Ordinarily if you want something as utilitarian as a garden storage shed, you don’t go to an architect. But Bindy and Stephen Kaye didn’t want anything ordinary.
Though its intended use is strictly workaday, there is nothing routine about the Carpenter Gothic-style shed they erected on their rural Millbrook , New York, farm. It has been designed for his-and-her practicality with a gardening center on one side for Bindy and storage for Stephen’s firewood cache on the other. […]
“I wanted something that would be truly architectural because this shed would be seen from the house and would serve as a backdrop for my garden,” Bindy says.
That it possess skillfully drawn lines wasn’t the only requirement. The Kayes also wanted a shed that would:
• Include Space for tools and a small workbench for potting.
• Provide storage space conveniently near to the house for firewood.
• Not block the charming view from the house toward the big yellow barn sitting behind their garden. […]
To realize these sometimes complementary, sometimes competing requirements, the couple worked with architect James (Jimmy) Crisp of Brewster, New York . He has had extensive experience designing in a region known for its distinctive, historical architectural styles.
One of the predominant styles is Gothic Revival, and Carpenter Gothic is a modest version of it that’s usually constructed with wood. The variations of Gothic, with their steeply pitched roofs, often with cross gables, were popularized throughout the Hudson Valley and much of the nation by the writings of pre-Civil War architect Andrew Jackson Downing. He felt a subdued Gothic was suitable to rural families because, like those diligent people, such houses were “honest, straightforward, and openhearted.” […]
Though its style may be inspired by history, the 11×12-foot, nearly 17-foot -tall shed is as uncomplicated as it is charming. It stands on concrete footings and was built from pine framing with clear-pine, board-and- batten siding. A high-quality paint finish (matching the house’s sunny yellow) and a shingled roof protect it from the elements.
To give both Stephen and Bindy what they wanted, Jimmy devised a single shed with several facets. It’s really two back-to-back sheds with a covered walkway between them. On one side are a pair of open, 4-foot-deep storage compartments for firewood. There are no doors on this side of the shed, so winter chores can be accomplished unencumbered.
For the garden side, there are doors on both 6-foot-square compartments. A workbench has been installed on one side. The other wall is wide open for storing tools, mulches, overalls, and whatever else needs a handy resting spot.
Such utilitarian considerations aside, the shed also has become the architectural element the Kayes wanted for their backyard. “Looking out the window of the library in the house, you can see straight through the middle of the shed toward the barn. It gives a quite nice perspective,” Bindy says.
(end of excerpt)
Last Updated: October 15, 2020
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