Restful Retreat: A Solar Powered, Petite Potting Shed

A Whidbey Island space that's open to the outdoors and surrounded by lavender fields
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A decade after building a cabin on Whidbey Island, a couple dreamed up an appealing addition to create their ideal getaway. They called on BUILD LLC(University District, 5611 University Way NE, Suite 100B; 206.382.0401;, architects of the original cabin, to fashion the 199-square-foot potting shed cum reflecting room.

Entirely detached from the main cabin 450 feet away, it’s a simple but functional space, housing a work table and chairs, that opens up to the outside via glass walls set on the building’s front and back sides. Topped with an angled shed roof fitted with four solar panels, the shed is able to save enough energy to power its outlets and heat its hardwood floors. It’s an idyllic place to work, sip coffee and gaze at the deer that stroll the 20-acre property. Just like the architects’ design approach, the space is “everything it needs to be and nothing more,” says Build partner Andrew Van Leeuwen. In fact, it turned out to be one of the simplest projects ever undertaken by the firm. Not only did its small footprint require no building permits, the site conditions were ideal.

Says Van Leeuwen, “It’s pretty rare to be able to build and design in a pristine landscape like this, to have something so picturesque, just literally sitting in the middle of a lavender field. It’s quite a luxury.” 

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