Tiny 169 sq. ft. Backyard Reading Retreat is perfect for book lovers

Andrew Giammarco Photography
© Andrew Giammarco Photography

We've seen how humble sheds and other small structures have been elevated from mere tool storage into beautiful workspaces for writers, architects, yoga practitioners and musicians, and even full-time residences.

Seattle design firm Board & Vellum created this backyard haven for two book lovers (and bookstore owners) by taming an overgrown rear yard and erecting a 169-square-foot Backyard Reading Retreat. As the architects explain:

For inspiration to launch the project, the homeowners envisioned a ‘found shed’ with a modern twist, featuring plenty of glass to help blend the spaces. Everything in the shed would be meaningful and have a purpose, and every framed view—both from within and without—would be intentional.

Andrew Giammarco Photography© Andrew Giammarco Photography

The tiny interior is opened up by the use of large glass walls and two skylights, which allow plenty of natural light to pour in. The transparency of the glass also helps to connect the interior space with the rest of the backyard outside, which includes new landscape features, a firepit, a soaking tub and another smaller storage shed at the back.

Andrew Giammarco Photography© Andrew Giammarco Photography

Andrew Giammarco Photography© Andrew Giammarco Photography

The structure not only serves as a tranquil spot to get lost in one of the many volumes that line the walls, but also conveniently is a place for guests to stay over, thanks to the lofted sleeping area that's accessible via a collapsible wooden ladder. Directly underneath the loft is a comfortable, upholstered bench, perfect for lounging around in with a book. To allow for acoustical ambience, speakers have been installed and hidden in the ceiling, underneath the patterned wallpaper.

Andrew Giammarco Photography© Andrew Giammarco Photography

Andrew Giammarco Photography© Andrew Giammarco Photography

Andrew Giammarco Photography© Andrew Giammarco Photography

Andrew Giammarco Photography© Andrew Giammarco Photography

The bathroom entry is situated right between two bookshelves. Inside, the enclosed space is lightened up with gorgeous, geometric white tiles, and includes a shower, vanity sink and toilet.

Andrew Giammarco Photography© Andrew Giammarco Photography

Andrew Giammarco Photography© Andrew Giammarco Photography

The Backyard Reading Retreat has been permitted as a shed, and was limited in size due to its proximity to the dripline of a neighbour's massive Atlas cedar, which the city designated as an "exceptional tree." However, the designers took this in stride by incorporating this invisible line into their landscape design. Despite these restrictions, with a careful and thoughtful design approach, the project successfully manages to offer a relatively spacious oasis of calm and relaxation in the middle of the city. To see more, visit Board & Vellum.

Tiny 169 sq. ft. Backyard Reading Retreat is perfect for book lovers
Built for two bookstore owners, this elegant structure doubles as a place to read and for guests to stay in.

Related Content on Treehugger.com