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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:


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.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

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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