Home Ideas Merchant – More space is available. But instead of looking for extra square footage indoors, how about considering your backyard? Whether it’s an extra family room, a home office, or just a place to relax, these outdoor building ideas are full of function and creativity to make your small (outdoor) space ideas flow.
The B.C. Backyard glass-fronted cabins double as yoga studios, and homeowners can use them as guest rooms in a pinch. “They wanted a place to relax and exercise in nature, but they didn’t want to feel like they were in a fishbowl,” said designer Andrea McLean.
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Cabins are finished with stucco with large crosses so that owners can read outside even in the rain. Inside, woodwork hides wall beds, televisions and a split toilet.
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Instead of a garage, the homeowners of this West Coast yard opted for a concrete shed. Open rafters and skylights make the workshop look like a living space.
Toronto-based photographer Virginia Johnson has created a studio in her backyard for her art and clothing line. In recent years, she has written and illustrated a garden book called Creating a Garden Retreat, while continuing to produce her clothing line and popular clothes. But what she really wanted was a healthy break from the demands of being a mother, wife and entrepreneur. “I didn’t have an art studio,” she says. “Creating this place was about appreciating it more and recognizing that it was important to me.
The ceiling is reclaimed wood, which Virginia decided to keep pristine after initially thinking it would be painted white. “The beams were sharp, which added an edge that I liked,” she says. “They’re warmer because they give the space an oily feel.”
Across the grounds, studios have replaced anonymous pergolas and long-forgotten children’s sandboxes. The overall design is simple with clean lines and a concrete floor.
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Cory DeFrancisco of Muskoka Living built this crisp white shed for his mother in the backyard of her Muskoka cottage. In the garden shed there are 12 flower beds where she grows fruit and vegetables. “Cooking and eating are my mother’s greatest passions in life, along with gardening. She is an amazing cook. It’s a challenge for her to put out food all day,” says Cory.
Vancouver designer, cookbook author and baker Rosie Daykin is an avid gardener, and the vegetable gardens she grows are a testament to her skills. In the house’s lush yard, she painted an 8-by-10-foot chicken coop the same color as the fence to unify the yard. The chicken coop has a run in the back so the chickens can spend the day in the sun.
Toronto-based screenwriter and producer Tassie Cameron has turned a small warehouse into a creative hub. “I’ve always been fascinated by outhouses and hideouts. When I bought this house in the Little Portugal area of Toronto in 2012, it came with this shed. We used it as a storage closet, but my designer, Mary-Beth Jenner, assured me that with a little time and money, it could be a four-season writing space. It’s as warm as our house.”
“My barn is very untidy. It’s decorated with an old desk from my parents’ farm, and there are heirlooms and sentimental pieces of art, including candles, books and chochkes. I try not to embellish too much here. I didn’t want a lot of art or colors.”
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“You have to know what the place wants. There’s something wild and brooding and British about me that goes well with my obsession with Virginia Woolf. She was an amazing woman who had many interesting stories about being an artist. her essay,
, it was very meaningful for me to try to carve out a space and find my identity as an artist. In the home area, it is important to prioritize the place where you do your work, not necessarily ‘domestic’.”
BC designer Lisa Moody installed a greenhouse/chicken coop in her North Surrey backyard to make use of her two hobbies. “My husband saw how much I loved gardening and said, ‘Let’s put in more greenhouses, chicken coops and flower beds.'” Black frame for a more modern, Scandinavian look. BC Greenhouse Builders, a longtime greenhouse manufacturer, was just a few blocks away and found an 8-by-12-foot model, costing about $10,000, built in one contract to share a wall with her shed.
Floor slabs were placed inside the greenhouse and pea gravel was placed outside around the beds. Skylights open automatically in hot weather. In the spring release mechanism, the fluid heats up to open the window and closes it as it cools.
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This year the greenhouse did something else. Lisa moved garden boxes for tables and chairs, hung string lights and prepared lunch for her girlfriends. “The next day, all the kids came home and had a delicious dinner in the greenhouse surrounded by snow,” she says. “It was very special. You felt like you were in an adventure.”
For fans of modern looks, this is the warehouse for you. Montreal West End homeowner Teresa Mihalik and her husband, Andrew Higgins, wanted to recreate the outdoor space as a small studio for quiet work (which also doubles as a “homework room” for 14-year-old son Owen). “Activity Zone” where Owen and his friends can play basketball or table tennis.
The 8.5 x 15 foot replacement shipping container was installed at the bottom of the backyard and painted black. The interior is plastered and heated and lit, making it comfortable all year round. “It’s nice to listen to the rain on the roof or snuggle on the couch in the summer,” says Teresa.
Although clad in larch wood painted black, this backyard shed is anything but dark and foreboding. The asymmetrical design makes it an interesting focal point and large windows let in lots of light.
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Inside, there is a nice little space that can accommodate a double bed and a built-in wardrobe, perfect for guests. High sloping ceilings with skylights make the interior feel more spacious, and the wooden ceilings, floors and walls add warmth.
H&H Senior Design Editor Stacey Smithers’ warehouse is the perfect dual-purpose space. There is plenty of storage space for garden tools and there is a center for entertainment. A large stagecoach style lantern adds a soft glow to your dinner table.
Inside, a rolling storage cart serves as a workstation for planting during the day and a minibar for entertaining at night. Metal jugs filled with ice keep drinks cold and guests can enjoy their drinks. A pegboard wall organizes tools and keeps them off the floor while providing a visual display.
A space-starved Toronto family turned this shipping container into an outdoor office and a place to relax at night. The black exterior is sleek and modern, and the windshield connects you to the outside world.
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Inside, there is a built-in desk with plenty of storage space, making it a staple in the family room. Fine walls made of plywood strips reach all the way to the ceiling, making the space appear taller than it actually is.
A fully equipped yoga studio is just a few steps from the main building. A window lets in natural light and the walls are painted white to create a comfortable and neutral space. A sisal rug gives a natural texture, while large floor lamps that reach up to the ceiling provide soft light for evening use.
This small tin roof house has been completely transformed into a colorful and fun backyard theater. The exterior is painted mint green and has a large wraparound patio that is a great place for children to play. A hammock is the perfect reading spot.
A pink triangle sticker along with a pegboard backsplash add a fun and artistic touch to the white wall behind the pink play kitchen.
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The sunroom has the feel of a rustic Scandinavian home, where mid-century modern furniture mixes with natural elements such as jute rugs and woven baskets. A simple white painted pine table was placed on the clay floor and the brick walls inside were painted white to create a bright and airy space. Trees were planted in the soil before the floor went down. Indoors and outdoors blend perfectly.
A mix of old and new in the kitchen space, with salvaged wood surrounded by cast iron and rope shelves hanging from the ceiling. A linen throw was cut to size to make a rustic sink skirt.
Covering textures and patterns in pinks, creams and whites creates a seating area that warms up every tone in the room.
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