Collection by Zachary Edelson

Tiny Backyard Studio in Seattle Filled with Midcentury Finds


A petite outbuilding is exactly what a couple needed for their Seattle property.

A couple living in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle—known for its small-town feel and elegant single-family homes—sought to build a studio in their well-cultivated backyard to host their diverse passions: painting, sculpture, vintage furniture, and gardening. Design-build firm First Lamp was brought in to craft a one-room structure—titled the Orchid Studio—that could accommodate these endeavors while serving as a guesthouse in a pinch. As First Lamp principal and partner Kevin Witt says, the key was designing a flexible and simple space that would draw its “richness and success from its surroundings” and the passions of the clients.

The studio occupies the corner of a backyard filled with carefully-tended plants.
Working with a limited budget, First Lamp designed and built one principle architectural flourish: exposed Douglas fir...
Exposed Douglas fir is usually prohibitively expensive in larger projects but was far more economical in this case:...
The architects worked closely with the clients to match the aesthetic of the vintage furniture they collect.
The single main room features ample glazing to provide natural light for cultivation of artistic endeavors.
The coffee table, red Memorex video ball TV, and red Mercer candlestick phone are all thrift store finds.
The floor is polished concrete, chosen for its durability, low-cost, and minimal maintenance.
The culmination of the collaboration was the design’s simplicity: a single neutral, durable, versatile volume that can...
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