Dana Anderson decorated herself right out of a toolshed. When she bought the structure shown at left for her California garden, it was a simple redwood playhouse. Then she made the mistake of dressing it up with white paint and, just to be playful, adding a working clock tower. She decked it out with family memorabilia--shutters from her parents' home, the brass letter A from their old retail store on the Dutch door, and the toy-size lantern that acts as a porch light, a remnant of her mother's childhood playhouse. As if the building weren't cute enough, Anderson also added a window box, planted it with pink geraniums and white gauras, and placed three boxwood topiaries underneath to create a "gardeny" scene. As a final graceful note, she trained an ivy garland to weave its way along the roofline.
No wonder her teenage daughters, Madeline (14) and Clementine (13), insist the building is too neat to be used for tools but is perfect for birthday parties and other gala events. "I think it's going to be a long time before that shed sees tools again," says Anderson with a resigned smile.