My wife and I went the “shed” route due to county restrictions. A shed means it has no permanent heating or plumbing. That designation affects the tax burden. We had other code requirements to meet regarding access and septic but even in our restrictive overly regulated state we were able to comply.
We looked at Home Depot/Lowes kits but decided that for about the same money we could buy the materials to build a higher quality structure. We did invest additional money on insulation and finish materials (the same would be true if we purchased a kit shed) and have been enjoying our time there (10-20% of each year) in all seasons. Winter can get down to -20* F and we’ve stayed warm using a “Big Buddy” propane heater – because of the upgraded materials we used in the structure we had greater joist and rafter depth which allowed us to better insulate.
The structure is 12′ x 16′ main floor, with a covered 12′ x 8′ porch. Above the porch and projected into the vaulted interior we have a 12′ x 12′ loft. We’ve found this size to be very comfortable for extended stays. A small kitchenette doesn’t take up much room and makes meal prep and food/utensil storage convenient. A Murphy bed is very comfortable at night and folds up out of the way during the day. The higher ceilings give a sense of spaciousness.
Because of its size my wife (inexperienced but enthusiastic) and I (a well past his prime 50 something carpenter) were able to construct the structure (from hand digging the footings to getting the roof on and installing front door knob) in 10 days in a remote (no power) location. Paint, trim, insulation, etc were done in subsequent trips. The size also kept the costs down.
We spend anywhere from 4 of 14 days there per month. We’re off the grid so any electrical needs, tools mainly are run using a generator. We use rechargeable batteries for light. No internet or TV but we find that is a positive. Vehicle access can be limited in the winter but hiking in is fun too.