In My House/ Renovations

Elements of our backyard studio build

3687648592_6f005f2e9e_o-1The reveal of our garden makeover was shown here, as an added bonus to the reveal of our furniture from Lowe’s. But what I really want to address is the amount of detail that we really put into this project. So backtracking to the beginning, the project started because we were in desperate need of more space. Space for me to do photoshoots, space for some storage and, space for entertaining. We turned our attention to the garden, where we had space in which we could build a new structure. In November 2014 I wrote this post that showed some inspiration.

Step 1: The Planning
The immediate assumption that we had, was that we would build an enclosed structure to be the full width of our property.  We could have built a 2 car garage, however – thinking about how we use this space, the kids play in the back laneway, and eventually I know this will be a throughway for Oscar when coming home from playing with friends. I wanted the entry to the garden from the laneway to be just as welcoming from one side, as it was the other. And so we came to the conclusion to make 1/2 of the space a carport – which is where we park our car – and the other half – a studio space. Here is a little video of how we came to decide on the first step of the structure, which was the design. This was 100% our design, Aubrey and I sketeched it out day after day.

Step 2: The Build

We interviewed two companies for this build and ended up going with North Sheds, a company that had done some great sheds in our neighbourhood. They were super down to earth, nice guys and were willing to work with us on a custom design. The process really was I designed the look of the building, Aubrey communicated that to the guys and then along with an architect that they had – we worked it to be within the city guidelines of what we could do. We had a permit, everything was to code, and there was a LOT of back and forth making sure it wasn’t too tall and that the concrete was poured right etc.

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As we got closer to the build, we did as much of the labour ourselves, such as removing our back fence and prepping for the build.

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Then it was North Sheds who came in and started prepping.


Aubrey admiring the form for the concrete. (I can assure you he was happy)

Rebar going in prior to the concrete. image.jpg


I’m skipping over a lot of the in progress shots and getting to the good stuff.


The dirt makes way for an inground deck which I’ll blog more about this week, but you can see above the process of it all coming together. Then, after all of After all of the building we have this as the laneway side of our garage …

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And then a view from the garden side …


Step 3 / The details
Here are the details that make it so beautiful!


No. 1 / Cedar Shingles
To really add character, I really, really wanted cedar shakes on the roof. This adds amazing detail that you can’t get elsewhere. For me this was worth the up charge to do this. The guys were really surprised at the request but in the end kept talking about how amazing it looked. Huzzah!

No. 2 / Board and Batten and Paint
I wanted the look of cottage, which was inspired by the greenery that we have outback. Going ultra modern seemed wrong to do, and I really felt that a comfortable “cottage” vibe was what we needed. I had the building painted Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.

No. 3 / Carport
Instead of doing a studio the full width of the property, we opted to do 1/2 a carport and, 1/2 a enclosed studio. This allows a flow of kids easily to come in and out of the garden with ease. The carport has paneling in the roof and we initially considered pot lights but I think we will forgo that expense for now.

No. 4 / Double Doors
Double doors open up onto the deck, allowing for more usable space in the studio. The door saga was documented here. At first I thought the doors should be black but in the end I kept them the same colour as the building – Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore and it’s perfect.

No. 5 / Hardware
The door handles are exquisite and from Emtek. They are long and slightly modern and yet traditional.

No. 6 / Utility Shed
The shed we had purchased from Lowes ended up working perfectly. We had it moved just a little bit to allow some room to walk around, and in the end it’s amazing because it creates privacy between our cartport and the garden.

No. 7 / Auction finds
I found these planters at an auction and painted them in the same paint, Revere Pewter, to blend in.

No. 8 / The grass wouldn’t grow, so we did a ground level deck
The deck. OMG THIS DECK. This is an entirely other post that I will post soon (along with a video of the build) and I will update this post to link to it when it’s up. But this deck was a LOT of work. No grass grew here because of the Willow tree and it was an ongoing annoyance. So I told Aubrey – “Let’s just build a deck!” and it’s the BEST thing ever however it was also, a ridiculous amount of work. But in the end, it finishes off the space.

No. 9 / Lighting – I desperately wanted lanterns and found these that were relatively affordable and they are perfect!

Garage / We hired North Sheds (and highly recommend them!!)
LanternsFremont by Artcraft
Garage Colour / Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore
Door Handles / Brighton Handles by Emtek
Decking / Home Depot (full post coming up shortly)
Small Shed / Lowe’s Canada painted to match (revere Pewter)

See all garage posts here

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  • Reply
    Melissa Clark
    July 4, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Ahhhh the deck looks amazing! Can’t wait to see a post all about that. 🙂 I’m living vicariously through you, in my downtown condo, hah.

  • Reply
    Joanna Bell
    July 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Looks amazing! It’s great to see the transformation over the years.
    I hope you’re having a great summer 🙂

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