Debra Prinzing

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Another great garden shed – with a new slant

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Literary agent Charlotte Gusay has a delicious secret. She recently shared it with me and gave me permission to write about it here.

Charlotte contacted me after reading about my shed expertise (also known as an “obsession”) in Dwell magazine:

“[I] saw the recent issue of Dwell (Feb. 09) with your article on ‘backyard’ sheds. So disappointed we did not find each other before this article and/or your book . . . .

“I have a swell little ‘postmodern shed’ that my husband Bobby Milder and I built about 5 years ago. . . .”

She sent along a few photographs to tempt me. What else would a nosy reporter such as me do next? I called Charlotte and invited myself over for a visit. Paula Panich, my writing mentor and friend, came along last week when we drove over to Charlotte’s after lunch.

Her house sits quietly on a tree-lined city street, just a block or so away from a major thoroughfare. It is nice to know these inviting residential pockets exist here in LA, right in the city. I love it!

This irresistible 10-by-14 foot haven is tucked comfortably into a far corner of Charlotte’s urban lot, hidden from everyone’s view but hers. Because of the way it has been sited, the shelter is first seen “in profile,” its longer side and angled shed roof-line emphasized. When glimpsed by newcomers (such as Paula and me) the shed reveals its see-through quality, thanks to a wraparound glass “corner” that connects two outer walls. The white-painted framework around the windows and door outlines and emphasizes vertical and horizontal lines of the design (almost Mondrianesque in its geometry).

I like how Charlotte described the shed to me in her first email note: “It floats elegantly in the backyard, just beyond our 1944 mid-century house in West Los Angeles.”