Skip to main content
Before and AfterOne bad decision pays for the designerRenovating my House

From Backyard Shed to Design Studio

By 08/04/2013June 16th, 202057 Comments

We converted an old shed in my backyard into my interior design studio. See the complete transformation here.

My Design Studio: Before, During & After

The transformation of my design studio is so amazing that it needs few words.

Converting a backyard shed into a design studio

My Design Studio: Before & AFter

Above is how it looked the day we took possession of our house.

My Design Studio: Before, During & After

This is after we renovated it in the Spring, about six weeks later.

My Design Studio: Before & After

After the flagstone was installed this Spring.

My Design Studio: Before, During & After



Here’s an updated picture in June 2014

My Design Studio: Before & After

Here’s another angle while shooting pictures so that my talented Landscape Architect MaryAnne White could start the design all the way from New York.

My Design Studio: Before & After

During the demolition of the front and back yard. Nothing was sacred it all had to be ripped out with this much concrete everywhere.

Wait for it. . .


Ta ta da da!!!!

My Design Studio: Before, During & After


My Design Studio: Before, During & After


See more of the transformation inside. Check out my ivy wall mural inside the studio.

My Design Studio: Before & AFter

Here’s the before again.



All winter long, we ran back and forth from the house to the office. It hurt my eyes every time, haha.

Never underestimate the power of landscaping.

Thank you Mary Anne for your vision!

With this kind of transformation, you can see why I consulted her on every detail. This is not what I do, I didn’t know a single thing about plants. Prior to shopping and selected all the plant material, I would see flowers and plants and just think “That’s pretty”. Now I walk down the street or into someone else’s yard and say:

Aha, Rose of Sharon in purple, lovely.

That’s one way to clip Cherry Laurel shrubs.

Bobo Hydrangeas, wow those are huge! Mine will look like those soon!

I have a whole new language now, I love it!

Have a great week my lovelies!

Related posts:

How to Choose the Colour of your Flagstone: Before & After

Sneak Peak of my Boxwood: Before & After

Danger: Your Designer has Left the Building

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk up to the front door, become a client. On-line or In-person.

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 


27 pins


  • Rhonda says:

    Everything is simply beautiful! I’m so happy for you!

  • Absolutely stunning! Great proof that we should all hire professionals!

  • Jann Newton says:

    Wonderful transformation!

  • Mary says:

    Beautiful! I love it!

  • Very nice! Looks so cozy and inviting! Love the chairs!

  • Sharon says:

    So incredible – Home and Garden magazine needs these pictures – and while you’re at it Houzz! Great job Maria!

  • Alicia Stavropoulos says:

    This looks fabulous, Maria! I have been closely following your landscaping project, because I am seriously considering using MaryAnne for my own yard! Your landscaping is coming along beautifully! I look forward to each new post. Thank you so much for sharing it with us and allowing us to get to know MaryAnne and follow your progress. I believe she is in New York. I’m wondering if she has experience with California’s inland areas with its hot, dry climate, and the challenges associated with it. How did you go about getting your plans for your contractor to work from? Did you or she take messuements and mark all existing landscape elements? Did she make an initial visit? It’s truly amazing what can be done over the web!

    • Maria Killam says:

      I sent her all the measurements (she was never here) she sent detailed plans for my contractor to work from. Landscape Architects just follow the zones for the area (not sure if that is correct language) but it worked great given our climate is really wet! Maria

      • Alicia Stavropoulos says:

        She is doing a fabulous job, just as you are doing on the inside of the house! I just love watching the progress and transformation. I thoroughly enjoyed your summer school and I want to attend one of your classes in person. If you ever offer a conference anywhere in California, I want to be the first to know and sign up! Love your blog and Pinterest boards. Always looking forward to your next post. Sending some California sunshine your way. ~Alicia

  • Joanne G W says:

    Another wonderful transformation!

  • Tess says:

    Gorgeous! Love it!

  • Allyson says:

    Wow! Love it and love seeing the transformation! Enjoy.

  • Bonnie says:

    What a beautiful place and what a very talented designer.

  • Kimberly says:

    This is just sooooo gorgeous! What an amazing transformation!

  • Adele says:

    WOW!!! What a difference!!! Absolutely gorgeous…

  • mrsben says:

    BEAUTIFUL transformation Maria! Mary Anne really did a wonderful job working her talent and magic. -Brenda-
    P.S: I wonder what the previous owner of your home would think if they seen it now. ☺

  • BillP says:

    Beautiful transformation, Maria! Congratulations.

  • susan says:

    Maria, as an urban design graduate and now a professional home stager, I fully comprehend your transformation- this job was very well executed and turned out great! Congratulation to both of you.
    I am sure this space will bring many happy years of enjoyment

  • Max says:

    Incredible! Just shows what a difference it makes when a lot of love goes into a place. I’m amazed to see how many people around me doesn’t take care or pride in their properties. Which they have to pay for and go home to after a long day at work. Enjoy your house and studio! No place like home 🙂

  • jeanette says:

    Absolutely gorgeous and inviting!!! We are making progress, thanks to you, and your inspiration!

  • Susan @ Susan Silverman Designs says:

    Gorgeous transformation. You must love being back there. There is something so wonderful about “pretty”.


  • Franki says:

    “A picture is worth…..” franki

  • Livia Drennan says:

    This is such an amazing transformation! Maria, I am addicted to your blogs! They are full of inspiration and lessons to learn. Thank you.

  • Susan says:

    Soooo beautiful!

  • Loribeth says:

    Looks lovely! So much better than before. I wish I could convince my husband to let me do a major overhaul of our yard… Of course, I also wish he would let me have an art studio. ahhh…someday.

    What’s your favorite plant that your landscaper suggested?

    • Maria Killam says:

      That’s a good question, it’s hard to say, I do love the Bobo Hydrangeas, they really are stunning and prolific! Maria

  • Lesley Kramer says:

    Wow Maria — I am so happy for you — all the hard work is SOOO worth it…congrats..

  • heather says:

    What a joy! One can’t help but think of the good feelings and smiles that will come your way each time you walk to your studio.

  • SandyCGC says:

    Wonderful! Stunning! Gorgeous! Every word everyone else used above and more. And best of all, it looks as though it’s always beem there. What a treasure you found in MaryAnne and how smart of you to seek her out and let her bring the vision to life. Enjoy every view from every angle every day!!!

  • Victoria says:

    it’s wonderful Maria – I love your green chairs
    too. What a happy place to work in! I, too, agree with the comment that it pays to hire professionals.

  • Fran says:

    It’s lovely, Maria!

  • Lauren Tyson says:

    Beautiful and what a transformation. I, too, love the green chairs. They harmonize nicely with the landscape.

  • Angela Kelsey says:

    I love it Maria – great job!!

  • Mary says:

    It’s beautiful! Now that your yard is done, think of the free time you’ll have.

  • Picture perfect transformation! I love it! It looks like you have a nice little raised bed veggie garden too…well done. You are in such a picturesque part of the lower mainland.

  • Kay says:

    Fabulous results! As the garden matures it will only look better and better. The design of the fence for the vegetable garden is perfect! Truly an inspired addition to the entire design.

  • Kim says:

    Absolutely beautiful, Maria! ……So when do we get to see inside your studio?? Hee hee…. I’m sure it’s going to be equally as awesome!

  • Fantastic! Everything looks great, what a big improvement. Enjoy!

  • Kim says:

    I’m going to add my “Wow!”

  • you must be in heaven…the outdoor seating in the round is awesome.

  • Joan says:

    Beautiful inside. Beautiful outside. That’s you! I’m also laughing about you turning into a gardner. I see a pair of overalls in your future 🙂

  • karen says:

    It’s absolutely Gorgeous Maria. Maryanne has such a vision. Love it! Now to enjoy it…what are you going to do with yourself now, lol. perhaps relax a little I would hope.

  • Victoria says:

    I just love viewing your transformations! Gives me hope and inspiration! What a dramatic change. Love the vision of your brilliant landscape architect! It is as stunning outside as it is inside! Lucky girl!!!

  • What a transformation! My sister just hired a landscape architect, I can’t wait to see her yard transformation!

  • Kelly says:

    So beautiful Maria! Love it. I also love outdoor design and the flowers and just making outside beautiful too!

  • heather says:

    Yes, this before and after needs to be published – a testiment to a collaboration between Mary Anne White and Mari Killam. And an inspiration.

    • BillP says:

      Yes, Heather, this should be published. Mary Anne probably has media contacts. My sister’s garden was published in Sunset magazine. Although Sunset is strong in the Northwest, I’m not sure if they go into Canada.

  • Nichole says:


  • What a wonderful transformation and so nice that you get a dose of inspiration before you even start your day.

  • Angela Taylor says:

    Just testing to see if I am on the correct forum here. Should be your private forum. If not, can you let me know please. Love your garden:))

  • Carol J says:

    Fast work! What a fabulous transformation. Wow.

  • Kristen says:

    I looks fantastic! I love the conversation area. Where did you get the chairs, and if painted would you mind sharing the paint color?

    The choice of flowers are perfect. Lucky you!

    Kristen in Atlanta

  • Cynthia says:

    Wonderful! I just tuned in after many months of not checking in here. The flagstone and green elements are such a fantastic combo. Kudos to you and your designer!

  • Ellen Rush says:

    Hi Maria, I’m reading many of your blogs all at once, I am catching up. What a treat to see your studio, patio and garden looking so beautiful, it really does look so sophisticated and happy all at once.

Leave a Reply