Debra Prinzing

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“Cottage Ornee” for Solitude and Sociability

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

On July 3rd, my friends at Garden Rant invited me to be their guest-blogger. This kind and generous opportunity gave me a platform to share a little essay about my shed odyssey, the fascination I hold for tiny backyard architecture, and the experiences Bill Wright and I had creating “Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways.” I was tickled to see that Amy Stewart titled the piece “In Praise of Sheds.”

I asked Garden Rant readers to share their thoughts, ideas and inspiration in response to the question: What is your dream shed and how will you use it?  More than 30 clever readers sent in their answers, vying to win a copy of our book, and a set of note cards with our wellies-under-glass photograph (seen at left), taken by Bill while we were on location at Brenda Lyle’s outside Atlanta.

I was touched by reading so many awesome posts – you can go to Garden Rant to read them for yourself. It was a tough call, but I chose as the winner of this small contest a wonderful gardener and writer in rural Massachusetts.

Pat Leuchtman has a blog called Commonweeder. She and her husband created their “Cottage Ornee” (pronounced Cott-aaagh Or-Nay, preferably in a heavy French accent, Pat says), a stylish shed imagined first in their minds and then built by their hands. This little gem of a building resides at their “End of the Road Farm,” in Heath, Massachusetts. I was struck by Pat’s written description of its design and charmed by the narrative of how she and her husband use it. Here is Pat’s post about winning our little contest: “Cottage Ornee is a Winner”

Cottage Ornee  [Pat Leuchtman photos, here and below]

Here are some photographs, provided by Pat. I was so curious about the cottage’s creation and sent Pat several questions. Her comments appear below. I hope you find this little hut as alluring and enticing as I do. I am already scheming about how to get myself up to visit Pat one of these days. In the meantime, I am enjoying reading her delicious words, so make sure to visit Commonweeder.


July “shed” report

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Lots has been happening in the media this month as Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways appears in print (newspapers and magazines) and online. We’ll even be featured on TV later this month, when Central Texas Gardener (Austin PBS station KLRU) airs a half-hour segment and interview (click here for air-dates).

GARDEN RANT invited me to post today as “guest blogger” and I was thrilled to participate. Thank you to Amy Stewart, Susan Harris, and their partners-in-crime, Michele Owens and Elizabeth Licata, for the wonderful opportunity. Click on over to read my essay, “In Praise of Sheds,” and to see which reader-post wins the free copy of Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways. I’ll choose the winner who gives the best answer to my question:

“What’s your dream shed and how will you use it?”

SUNSET magazine: Thanks to my friends at Sunset for embracing the Shed-Lovers Lifestyle! Kathy Brenzel, garden editor, with support from editor-in-chief Katie Tamony and executive editor Irene Edwards, commissioned a version of the book’s “Newsroom” chapter for Sunset’s July issue. It’s titled: “Home Office With a View.”

The mini-profile about Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press reporter Martha Mendoza, featuring Bill Wright’s photographs of her closet-sized shed-office, allowed me to include details that didn’t make it into the book. The piece captures a-day-in-the-life of this talented, versatile writer and mom, as she moves effortlessly between the Santa Cruz bungalow she shares with husband Ray and their four children, and her 64-square-foot potting shed-turned-office.

Kathy Brenzel also produced a vibrant sidebar about Stylish Sheds, including photographs of three west coast sheds in Bellingham, Wash., Los Angeles, and San Diego County. We couldn’t be happier with the coverage!