June 16, 2024


Interior The Freshmaker

This backyard reading retreat in Seattle offers an amazing oasis in the city


This incredible backyard reading retreat was designed by Board & Vellum and built by Proform Construction, located in Montlake, a quiet neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. Created as an escape from city life, one can come out to this backyard retreat and curl up with a good book, use it as a quiet home office, a guest suite or hang out with family and friends around the firepit… or take a dip in the hot tub!

This small urban oasis is idyllic for introverts and extroverts alike. Inside you will find a cozy living area, a modern bathroom, and a ladder that leads to a sleeping loft. On the exterior, you will find an outdoor shower to rinse off after the sauna or dip in the hot tub along with a wrapping deck and patio that is connected to a firepit and the main house.


Prior to this project coming to fruition, the back door of this home opened to a maze of overgrown plants. It was completely unusable and hard to visualize just how much space was available underneath all of the dense vegetation. The homeowners wished to transform their property into a cohesive, beautiful, indoor-outdoor oasis that would connect their home, yard and new backyard shed.


This backyard retreat is permitted as a shed but can be used to host a variety of functions.


Above: The deck is composed of ipe wood, which is also used for the built-in benches and fencing. On the ground is concrete pavers.


What We Love: This backyard garden retreat provides a wonderful respite for its owners and guests. We love how the shed is multi-functional, whether you need a quiet place to work or just want to spend a night under the stars without having to leave the city. Overall, the project team did a fabulous job of creating a compact, all-season escape that lives larger than its footprint.

Tell Us: Would this be your idea of the perfect backyard retreat? Let us know why or why not in the Comments below!

Note: Check out a couple of other fabulous home tours that we have highlighted here on One Kindesign in the state of Washington: Treehouse-like midcentury home flaunts stunning views over Puget Sound and Elegant renovation of a family home with a modern twist on Lake Washington.

Above: This backyard retreat offers just 169 square feet of living space. A smaller wooden shed behind it houses a prefab dry sauna.


Above: The interior is flooded with natural light courtesy of walls of glazing and skylights. The windows are sourced from Windorco Supply, Inc. The Callen chair and ottoman were selected from Room and Board.


Above: The entryway into the bathroom is integrated between two bookshelves.


Above: Mullioned doors separate the vanity from the shower. The walk-in shower is connected to the outdoor shower through LaCantina doors.


Above: In the bathroom, the wall tiles are Hexite from Fireclay Tile. Providing contrast, the black countertop is Pental Quartz.


Above: The patterned wallpaper on the ceiling (Flashdance Gray Matters – NewWall) helps to conceal an invisible sound system. Guests can listen to their favorite tunes while curled up with a good book. The built-in window seat is the perfect spot to read. On the floor are Mosa tiles from United Tile, which include integrated radiant heating for the cooler months.


Above: The custom-fabricated ladder that accesses the sleeping loft folds into itself, sticking with the theme of efficiency.


Above: This 58-square-foot bedroom loft is accessed via a collapsible ladder. This space is outfitted with a queen mattress and a floor protected with wool carpet. The angled tongue-and-groove cedar ceiling is painted white. The skylight not only helps to flood this space with natural light but provides dreamy stargazing on clear Seattle nights. 

PHOTOGRAPHER Andrew Giammarco Photography.

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