the reinvented shed // garden studios for creative minds

Whether you are an artist, a meditator or a tinkerer of some kind, you may be yearning for a space of your own that is away (but not too far away) from the mundane and the every day. Perhaps you already have just such the spot at the bottom of your garden waiting to be created. 

Here are some inspiring small sheds and studios set in narrow gardens for people with small spaces but big imagination.


Container Studio, New York State

Many small living enthusiasts have been snapping up used shipping containers and using the iron structures to build small homes in the last few years. MB Architecture also took up the idea but used their design specialities to create a very chic and serene studio.

The artist who commissioned the studio in rural New York state with a limited budget of $60,000 wanted something close to home that was both functional as a working space, but would also be inviting and reflective.



The designers brashly used the shipping containers steel frame and added glass walls. They painted the steel grey for both sophistication and because it would blend beautifully with the native woods which it meets.



Inside the shipping container studio the white walls are a blank canvas and sunlight streams in through the large windows on either end. We can absolutely see our slippers here!

MB Architecture generally specialise in bigger works but all cutting edge, clean lines and with some sustainability at their core. Check out their website at



Bussum Garden Studio

This Garden Studio in a backyard in Bussum, Belgium was designed by Serge Schoemaker and Beatrice Nespega  as a retreat for contemplation and creativity, which also offers a guest room and extra storage. 



The shed studio maximises a narrow garden space by juxtaposing a stretched diamond-like shape and a clever sloping roof. The sculptural studio lines of the studio were then covered in black-varnished red cedar shingles which are a similar colour and material to what other sheds are constructed in around the region.  The 2000 or so shingles were hand sanded and painted to fit perfectly.




In contrast to the dark textured exterior, the interior is light and smooth. The designers used white-lacquered birch plywood which was cut to size and carefully pieced to seamlessly fit together. This required more than the usual mathematics given the non-symmetrical lines and unexpected geometric form of the studio.

The lightness of the material creates a calming atmosphere. We love the way the built in desk looks out onto the garden and captures the morning light for extra warmth.



The shed studio measures 30 square metres but seems bigger due to the bright interior. You can learn more about Serge Schoemaker and his teams other projects at



Writers Studio, London

This charming writer’s studio in the garden of a home in Hackney, London was commissioned by an unnamed children's author and illustrator who wanted a city haven. The designers and architects from Weston Surman & Deane Architecture created a handsome hut fit for a fairy-tale, that remains tasteful and practical.



The playful façade of vertical cedar planks frame a large sliding door that easily opens up the cottage to the rest of the garden and house, or closes up to create a private and cosy sanctuary. Inside, a large north facing skylight floods the cottage with natural light during the day, and allows the inhabitant to gaze up at sunsets and brewing clouds at dusk. 



A  bookcase covers the main feature wall and there is also a wood burning stove that takes centre stage. The Writer's Shed has its own bathroom and plumbing for long nights burning the midnight oil, when the writer feels inspiration and decides to spend the night at the desk. 

The Writer's Shed was completed in April 2013 and was short-listed for the Architects’ Journal Small Projects Competition 2014.



Get a Kit Studio 

If you have a some space but a low budget or a short time span, there is also the possibility of ordering a kit retreat which can be quickly assembled (by you or the company) and then individualising the interiors. In Britain, the council laws have been relaxed in recent years so it has become more of a realistic option for a home office or extra room.



A retreat like this could be fitted out as a living room, office, music or art studio, or even a yoga and meditation space. The one we are featuring here is from UK company Eco Space Studios but there are many companies offering all levels of sheds and kit studios around the world.

So have we got you sketching out plans for a garden-shed-cum-studio? Can you see your masterpiece being made within its walls? What we love about these, and other garden studios is that it is not about the size of the shed, but about the size of the imagination within it which makes them very special spaces.

Each of these out-houses and studios are nestled amongst the garden of a main house, yet stand out as unique pieces of small architecture in their own right. We can totally envisage chilling in the studio with our mahabis on as the sun goes down, or snapping on the sole to meander through the garden to light up a BBQ whilst the sun is still shining. 


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