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July 2, 2013
Who doesn't fantasize about a small place of one's own—a retreat, an escape, a house built for one? Here, five small modern outbuildings that don't skimp on design—and offer a chance to be alone, even if it's just in your backyard.
Modern prefab shed in Finland

Helsinki architect Ville Hara and designer Linda Bergroth collaborated on a prefab shed-meets-sleeping-cabin, which can be assembled with little else than a screwdriver. Bergroth, inspired by nomadic yurt-dwellers, wanted an indoor/outdoor experience for her property in Finland. See more of the glass-walled, greenhouse-inspired cottage here. Photo by Arsi Ikäheimonen.

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Originally appeared in Shedded Bliss
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Exterior view of modern studio with steel l-beam

“We wanted to open up the back of the house, but there’s nothing to look at,” says Dana Zuckerman, who along with her husband and architects renovated a historic home in Boise, Idaho. “So we decided to put something in our yard as a focal point, to create our own view.” The architects came up with a glass-walled studio, which Dana uses as her home office. The architects mounted a steel I-beam that spans the yard, with holes drilled at eight-inch intervals for maximum flexibility of use. Right now it’s used for Ikea play equipment, but later they plan to hang a hammock and a movie screen. Photo by Lincoln Barbour.

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©Lincoln Barbour - All Rights Reserved
Originally appeared in An Airy Addition to a Historic Boise Home
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Exterior bay writers cabin san juan islands

Architect Tom Kundig’s assignment was simple enough: Build a tiny, Thoreau-like getaway for an Atlanta-based writer who owned ten acres on San Juan Island in Puget Sound. “The idea was not to clutter anybody’s thinking, especially a writer’s,” he said.  So he designed a 500-square-foot retreat that’s both womblike and open to its surroundings. Photo by Tim Bies.

Originally appeared in Best in Glass
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backyard studio

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 environmentally friendly. Photo by Uwe Schneider.

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Originally appeared in Backyard Retreat
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writer's cabin oregon

“A lot of times the work of an architect civilizes a place,” says Erin Moore of Tucson, Arizona–based FLOAT Architectural Research and Design. “In this case, the attempt was to have the building amplify its wildness.” The case she refers to is the Watershed, a 70-square-foot writer’s retreat in Wren, Oregon, not far from her parents’ home. Erin’s mother is Kathleen Dean Moore, a professor of philosophy at nearby Oregon State University and a noted nature writer. She wanted a small studio in which to work and observe the delicate wetland ecosystem on the banks of the Marys River. Enlisting her daughter’s design expertise, her professor husband’s carpentry savoir faire, the aid of friends, and a front loader, Kathleen and her crew erected a room of her own in September 2007. Photo by Gary Tarleton.

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Originally appeared in Modern Off-the-Grid Retreat in Oregon
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Modern prefab shed in Finland

Helsinki architect Ville Hara and designer Linda Bergroth collaborated on a prefab shed-meets-sleeping-cabin, which can be assembled with little else than a screwdriver. Bergroth, inspired by nomadic yurt-dwellers, wanted an indoor/outdoor experience for her property in Finland. See more of the glass-walled, greenhouse-inspired cottage here. Photo by Arsi Ikäheimonen.

Photo by Arsi Ikäheimonen.

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