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Collection by Kelly Dawson

Renovation Idea We Love: Old Horse Stable to Cute Guesthouse and Studio

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This 760-square-foot stable outside Seattle was converted into an artist's studio, guest bedroom, and more.

Since Bridle Trails State Park neighbors Kirkland, Washington, the community is dotted with stables—especially as populated areas give way to more greenery. One thirty-something couple, a UX designer and the head of a non-profit, had purchased a house on a semi-rural street where a paved road gives way to gravel. They moved from Chicago to raise their two daughters in the Pacific Northwest, and although their land had stables, their only four-legged pet was their golden retriever. On the outside, the structure looked like a big garage, but inside, it was clear that plenty of horses had called it home. The couple wanted to replace the well-worn dirt floors and wood planks—which were indented with teeth marks—with a multipurpose addition. They partnered with principal Thomas Schaer, project manager Max Mahaffey, and their team at SHED Architecture & Design to meet a myriad of needs: the renovation had to include a workspace, a painter’s studio, and a comfortable quarters for visiting grandparents. “Our aesthetic imperative was fairly straightforward: avoid precious materials and rely on some strong spatial maneuvers to define the experience,” Schaer says. As it turns out, one detail that pays homage to the building’s original purpose—sliding barn doors—became paramount to the renovation’s success.

“[The clients] wished for a simple and flexible space that could be reconfigured to suit the evolving needs of the...
The renovated stable's living room is extra bright thanks to walls painted with Benjamin Moore’s Atrium White and...
To evoke the structure’s past as a horse stable, and provide options for the use of the space, Schaer and his team...
The clients selected a Coral pendant light by David Trubridge Design for the center of the room.
“Concrete floors, drywall, and minimal use of trim allowed for the feel of the space to remain utilitarian, while...
“The bank of full-height windows brings in tons of southern light, but it also gives the stable a strong street...
“Completing the sequence [of the structure] is the bedroom and bathroom, beyond the barn door threshold, designating...
Milestones' cement plaster covers the walls of the minimalist bathroom.
“The stable/garage was built with two intersecting gable roof forms," Schaer says, which didn't match up with the...
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