Staycation in a shed? Vancouver-based Novella Outdoors builds custom hideaways for work, storage or leisure

The company offers 25 customization packages, and models start at $18,900

Credit: Novella Outdoors

The company offers 25 customization packages, and models start at $18,900

They say that mixing business and friendship can be one of two things: the key to your success or a total nightmare.   

Well, it turned out to be the right move for Novella Outdoors, an offshoot of contractor Novell Design Build, formed by close friends Angelito Camaclang, Laurel James, and David and Colleen Maranda. “We took a friendship and a passion for nature and building and design, and I think that’s the basis of what created Novella Outdoors,” says part-owner David Maranda. “We see a need to help people make connections with nature, and we think we’ve done it in a meaningful and really beautiful way.”  

The year-old Vancouver company specializes in custom-built sheds that help people move their indoor lives outdoors. Its cocoon-like, insulated hideaways have a variety of potential uses, from home offices to leisure spaces to guest bedrooms. The Novella comes in five base models ranging from 60 to 108 square feet, with 25 distinct packages for customization. The unfurnished base model starts at $18,900.  

Asked why he and his partners chose this niche business, Maranda sounds confident in his mission statement: “The clarity came about during the initial stages of COVID,” he explains. “There’s no vacationing elsewhere; people are staycationing, encouraged to stay in their neighbourhoods. And then how living is changing in British Columbia, how there’s multigenerational homes and housing prices are going through the roof—people are needing solutions. And a lot of it is space and connection with the outdoors, and it was just a natural extension for us to realize that, well, beautiful sheds would solve a lot of problems.” 

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Given evolving pandemic restrictions, many Canadians continue to value hybrid work. “I can’t recall living in a more pivotal time,” Maranda says. “And even now, when we’re coming out of COVID, people are going, Do I really want to go back to the office five days a week? Everyone’s opening their eyes to what’s possible now and what they really value, and things like spending time in nature, spending time with family, spending time at home, making that functional, that’s the trick. This is why I’m really excited about what we’re doing.”