Breathing room

This little backyard building provides space for gatherings and getaways

Peter O. Whiteley

Frank and Jennifer Karreman expanded their house on Washington's Bainbridge Island as their family grew, finally adding a gabled one-room, 14- by 14-foot structure at the bottom of their garden. "The Hut" is a multifunctional space: a painting studio for Frank; a playroom for 7-year-old Nancy and 5-year-old Anneke; and a favorite nighttime gathering place for everyone.

Inside, it's simply finished with a painted plywood floor, walls clad with whitewashed oriented strand board (a plywoodlike paneling that's also known as OSB), and narrow wooden battens that hide panel seams. The front steps ― which run the width of the Hut ― double as seats for a firepit that's used for cookouts. Hidden by trees, the building feels far removed from the house.

DESIGN: Karreman + Associates, Bainbridge Island, WA ( or 206/842-1253)


A staging area for barbecues. Set up a buffet inside.

Overflow space for guests. Add futons for sleeping.

A storage area. Stash boat gear and other supplies.

A backyard vacation destination. "We've spent a few holidays camping out there with the girls," Frank Karreman says. 

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