Pretty Meets Practical In Designer Allison Allen's Charming Backyard Garden House
When working in an extra bedroom with children running in and out became too distracting, Atlanta-based designer Allison Allen decided to invest in a more secluded office space. She set up shop in the backyard with a garden house from Hillbrook Collections. As pretty as it is practical, this at-home studio transitions easily from client meeting to cocktail hour. "It's my happy place," she says. See how the designer decked out the 10- by 14-foot shed with all of her favorite things.
Walk to Work
A bluestone paver-and-pea gravel path welcomes visitors to Allen's hideaway. To help the new shed feel like an established part of the yard, she matched it to the main home's black-and-white exterior palette using Benjamin Moore's White Dove (OC-17) and Black (2132-10). She added cottage details with striped window awnings and a lattice trellis planted with climbing star jasmine.
"Everything in here has a special meaning," says Allen. Waiting in the attic were her grandmother's Chippendale sofa and a pair of wicker chairs scored at an estate sale. She recovered the upholstery in an eternally springy fabric, Bowood by Colefax and Fowler. An antique secretary anchors the interior. "I love a tall piece of old furniture in any room. This secretary provides more storage and takes up mainly visual space," Allen says. Beside it, she hung pieces from her collection of blue-and-white porcelain.
Establish Necessary Boundaries
"On one side is my functional office, and on the other is where I can have girlfriends over for cocktails," says Allen. Hillbrook Collections added built-in shelving to hold Ikea baskets filled with fabric samples and other design materials. Unsightly office essentials, like a filing cabinet and mini refrigerator, are neatly tucked away behind the desk skirt.