A Compact Shed Makes Room for Creativity, Storage and Style
There’s just one problem with this drop: It is too cool. “I’ve found that I just sit within the space, look around and think about how cool it’s more than actually producing something,” says homeowner Chris Sewell.
The sunny Santa Barbara, California, shed serves many purposes: It acts as a buffer between the street and the garden, stores and hides trash cans, also contains a workspace. Sewell and his wife, Kenny Osehan, the owners of three Southern California inns along with a restaurant they redesigned and rebranded, wanted a structure to meet their wants and look great to boot. Designer Alex Wyndham constructed it with FSC-certified redwood, salvaged windows and clear plastic siding. Storage, a workspace a hidden place for trash cans as well as a tiny patio checked off everything with this couple’s wish list.
Project at a Glance
Who lives here: Chris Sewell and wife Kenny Osehan
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Size: 90 square feet, including the porch
Budget: $5,000, divide between labour and materials
Project duration: 2 weeks
Construction: Johnny Gill
Sewell found the brass artwork piece on the front of the drop in a Florida thrift store 15 years ago. “It added a decorative facet to the drop which I felt was the icing on the cake,” he says.
The number uses the drop to dabble in everything from painting to wrap gifts to interrogate plants. A glass wall in the main house inspired the shed Plexiglas roof and wall. The corrugated, ecofriendly vinyl’s blue tint neutralizes the Santa Barbara sun; the filtered light makes the shed feel as a greenhouse. Regardless of the plentiful Southern California sunshine, Wyndham knew the north-facing, shaded site would not get too hot or uncomfortable.
A terrace Wyndham constructed at the back of the shed leaves the tiny construction feel bigger and gives the few shady place for enjoying their garden perspective. Salvaged windows swing out to welcome cool breezes inside.
The couple saved money on the flat window in the back, located in the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for about $30. Wyndham turned the narrow window sideways to frame a mountain perspective. “Every time I am in this space, I think to myself how genius of an idea on his part was,” Sewell says, “and what a pity it could have been to work in the drop while looking at a wall instead of the beautiful mountain.”
Straightforward pegboards and shelves store tools and art materials for the owners’ jobs. The countertop has lots of space for working on artwork, backyard and fixer-upper jobs. “I wanted my wife to be in a position to become cluttered and imaginative without me arriving behind her with a broom and dustpan … though I sort of do this,” says Sewell.
Wyndham tucked the couple’s three big residential garbage bins under the interior countertop. The doors on the front slide open to reveal the three cans.
“It was compulsory for me to work with someone who had a clean, modernist’s eyesight but with a natural sensibility,” says Sewell.
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