Making sheds a stylish feature

Debra Prinzing, a longtime former writer for The Herald’s Home &Garden section, has teamed up with Seattle photographer William Wright to produce an exquisite garden and design book.

“Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways: Big Ideas for Small Backyard Destinations,” 200-plus-pages of rich prose and luscious photographs, is both inspiring and reassuring.

The 8-by-11-inch book is filled with examples of small backyard structures, sheds, cottages and cabins, all tucked comfortably in their surroundings. Some are spectacularly fancy, others more humble, but they all fulfill a need of the owner for a special place for work, thought or play.

Most demand a peek inside if not a weekend to try out every chair, look at every view and touch every object.

These examples of a room of one’s own are scattered across the country with a heavy emphasis on the West Coast. Wright still lives in Seattle, which was Prinzing’s home for many years before the master gardener and writer moved with her family to Los Angeles.

Don’t be fooled by the word shed: There are some rustic reclaimed huts filled with antiques, sentimental possessions and comfy old chairs. But there are some spectacular examples of modern design, roofless outdoor rooms and glass extravaganzas built over special pools.

Tackling the hideaways one at a time, Prinzing describes them in mouth-watering detail and sketches out the missions, must-haves, inspiration, challenges and solutions for each. The inspiration comes from the scope and the variety, the reassurance from the controlled size of most. You can picture yourself taking on and completing such a project.

She covers considerations such as placement, foundation, scale and design.

For those who have no need or room for a stylish shed or an elegant hideway, the beauty of the photos and the writing make the book an adult fairy tale for homeowners, garden lovers and readers alike.

“Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideways” has just been published and will sell for $30. It’s available at and other major booksellers. You can read more on Prinzing’s blog at

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