7 Multipurpose Sheds and Studios That Upgrade the Backyard

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By Anna Jones / Published by Dwell
Whether it be for utility, storage, a studio, or a guest retreat, a backyard abode provides an opportunity to create architecture on the micro-scale with simple materials, pure forms, and special details.

Below, we round up seven of our favorite examples of small structures making a big impact.

Gabled Garden Shed in Belgium

Architect: Indra Janda

Location: Belgium

An A-frame garden shed in Belgium by architect Indra Janda is composed of simple, everyday materials: a wooden frame wrapped with poly-carbonate shingles. The skin glows like a lantern at night, revealing the structural forms within. When the sun shines, the structure sits as a textured, geometric form, elegant in the green setting. 

7 Multipurpose Sheds and Studios That Upgrade the Backyard - Photo 1 of 7 - Architect Indra Janda hand-cut sheets of polycarbonate into 15¾-inch square shingles and clad the entire timber structure—a gabled roof and walls—with them.

Architect Indra Janda hand-cut sheets of polycarbonate into 15¾-inch square shingles and clad the entire timber structure—a gabled roof and walls—with them.


Shedded Bliss

Architect: Avanto Architects

Location: Finland

A prefabricated hideaway, combining greenhouse and shed, provides a perfect summer retreat. Linda Bergroth developed this micro-model in collaboration with Avanto Architects to create the essential, small retreat, now available for purchase through outdoor company Kekkilä.

7 Multipurpose Sheds and Studios That Upgrade the Backyard - Photo 2 of 7 - The structure is comprised of sheets of glass, a steel armature, and a wood shed that hugs the rear facade

The structure is comprised of sheets of glass, a steel armature, and a wood shed that hugs the rear facade

A DIY Montana Home and Shed

Architect: Intrinsik Architecture

Location:  Bozeman, Montana

Inspired by the modern prefab movement, an efficient home in Montana was built for the affordable price of $150 per square foot. The homeowner took on much of the construction work himself, and now stores the tools he used in the small wood shed adjacent to the home. 

7 Multipurpose Sheds and Studios That Upgrade the Backyard - Photo 3 of 7 - Just adjacent to the house is Whitlock's small shed which houses many of the tools that he used to build the home.

Just adjacent to the house is Whitlock's small shed which houses many of the tools that he used to build the home.

An Airy Addition to a Historic Boise Home

Architect: Heidi Beebe and Doug Skidmore

Location: Boise, Idaho

A renovation of a historic Boise, Idaho, home includes a modern, light-filled addition at the back of the house, as well as a stand-alone studio now used as a home office and play structure.  It is a blend of old and new, open and closed, playful and work. 

7 Multipurpose Sheds and Studios That Upgrade the Backyard - Photo 4 of 7 - Work It<br><br>"We wanted to open up the back of the house, but there’s nothing to look at," says Dana. "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.<br><br>ikea.com

Work It

"We wanted to open up the back of the house, but there’s nothing to look at," says Dana. "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.

ikea.com

An Australian Getaway's Guest Studio 

Architect: Annick Houle and Stephen O’Connor

Location: Mornington Peninsula, Australia

A studio with Scandinavian influences becomes a quiet haven for the residents of this Australian house. With a built-in desk, wood-burning stove, Alvar Aalto stools, and an Aalto daybed,  it is a minimally designed retreat with a sense of calm and connection to the landscape.

7 Multipurpose Sheds and Studios That Upgrade the Backyard - Photo 5 of 7 - The wood stove is the Rondo model by Rais.

The wood stove is the Rondo model by Rais.

Tiny Backyard Studio in Seattle Filled with Midcentury Finds

Architect: First Lamp

Location: Seattle, Washington

A small backyard studio in Seattle is filled with colorful midcentury finds. Titled the Orchid Studio, the retreat accommodates dual functions.  One, it provides a location for the owners to pursue their passions of painting, sculpture, furniture, and gardening.  Second, it can transform into a guest house instantly for a private oasis.

7 Multipurpose Sheds and Studios That Upgrade the Backyard - Photo 6 of 7 - Working with a limited budget, First Lamp designed and built one principle architectural flourish: exposed Douglas fir rafters that would weather to a brighter red over the years and accent the white siding.

Working with a limited budget, First Lamp designed and built one principle architectural flourish: exposed Douglas fir rafters that would weather to a brighter red over the years and accent the white siding.

On Your Mark, Get Sett

Architect: Sett Studio

Location: Austin, Texas

Austin-based, modern prefab designer Sett Studio provides a tiny house complete with charred wood siding, floor-to-ceiling windows, and bamboo floors. SIP panels are used for all structural surfaces, providing greater durability and energy efficiency.  The homes are currently sold at Treehouse, a sustainable home goods store in Austin.

7 Multipurpose Sheds and Studios That Upgrade the Backyard - Photo 7 of 7 - With little to no permitting required, Sett Studio units can be used for an extra bedroom, a yoga studio, a hydroponics growing area or an office space, like this 96-square-foot one shown here.

With little to no permitting required, Sett Studio units can be used for an extra bedroom, a yoga studio, a hydroponics growing area or an office space, like this 96-square-foot one shown here.