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7 Fantastic Backyard Buildings

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Whether the room brings the backyard in or vice versa, these dwellings mesh the beauty of the outdoors with the comfort of being inside.
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  A multipurpose tree house north of Baltimore, Maryland, was built with short- and long-term use in mind: playtime for the kids now, and a space for entertaining later.

    A multipurpose tree house north of Baltimore, Maryland, was built with short- and long-term use in mind: playtime for the kids now, and a space for entertaining later.

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  In Honshu, Japan, an enclosed courtyard by Hiroshima-based architect Keisuke Maeda lets in sun, wind, and the occasional bird. Photo by Hiroshi Ueda.

    In Honshu, Japan, an enclosed courtyard by Hiroshima-based architect Keisuke Maeda lets in sun, wind, and the occasional bird. Photo by Hiroshi Ueda.

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  “We didn’t want the pit to be an obtrusive contraption sitting in the center of a zen-like courtyard,” says architect Matthew Hufft. A low-profile fire pit is the perfect continuation of a mellow Missouri backyard. Photo by Mike Sinclair.

    “We didn’t want the pit to be an obtrusive contraption sitting in the center of a zen-like courtyard,” says architect Matthew Hufft. A low-profile fire pit is the perfect continuation of a mellow Missouri backyard. Photo by Mike Sinclair.

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  In Argentinean architect and furniture designer Alejandro Sticotti's bedroom, dappled sunlight and reclaimed-wood floors and walls give the room a warm, peaceful feel. Giant sliding doors open onto a wraparound deck peppered with potted plants from vacations in Brazil, Uruguay, the Netherlands, and Italy. Photo by Cristóbal Palma.

    In Argentinean architect and furniture designer Alejandro Sticotti's bedroom, dappled sunlight and reclaimed-wood floors and walls give the room a warm, peaceful feel. Giant sliding doors open onto a wraparound deck peppered with potted plants from vacations in Brazil, Uruguay, the Netherlands, and Italy. Photo by Cristóbal Palma.

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  In a Connecticut Cottage, architecture firm Gray Organschi manages to make the roof appear as though it hovers weightlessly. Find out who made the modern furniture outfitting the room here. Photo by Mark Mahaney.

    In a Connecticut Cottage, architecture firm Gray Organschi manages to make the roof appear as though it hovers weightlessly. Find out who made the modern furniture outfitting the room here. Photo by Mark Mahaney.

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  When sustainable building advisor Megan Lea set out to build a backyard retreat, she knew that reclaimed materials would figure prominently into the design. What resulted is a polychrome of salvaged 100-year-old barnwood by West Salem-based Barnwood Naturals that makes the facade of this Bernard Maybeck-inspired design as unique as it is enviornmentally friendly. Photo by Uwe Schneider.

    When sustainable building advisor Megan Lea set out to build a backyard retreat, she knew that reclaimed materials would figure prominently into the design. What resulted is a polychrome of salvaged 100-year-old barnwood by West Salem-based Barnwood Naturals that makes the facade of this Bernard Maybeck-inspired design as unique as it is enviornmentally friendly. Photo by Uwe Schneider.

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  It doesn't get much more idyllic than this: An illustrator of children's books who lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia needed a quiet workspace that was nearby, but separate from, her family's bustling household. She contacted local designer, artist, and builder Riley McFerrin of Hinterland Design to replace an existing shed on her property, perched on top of a steep hill, by maintaining the old outbuilding's small footprint. The design brief? "Small but airy, bright but cozy, and most importantly modern, yet in keeping with the rustic charm of the country."

    It doesn't get much more idyllic than this: An illustrator of children's books who lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia needed a quiet workspace that was nearby, but separate from, her family's bustling household. She contacted local designer, artist, and builder Riley McFerrin of Hinterland Design to replace an existing shed on her property, perched on top of a steep hill, by maintaining the old outbuilding's small footprint. The design brief? "Small but airy, bright but cozy, and most importantly modern, yet in keeping with the rustic charm of the country."

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