From Backyard Shed to Design Studio

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. 





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

  2. Alicia Stavropoulos

    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!

    • 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

        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

  3. 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. ☺

  4. 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

  5. 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 🙂

  6. Susan @ Susan Silverman Designs

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


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

  8. 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?

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!!!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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 🙂

  15. 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.

  16. 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!!!

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

    • 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.

  18. Maria,
    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:))

  19. Maria,
    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

  20. 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!

  21. 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.