Located in the Seattle, Washington suburb of Kirkland, a late-1960s detached garage and horse stable had fallen victim to years of neglect before the current owners took the reins of the property.
A painter and digital designer with no horses to house, the couple saw potential in the stable portion of the structure and turned to Seattle firm SHED Architecture & Design to resurrect it as an artist’s studio and occasional guest suite.
The architects kept the exterior mainly intact, retaining the gabled roofline and giving the façade’s siding a cosmetic lift with charcoal grey paint. Inside, the 70-square-metre space was divided into the main painting studio, sleeping quarters, a full bathroom, a mudroom and a utility sink station.
Simple white-painted drywall and poured concrete flooring provide a distraction-free backdrop for the studio, keeping the focus on the views of the treed landscape outside. Adding a dose of warmth and another natural element, fir-wood was used to frame the windows and doorways. The windows were installed on the vertical and accentuate the overall airiness, and provide a point of visual interest at the main entrance.
The entire space is void of colour, save for two large barn-style doors that slide along one wall. Hung on a continuous track that runs the full length of the building, the bright, sunshine yellow doors are a playful nod to the building’s former life.
They serve a practical function as well, by offering flexibility to transform the space as needed – they can conceal any mess at the utility sink and counter, close off the guest bedroom and bathroom from the main studio, or block entrance from the mudroom, giving visiting family or friends a sense of complete privacy.