construct a wood floor atop the framework. Fashion floor joists cut from pressure-treated lumber and use screws to attach them to the floor frame. Cut exterior-grade plywood to size and nail it to the framework.
Frame up four shed walls using pressure-treated 2-by-4 lengths of lumber. Nail plywood or individual wood boards to the frame to build out the walls. Cut out the door opening with a saw. Frame the door opening with additional pieces of 2-by-4 lumber. Install antique or rustic hinges for authenticity. Hang the door. Add a flat plywood roof and cover it with roof tile.
Turn the shed into a western storefront. Mount a flat, horizontal section of plywood that runs the width of the shed to the area above the door that’s lettered with your choice of phrases: “Western Goods,” “Old West Store” or use your name to personalize the header with, for example, “John’s Old West Store.”
Give the shed’s exterior a weathered look using a wood distressing kit or paint the shed's exterior so it looks as though it’s been around for a few hundred years. Get as detailed as you like – paint a mural that depicts barrels of fruit, hanging hams and other touches, or add a faux window that emulates the look of a general store.
- Attach old metal replica signs, vintage oil lamps and other memorabilia to the shed’s exterior. Don’t forget a hitching post for the horses.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.
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