Evan Sagerman and Marci Riseman found space for this guest suite and entertaining area in an unlikely place: a tiny, ramshackle shed in the backyard of their San Francisco Victorian home. At first they didn't see potential in the neglected, 280-square-foot structure. "My first thought was: That's a teardown," Riseman says. Click ahead to see why.
Riseman and Sagerman, an architect, think the shed was used by day laborers in the early 1900s. Placement of doors and windows indicated that the space had once been divided into four tiny rooms, and it had a sewer line. As they gave the shed a closer look, they reconsidered. "It was a sturdy structure made out of good redwood," Sagerman says.
The makeover became an exercise in preservation and space planning. The interior of the shed has a clean, open layout, inspired by boat cabins. "You move through it in a straight line, with the bed as a stop at one end and the bathroom as a stop at the other," Sagerman says. A wide board on top of the foundation footing makes a shelf and extra seating.
French doors and skylights brighten the space and make it feel bigger. "There were five windows in the shed already," Sagerman says, "but four were facing north." Now the light is balanced. The French doors open to a new miniature kitchen, making it a great party space that flows easily into the yard.
Limited square footage forced Marci Riseman and Evan Sagerman to squeeze the most use out of every inch of space. Much of the furniture is built in, with storage underneath. A bed has drawers below it, and a banquette seat lifts up to reveal space for bedding. The couple purchased an inexpensive desk, sawed off the back legs to reduce its footprint, and bolted it to the wall studs.
DESIGN: Sagerman & Co. Architects , San Francisco, (415) 826-8860.