Converted minimalist work cabin comes with secret telescoping ladder

François Bodlet
© François Bodlet

The way we work has changed drastically in the last two decades, with technology enabling more and more people to work from home. For these so-called homeworkers, having a dedicated workspace can boost productivity (and save one's sanity, especially in busy households).

Architect Jean Verville from Montreal, Canada converted this storage shed in his backyard into a pared-down workspace, using oriented strand board (OSB) and a somewhat quirky sense of humour to present it in images. The revamped studio now has a generous workspace on the ground level, as well as a hidden, telescoping ladder that leads up to a loft.

François Bodlet© François Bodlet
François Bodlet© François Bodlet
François Bodlet© François Bodlet

The 14-square-metre (150 square feet) shed sits at the back of Verville's backyard. The original metal cladding has been kept, but the inside has been completely transformed into a minimalist space that emphasizes the "illusory abstraction of dimensional form [to] produce architecture that seems free from their function and materiality," according to Verville.

François Bodlet© François Bodlet
François Bodlet© François Bodlet

The all-over use oriented strand board (OSB) here promotes that sensory abstraction. It's a cheap replacement for plywood, an engineered wood that can be considered a somewhat greener building material, if made from smaller, quick-growing, sustainably harvested tree species. As Verville explains on Dezeen, the concept was to hide spaces within a space:

[The studio is] like a Russian doll, the model slips into the silver shed to offer an architectural experience yet hiding another one. The sculptural effect, of a disconcerting simplicity, reveals a complex lair that opposes the sharpness of its forms.

It is a complex lair indeed. For instance, access to the upper loft or "suspended cabin" is not immediately apparent, but Verville emphasizes the cleverness of this pull-down ladder with these staged images -- some of them quite tongue-in-cheek. In the loft itself, there is a hidden hatch that can be opened up to let light in.

François Bodlet© François Bodlet
François Bodlet© François Bodlet
François Bodlet© François Bodlet
François Bodlet© François Bodlet
François Bodlet© François Bodlet

Gotta love this little hatch door -- emphasizing these odd little details that are very characteristic of Montreal's residential alleyways.

François Bodlet© François Bodlet
François Bodlet© François Bodlet

We can get quite personal about our workspaces -- they often reflect who we are and how we get things done. Here, we've got an austere and minimalist space, yet it's somehow got a sense of humour too. To see more, visit Jean Verville.

Tags: Montreal | Small Spaces | Work

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