20 favorite garden cottages & sheds

Creative ideas for backyard retreats, detached home offices, and reinvented sheds

Garden cottage
Christina Schmidhoffer

Office in a water tower

This 1920 backyard water tower was built when this property used to be a ranch. Now a residence, the owners needed a home office.

“The first time I saw it, it was very close to falling down, but I thought it was fantastic,” says architect Geoffrey Holton. “It was like a little piece of history on a typical suburban lot.”

Builders stabilized the tower and added flashing to make it waterproof. They restored the windows and added a ring of transomlike windows at the base of the tower. After finishing the interior, the old ranch water tower is now a cozy home office.

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