How to create a backyard artist's studio

A Seattle artist transforms her backyard into a spot to unwind and find inspiration

Live, work, play
Jim Henkens

Live, work, play

As an artist, Kristie Severn’s livelihood depends on inspiration—something her former studio in downtown Seattle lacked. “It was cold and white, with a view of Highway 99,” says Severn, who creates mixed-media pieces that often incorporate elements from nature. “And I had to drive there.”

Looking for a space that would foster her creativity—and cut down on her commute—Severn decided to build it in her own backyard. In 2008, she hired local architects Jim Graham and Leann Crist to add a modern, airy art studio onto an existing shed in her yard. Then she hired friend and landscape designer Brandon Peterson to plant a garden full of meadowlike grasses. “Brandon designed a spot that felt like it had been here forever,” Severn says. “It’s a perfect place to relax with friends—or a sketchbook.”

Info: Kristie Severn, Architecture: Jim Graham and Leann Crist, Landscape design: Brandon Peterson,


Insider Guides

Places We Love!
Enchantment Resort
For a most soothing Sedona experience, tuck yourself...