Tuesday, October 28, 2008 Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways Book Review

Prior to going to Portland, Oregon and meeting writer and stylist Debra Prinzing and photographer William Wright, I read their book, Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways.


It was a gift from my friend James Baggett, Editor of Country Gardens Magazine.  He knew I liked garden books in general, but James also knew I like places to go in the garden – destinations such as seating areas, potting benches, gazebos, porches, sheds, hideaways. 


With the tempting title waiting, I poured a fresh cup of coffee, with just the right amount of cream, and began to read.  Inspiration sprung, fantasy flourished.  It was a great way to spend a morning.


For a very long time now, I’ve wanted to add a greenhouse, but not just any greenhouse.  I always fancied it would have a certain look; a place where I could put not only plants, but a single chair and small table so I could go there to take my afternoon tea.


The location of the greenhouse, I thought, would have to be relegated to the “service” area of my garden – next to the shed.  My shed is strictly utilitarian.  We don’t have a garage to store bikes, garden tools, the mower, and other objects necessary to function as an all American family.  I always assumed the greenhouse would go right next to the shed.  Currently, there is a table there and I refer to this area as the holding area. Calling it a nursery, would be too important of a word for the purpose.  This place holds plants until I have a place to put them. 


I’ve wanted a greenhouse to hold over tender plants – but I really wanted it as place for an escape. The idea of having a place of my own in the garden, protected from elements was the dream. Using it to hold over tender plants was the justification.


I just couldn’t get excited about the space though.  It wasn’t enough to have a place to go.  I needed it to be in a place I wanted to go.  I was looking for a destination, one that wasn’t closed off.   I also couldn’t see the garden from the service area.  And that is exactly what that space would have done. 


After reading Debra’s book, I had an epiphany.  If the building is beautiful and well sited, then I could move it out of the service area and make it a part of the garden.  Once I realized this, I began to take the steps to make this dream a reality.


I found my perfect greenhouse.  It’s offered by Smith and Hawkin.  I give monthly seminars there, so I’m familiar with their products.  I love the look and after looking around for a long time, I knew I would know it when I saw it.  The Smith and Hawkin’s greenhouse meets not only my need for aesthetics, but for function as well.


Debra and William’s book touches nicely on the spaces featured including bits of information about the owners and how they made their space personal.  Each featured space has a chart to show the process the owners went through to create their space including the mission, must-haves, inspiration, design challenges, creative solutions.


For kicks and grins, I thought I would write my design statement.  Put it on paper, so I could visualize it, make it real, make it my own.





To have a place of my own for afternoon tea.  To be surrounded by plants and my garden. And if it took an extra 10 minutes for someone to find me, that would be an added bonus!


Rustic, casual, garden-y, relaxed, enchanted, welcoming.


To help soften the play set, I have plantings surrounding this massive wood structure.  I’ll move some of these plants to other areas  of the garden to make room for the greenhouse.



Benches to hold plants, a chandelier, chair, table, stone floor, and stacks of my favorite garden magazines.


The area where I want to put the greenhouse holds my children’s play set.  They still have a couple of years until they will outgrow this space.  And then I promised we would convert the play set into a chicken coop.


Ask for this as a Christmas present, plus the help from my husband to install it – without compliant…might have to tack on a birthday as well – maybe two.



The styling and photography are phenomenal.  As a stylist, I can see all the attention to detail that happened to make these photographs what they are.  And William caught the light just right. Well done!



All photo credits William Wright  www.williamwrightphoto.com

Please find Debra Prinzing at www.debraprinzing.com and/or “Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways” at www.shedstyle.com



  1. That is a stunning looking Greenhouse. I would be interested to know how much it cost if that isnt to persomnal a question?

  2. Ah! Gardening Care, alsa, it’s not my greenhouse. Yes, it is stunning. My shed still remains in my checkbook. The photos in the posting were taken by William Wright for the book. You may want to direct this question to Debra at http://www.shedstyle.com

  3. Nancy Locker said

    I’m definitely interested in that book! Thanks for the info on Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideways.

  4. What a delightful post! I especially enjoyed reading about your own creative process and how the book inspired you, Helen. The photos are heavenly. Thanks for sharing. Makes me want to build my own little getaway… Teresa

  5. Thanks Teresa. Alas, Smith and Hawkins is no more. I will have to go with my choice if money was not a problem – a Hartley Greenhouse. Oh, how I love them! Still at least a year off and then, the money needs to fall from the sky. Good news? I’m a pretty good catch. H.

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