...because home doesn't happen overnight.

modern shed and playhouse 1

Today I’m sharing two more golden nuggets from our friends’ home: a modern shed and playhouse nestled in a corner of the backyard. James designed and built both structures on his own. (If you haven’t noticed by now, his craftsmanship is impeccable.) The outbuildings are covered in 12″ HardiePlank lap siding, a fiber cement product known for its beauty, strength and durability. The planks are meant to be lapped over each other but James installed them flush for a simpler, sleeker look.

modern shed 1

Since James uses the attached garage to work on client projects, the family needed a separate space to store tools and equipment for lawn maintenance and gardening. A wood ramp allows James to wheel out the lawnmower easily. I wasn’t able to snap a shot of the shed’s interior, but the walls are lined with leftover walnut paneling from the home’s interior renovation. (It’s the same paneling that wraps the pony wall as seen here.) It’s the most attractive shed interior I’ve ever seen.

modern shed 2

The exterior is painted a rich chocolate brown. Colored acrylic windows (from TAP Plastics) are a surprising and fun feature.

modern playhouse 1

Many elements are repeated in the playhouse for cohesion: chocolate brown HardiePlank siding, colored acrylic windows and a mono-pitched roof. The door is painted the same turquoise as the home’s front door. Large outdoor playthings are stored underneath the raised structure and concealed by timber slats. A small deck cantilevers off the front of the playhouse supporting a staircase on one end and a slide on the other.

modern playhouse 4

A series of five small acrylic windows in orange and blue tie in to the shed’s colored windows.

modern playhouse 3

The interior is outfitted with interlocking foam floor tiles, a chalkboard wall, a small picnic table and a toy box. A niche in the chalkboard wall (not shown) provides a convenient spot for storing a bucket of chalk.

modern playhouse 5

modern playhouse 6

modern playhouse and shed 2

modern playhouse 2

The modern designs of the shed and playhouse fit the family’s midcentury home so well. James and Kristina have a knack for incorporating their style into everything they do. When you visit their home, you experience the different spaces – inside and out – as parts of a bigger whole. The spaces flow into one another with ease thanks in part to deliberate, consistent design. I love that.

So what do you think? What’s your favorite aspect of the shed and / or playhouse? Obviously, my kids are big fans of the slide ;)

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

reclaimed shelves 2

I received an email from a reader a few weeks ago asking for help tracking down unfinished boards to fit Ikea’s BJÄRNUM brackets. (You may recall we fitted the brackets with reclaimed fence boards to create open shelving in the kitchen.) The brackets are meant to support 1″ thick, 11″ deep boards. Unfortunately, the “common” boards carried by most big box home improvement stores aren’t actually 1″ thick – even though they’re labeled as such. So annoying!

Anyway, I’m afraid I wasn’t much help. I advised the reader to scope out craigslist or other secondhand sources for reclaimed boards that could be cut to size. (We cut our fence boards so that the ends taper into the brackets.) A little while later I received a followup email. The reader had found the perfect unfinished boards at her local home improvement store: stair treads! Ingenious. Sometimes, a little creative thinking leads to materials that are less expensive and / or more unique than blatantly labeled materials.

This renovation trick was on my mind while reading the November issue of Dwell. In the magazine, I came across a few more examples of not-so-obivous material choices.

maple shorts

This modest new build incorporates maple “shorts” as flooring. The cut pieces were left over from previous projects and sold at a discount.

cedar shelves

In this same home, leftover cypress (used elsewhere on the exterior as siding and decking) is incorporated in the kitchen as shelving.

“…you’re using basic things, but you’re using them in new and unique ways.” – Jonathon Kemnitzer, designer

marble thresholds as bathroom tile

I spotted another clever use of material in this bathroom. The “tiles” are actually 6″ wide marble thresholds that have been cut to length to cover the floor and shower walls.

“This is considered junk stone in the interior design world but we saw something really handsome in it.” – Paul Syme, architect

I love the idea of thinking outside the box when it comes to building materials. As I mentioned, we repurposed reclaimed fence boards as kitchen shelving. We’ve also created outdoor art using wood salvaged from our home’s attic, and we recently constructed a tub cradle base from an old beam. Have you made not-so-obvious material choices in your own home?

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2 & 3) Kem Studio 4) Nathan Dykstra

10.18.14 / Made Me Smile

grow grass grow

A few weeks ago, we reseeded the lawn around the new driveway. Thanks to a rainy fall, the grass is coming in nicely. We’re getting so close to not being embarrassed by our home’s curb appearance. Grow grass, grow!

A few links to carry you through the weekend…

*Which international city should you live in? (I got Austin, TX. Because I’m “outdoorsy, health-focused and a little weird.”)

*This house was in our Top 3 when we were looking to downsize over three years ago. We nixed it because the only bathroom was on the second floor and the house didn’t feel like that big of a project. Note to self: next time buy the house that doesn’t feel like that big of a project. Idiots. Anyway, the house is up for sale again. We aren’t buying but I do think it would be fun to walk through the house just to see how it feels to us now, three years later.

*We don’t have a basement, but if we did

*An amazing DIY kitchen makeover!

copper bathroom

*Copper penny tile and reclaimed oak make for one warm and cozy bathroom.

*I gifted this colorful cookbook to my sister-in-law for her birthday.

*A tub sneak peek. Spoiler alert: it’s in! Not plumbed, but in!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. We’re celebrating my dad’s birthday and staring at our new tub (!) until the plumber comes to hook it up next week.

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Geremia Design

10.04.14 / Made Me Smile

vintage rug in bathroom

Hello, hello. How was your week? Not gonna lie. It was an “off” week for me. Not sure if it’s the cooler weather, dark mornings or what but by Friday evening Steve could tell I needed a break. He took the kids and shooed me out of the house. I went to see a movie by myself. That might sound sad but, let me tell you, it was pretty awesome. Have you ever seen a movie at the theater alone? Would you?

A few links that caught my eye…

*I found the perfect vintage rug for the main bathroom. The pattern and colors are lively but the small size doesn’t shroud the hexagon tile.

*The ever popular Adamo family home is up for sale. (The mudroom / laundry room off the kitchen is one of my all-time favorite utility spaces.) It’s yours for only 1,875,000 GBP which roughly equates to 3,000,000 USD. #stickershock All of that to say I’m looking forward to seeing what the stylish family does with their next home.

*”We play with textures instead of color to create a cozy feeling.” Love this approach.

dark moody bedroom

*I would totally hibernate for the winter in this moody, cocoon-like home.

*Game of Scones, ftw.

*I love going to the store with multiple children.

*If you’re curious, I watched Gone Girl at the theater. I neither loved nor disliked the book. I mostly read it to see what all the hype was about. The book-to-movie adaptation is one of the few that I like better than the book version. Whether you read the book or see the movie, the story line is perverse and uncomfortable but I think the movie does a good job of lacing the plot with frank humor. As dark as the story is, there were moments during the movie where the audience (including myself) laughed out loud. Then, a few minutes later, there were audible gasps of disbelief. I like seeing movies at the theater that take the audience on an emotional ride. Just my $.02.

What are you up to this weekend? We’re working on a cradle base for the claw foot tub. I mean, the rug is nice and all but it would be nice to actually bathe in the bathroom. I’m also wrapping up a few smaller projects around the house before cold weather really sets in and all I want to do is sit by the fireplace. Have a good one!

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Richard Ostell