An 85-Square-Foot Backyard Studio Built from Scratch — House Call

Name: Blake
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dimensions: 85 square feet

Imagine having the ability to take a look at some old fence posts you had lying around and thinking…yeah, I’ll just turn these into an extremely cool, tiny, modern office in my backyard. Blake did just that and we’re still kind of in awe.

From Blake: Originally, this was just a nice-sized open backyard. As a hobby, I build things (usually simple furniture pieces) from scrap lumber I find. I had some old fence posts that I was having trouble creating something with. I thought they would look good as ceiling beams. So I decided to build something that needed a ceiling. The studio idea was born.

I sketched a few ideas over a span of a couple weeks. The ideas revolved around using as much of the existing material I had. I incorporated the Golden Ratio into the design of the walls and the floor with an in-floor planter. I started building around July 2016. I worked on it nights and weekends until completing it around December 2016. I made some minor renovations in May of 2017. No outside help. No surprises or setbacks, the only change was removing the in-floor planter. As much as I knew an in-floor planter in such a small space was not the best idea, I wanted to build it.

The project ended up costing about $3,000. I saved money where I could by keeping the design simple, using scrap materials and by buying from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore recycled building material stores. In May of 2017 I removed the in-floor planter and added some cabinets. I opted for a more practical floor instead of a planter to increase the usable space.

There’s no electric panel, no plumbing and no HVAC system. Electricity is accessed by extension cord through in-wall port. I have set up small space heaters and small fans for keeping the area comfortable and lamps for lighting.

I love how relaxing the space is… It was never my intention to create a relaxing space, but it has become that. The studio is too small to be a work space for me to build inside. It has become a quiet place to think, reflect and write. I wouldn’t do anything differently (now that I changed the planter)!

Resource list

  • Exterior Paint: Sherwin-Williams, Urbane Bronze
  • Interior Paint: Glidden, White
  • Floors: Minwax, Honey

Blake’s words of wisdom: If you are building a tiny structure, keep transportation in mind. I built the studio small enough to fit on a trailer and it can be transported (relatively) easily because it meets road requirements.

Thanks, Blake!

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