This little backyard building provides space for gatherings and getaways

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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