A Studio for Sketching

Extract from She Sheds: A Room of Your Own by Erika Kotite. Published by Cool Springs Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Ken Smith designed a more steeply pitched roof and included a small oval window and French doors. Two custom-made barn lights in deep cobalt blue complete the facade.

Ken Smith designed a more steeply pitched roof and included a small oval window and French doors. Two custom-made barn lights in deep cobalt blue complete the facade.

There are times when a she shed doesn’t start out that way. Susan Mintun, a noted former horticulturist and now a botanical illustrator, knew her tools were losing the battle for garage space with her husband’s many automobiles. Nevertheless, she wanted something pretty that reflected the French architecture of her Main Line, Pennsylvania, home.

A moveable ladder provides easy access to the loft storage area.

A moveable ladder provides easy access to the loft storage area.

Mintun contacted Ken Smith of Garden Sheds Inc. and asked if he could modify the company’s colonial style shed to meet her needs. The result is both restrained and stylized. “I wanted the ‘presence’ of a functional structure as part of my garden’s design,” Mintun recalls.
What she didn’t expect was how much she would enjoy being in her new shed. Mintun began using it as a satellite studio to work on her illustrations. She uses an old butcherblock table and sketches away with a view to the flowers in her garden. “If I had known how much I would love this shed, I would have included a sink and maybe insulation so that I could use it year round,” Mintun says.

The interior is unfinished, featuring an unpainted cedar floor and one bracketed shelf where Mintun has her collection of birdhouses.

The interior is unfinished, featuring an unpainted cedar floor and one bracketed shelf where Mintun has her collection of birdhouses.

Her favourite things:

  • French Accents: Mintun loves the light that streams in through the French doors, four matching windows, and oval window overhead.
  • Copper roof finial, custom made for her shed.
  • Fresh wood smell.
Mintun curated plant collections and taught horticulture in St Louis before retiring and moving to Pennsylvania.

Mintun curated plant collections and taught horticulture in St Louis before retiring and moving to Pennsylvania.

Photography: Susan Mintun