Shedding for Summer

It seems like everywhere I look, I’m seeing references to stylish sheds — and I use that term loosely, because they can be much more than storage for the lawnmower and garden tools. It’s probably my mindset — it’s summer, and we all look for some form of escape, even if it’s to a separate space in the back yard.

Jean Kee, the talented color consultant behind The Painted Room in Alexandria, sent me some wonderful photos of her pre-fab office, designed by architect Michael Graves. The  kit was originally marketed through Target, and she was the first person in the country to purchase one in 2003. Sadly, the venture was discontinued. But Jean has lots to show for it:

The detached office is made of cedar and glass, topped with a metal roof. She paid all of $30,000 for the whole thing. “It was like this precision-cut jigsaw puzzle,” Jean says, and it’s utterly separate from the rest of the house, at the bottom of three flights of steps, and surrounded by woods. “It’s a great little space for me to work creatively.”

Next up, I found when I was clearing out my email inbox an old e-mail from Chuck Witmer of SCALEhouse Design, a modern, sustainable architecture and design firm. He won an award for the shed he built for his woodshop and his wife’s painting studio in their backyard in Silver Spring.

Then I remembered images I had seen of an astounding shed designed by architect Robert Gurney for a house in Chevy Chase.

Nicest tool shed I've ever seen -- photographs by Maxwell Mackenzie.

Looking back to the house from the shed, where you can see light streaming through the wood slats.

Last summer, I did a spread for Washington Spaces on outbuildings, and one of my favorites was the Finnish ambassador’s personal sauna at his residence in DC.

Photograph by Bob Narod

I have since had the honor of being inducted into the Diplomatic Finnish Sauna Society, which was founded by the ambassador’s spokesman, Kari Mokko. I now know the pleasures of taking sauna at the Finnish embassy, which is amazing, but the ambassador’s sauna (when I saw it fully clothed for the photo shoot) is much cooler, especially since there is a pool you can jump into at the end.

Pools, of course, put me in the mood for summer, and playing outside. I’ll end here with a photo from a recent post by Lauren over at Pure Style Home, which shows the sweet “fun shed” she had built for her young son, Christian. And ever the designer — she’s outfitted (of course) the most fashionable children’s playhouse I’ve ever seen.


  1. These are all fabulous! I report on the “details of design” and all these, surely, fit right in….I especially like Jean Kee’s: what a place to go to work. Nice job, Jean!

  2. These are incredible!!! Oh my gosh to have a shed up in the trees?!!! AMAZING.

    and thanks so much for including our little fun shed!!