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Backyard Retreats

Posted by Joshua Glenn  April 16, 2008 11:39 AM

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Katie Hutchison, whose North Share-based Katie Hutchison Studio provides "meaningful architectural and design" services, and which publishes the online magazine House Enthusiast, announced recently that she's embarking on a book project with The Taunton Press.

I'll be writing about appealing, small retreats -- backyard and beyond. The featured retreats will be from the U.S. and will each be less than 750 square feet. They may include such uses as: an artist studio, beach pad, bunk house, pool cabana, tea house, writer's shack, dining pavilion, summerhouse, garden folly, mountain escape, tree house, etc... Some will be antiques, some will be adapted from other uses, and some will be more recently created. I aim to illuminate how they portray eight characteristics of good, small-retreat design, so readers can create their own special places.

Sounds like a great project. I've dreamed for years about having a backyard retreat like Roald Dahl's writing hut. Here's a photo of the interior:

52716155_b762b3741e.jpg

Alas, the closest I've come to realizing this dream is when I camped out for a few afternoons one hot summer in a playhouse that used to belong to my stepmother. It was just big enough for a child's table, a cooler full of beer (which doubled as a seat), and a radio tuned to Red Sox games.

Hutchison asks readers to email her photos of small retreats, for possible inclusion in her book. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Via Design Observer.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.

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