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Garden House Makeover!

Yes, i REALLY did do this makeover in two days!
i think if that you see it and realize how absolutely possible it IS,
then you can take on a Spring Cleanup Project like this one, too!

here's what happened last winter (2012):
it was january. in seattle. COLD. rainy. gray. depressing.
i was ACHING for spring.
 and when i looked out into the backyard of the sweet little cottage i was renting,
there was a little garden house (potting shed, she shed, garden shed)
that the talented owner had made from salvage.
and it was full of junk. 
some of the junk was the house owners, and had been there for years.

some of the junk was mine, and had been dumped there the month before when i moved in.
the space was totally unusable.
but i knew that with a good cleaning job,
it could be a FABULOUSly usable space - and a stylist's DREAM!

so i asked myself these questions:
* what junk that is thrown in there can be used in a new way for storage or decor?
* what junk/stuff that i have in storage or in the garage can be used in there?
[and let me tell you, i had a LOT]

on Friday, i gathered up all the stuff i was going to use, and sat it outside the garden house.
i was ready to begin the project on Saturday morning
and DETERMINED to have it done by Sunday afternoon.

a lofty goal, especially considering that it looked like THIS inside on Friday:
Saturday morning, i began by emptying out the garden house...
which made it look a LITTLE bit less awful:

the old screen door that i had was hung on the INSIDE of the back doorway
[with the glass door swinging open to the right, outside of the garden house,
this was the only way to make a screen door work there.
and i had one, so i wanted to use it.]

after that, i grabbed two partial gallon cans of white paint left from painting furniture,
and watered them down to a 50/50 mix.
i used that to paint all of the window edges and door trim and doors, and floor.
there was about a half can of the whitewash left, so i added more water
and used that really thin mix to wash all of the walls and beams.
the wood was SO dry that it literally sucked up all of the paint/whitewash!
i sat one small heater inside the garden house, just to be sure it would dry.
and left the heater on overnight with the doors closed.
[NOTE: this was a very safe contractor's heater on a sturdy base, not a household heater.]

on Sunday morning, i started moving in the furniture...
on the left side of the entry door:
one tall old crate [that had been in the garden house] and
two of my own large wood crates, stacked on their sides
formed the supports for my enamel kitchen sink
[been hauling that around for about ten years...]
there was no running water, but the sink and it's attached counters worked great for potting plants.
had i stayed there, i would have run the garden hose through the wall and into the sink.

a pegrack made from old fence boards and ceramic pegs for electric fences
was hung over the sink for storage.
and an old aluminum light pendant was hung above it all
[attached to a heavy-duty construction extension cord, that ran to an exterior plug on the house]
in the back corner, an old wooden chair that i 'rescued' from a dumpster
[and have subsequently used for years in retail store & seminar stage displays]
holds my medium and large terra cotta plant pots in unusual ways:
there's a metal industrial bread pan on the floor holding pots,
and there's a metal industrial muffin-top pan sitting across the arms of the chair holding pots.
a few others sit on the chair seat under the muffin-top pan.

all of the tiniest pots sit up on a beam between the studs.
[i saw that idea at Christiansen's, one of my fave nurseries]

on the right side of the entry door:
there had been a long wood park bench inside the garden house (the owner's),
and i placed it under the large window. over the window, i hung another one of the pegracks.
it's not shown in the photo below, but i later hung a large white lace bedspread from those hooks
to block out the VERY ugly view of the neighbor's yard. it still let the light in, which was perfect.

i sat an old enamel-top table (roadside find!) in front of the bench,
and added one of my metal chairs to the other side.
(the other four matching metal chairs were at a patio table in the backyard)

 above the table, a metal floral chandelier that i have used for YEARS was hung from the rafters.
[you've seen it painted bright green in a past office post!]
the chandy's electrical cord was connected to another heavy-duty contractor's extension cord 
that ran to an exterior plug on the back of the house.
[the cord ran down the fence line to the house]

with all of the major pieces in place, it was time for the details...

here's a photo of the finished interior on Sunday afternoon:
everything that had already been inside the garden house was used.
i added a LOT of my own stuff - furniture, lighting, decor & garden elements.
but i did not spend one single cent on this project!

 here's what i did a day later:

the garden house's exterior didn't really need much work - 
nothing more than a removal of some old hops vines that had grown up the side
and the addition of a 'porch light' under the existing glass window 'awning' over the door.
[the light was a plain metal worklight from Home Depot that i had on hand,
and the cord ran under a board into the extension cord already inside]

i also hung two small metal 'shelves' from IKEA, one under each window,
and loaded them up with some terra cotta pots.
around the side of the garden house, another one of my original peg racks was hung outside
to hold large galvanized buckets and old garden tools.

and later that same day
i got busy shooting photos for upcoming magazine and blog projects:
 ...and more that i'll share in an upcoming post!

Then the NEXT day, THIS happened:

yup... it SNOWED!(pretty, isn't it?)
i don't live in that little cottage in Seattle anymore, 
but i sure have fond memories of this project and the photo session.
thank you, Todd, for the freedom to do this to your place!

so what are YOU doing this coming weekend?
maybe it's time to look at that garden shed or back porch in a new way...
there's a LOT you can accomplish in just two days!

shared online:

cupcakes & crinoline

green willow pond 

jennifer rizzo's fabulously creative fridays


  1. Wow-wow-wow! You did a fantastic job on your sweet little garden house! I just love it and it looks great....the price is right, too!;>) xo Diana

  2. Love it all! So charming and functional!

  3. So fun and very cute!!! I love Seattle, grew up in Edmonds.

  4. You did an amazing job! Doesn't look like the same place. Beautiful...
    Debbie :)

  5. Oooh! What a lovely little shed. I would spend hours there all summer. Thanks for showing what is possible with zero money. I'd love it if you would share this at "What We Accomplished Wednesday," at Green Willow Pond. It is live right now. Have a great week!


  6. love love love - no ADORE! I'm moving in, so cute! I want this shed... *sigh* add another to the list!


  7. Deborah, thank you so much for the invitation - I did join your linky party!

    Thank you all, girls, for your kind comments. I am so grateful that my sweet friend Todd gave me carte blanche to go in and fix up his little garden house... it was such a fun project (right when I really needed one) and has provided me with these photos and story to share with all of you! ;)

  8. I found you on Hometalk. Now I'm following you on Hometalk, Pinterest, and Facebook. Would love if you shared this and any other of your fabulous posts to What to do Weekends Party. Best wishes, Linda


  9. Linda, thank you so much for visiting AND following me, and for inviting me to your link party! I just linked up! ;)

  10. I love the makeover! Everything looks so bright and cheery. Thank you so much for linking up at Project Inspire{d} Sweet Deb.

    I hope you are having a weekend filled with more blessings than you can imagine.

    Mary Beth
    p.s. pinning to the party board