Backyard Bonus Rooms: Real-Life Inspiration for Adding Space Where It’s Least Expected

published Jun 13, 2016
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(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)

Feeling cramped at home has a limited set of solutions: Get out or grow out. That is to say, you can either move out to a new dwelling, or decide to add on to your existing structure. Or, in the cases of these real homes, do a little bit of both, by expanding your usable living space into a shed or yurt in the backyard.

(Image credit: Bridget Pizzo)

Erin and Nathan’s Boho Backyard Dream Office in a Yurt

Erin and Nathan are the owners of a bohemian clothing shop, Tavin, in Los Angeles. Their Echo Park bungalow is full of creative, worldly touches, but it’s the backyard yurt that will have you the most impressed. It’s a comfortable, climate-controlled space (thanks to an added air conditioning unit) where the couple and their cat like to relax, read and, yes, sometimes work.

(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Mariana & Mark’s Artistic Melbourne Home (and Backyard Studio)

Mariana and Mark, the artists and designers behind m2matiz, try to keep their professional lives from taking over the kitchen table, so they in turn took over the backyard of their Melbourne, Australia home. In the course of transforming the back garden for their veggies and their chickens, they built this shed bungalow to house an extra living area and a studio.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Kate & Nick’s Back-to-the-Land Vermont Home (and Yurt!)

There’s a lot to love about everything – the pond, maple grove and grazing sheep – nestled onto Kate and Nick’s 120 acre farm in Chelsea, Vermont. The timber frame barn they call home has space for their growing family, but they’ve also put up a yurt, tucked into the trees, with a bed and sofa as an extra bedroom.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Tasha’s Colorful & Comfy Austin Home (& Backyard “Beach Lodge” Studio)

Austin, Texas, may be a ways from the ocean, but you’d never guess it by walking into the backyard structure that Tasha, a clothing designer, calls her “beach lodge” studio. The previous owner didn’t do much with the space other than store random stuff, but Tasha cleaned it up and decorated it “based on the Surf Lodge in Montauk aesthetic.” It also sometimes serves as guest quarters, a photo shoot set and after-party venue.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Robert’s Supremely Cool Craftsman (and Backyard Clubhouse)

Robert, a songwriter, performer and producer with his band Sneakout, knew the empty shed in the backyard of his Silver Lake craftsman home had potential. So with some paint, reclaimed wood, a dartboard and “lots of booze,” he turned the shed into a cozy, secret backyard clubhouse that he now proudly calls “my favorite bar in Los Angeles.”

Robert’s Supremely Cool Craftsman

Have you ever turned a backyard shed into lovable living space?