• Gunn Meyerhoff Shay

Taj Ma Hen - A Design Build by the Waters

Updated: May 29

The past ten weeks have been unlike any other time in my life. It felt as if instantly my entire routine became a distant memory. The GMShay team no longer had the morning song blaring or first cup of coffee/tea in the 12 E Bay Street office as we had quickly converted spaces in our various homes to become our new offices. We instead looked forward to morning call ins and were happy to hear each other’s voices as we confirmed being in good health and spirits. On the home front, uncertainty of future food supply and access to goods loomed. My husband and I decided to ramp up our efforts to ‘live off the land’; daring to take it one step further than having planters and growing crops and herbs.


The subject of chickens had been brought up several times in my household and finally it was decided that the time had come. We sourced the hens, bought a hen house and all seemed well at first. Perhaps it was the feeling of personally being ‘cooped’ up inside that made It obvious that there was more to be done and though they seemed content, a larger area to roam about would make them happier.


Pen to paper – we made a plan, bought the supplies and convinced ourselves that we could make short work of the task despite having minimal field experience. I now have a deeper appreciation for construction workers and the beauty in a precisely cut 45-degree angle. Our simple design using 4x4 and 2x4 lumber pieces, was strengthened by the little details, especially the eye-catching door design and using our favorite color. The deep purple contrasted nicely with the hardware cloth and chicken wire. Great care went into deeply trenching around the structure in order to lay in hardware mesh to add an extra layer of protection from all that pose a threat. It was quite a journey and a good lesson in patience, working efficiently and not making the same mistake twice.

Phase two will involve building a roof and creating a system for rainwater run-off collection to irrigate the garden. For now I spend my free time watching our ad free reality show featuring our brood and enjoying their antics while relieving my mind temporarily from the problems of the world.


-Latoya and Chris Waters




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©2018 Gunn Meyerhoff Shay Architects, PC 

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