ISSUE 34  |  Chasing Fireflies

Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding Winner: Maggie Anthony Design

August 25, 2014 4:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

The winner of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding is Maggie Anthony Design of Nashville, Tennessee. 

Her project was chosen as a finalist by Gardenista editor-in-chief Michelle Slatalla, who said: “What a nice commute to the office–walk a few steps through the garden, past the lettuces, listening to the sound of gravel crunching underfoot. Both the setting and the studio’s womblike size make it feel like a refuge.” 

Take a look below and read what Anthony has to say about the project and her favorite design sources in Nashville. 

N.B.: This is the last in a series of posts spotlighting the winners of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards. Go to the 2014 Considered Design Awards to see other entries, all the finalists, and the winners. And have a look at the winners of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards, too.

Maggie Anthony Design’s Design Statement: “The Shelter”–clad in locally harvested eastern red cedar–serves as the homeowner’s studio office space, offering a peaceful place for creative and therapeutic work. The north end houses the garden shed, and the metal roof works as a rain catchment system to water nearby vegetable beds. The south wall features exterior art (commercial HVAC panels and vintage auto insignias and a truck door) among naturalized yucca and ornamental grasses.

Q: What were your practical goals for the project?
The Shelter is a personal project for my husband’s office. We owned a cabin in the mountains of Tennessee and are deeply connected to the grounding force of nature. He wanted to bring that ethos to our urban property in Nashville. It was important that the space be unobtrusive but have a strong presence. He wanted to create a peaceful experience that would invite visitors to a place of refuge in a hectic world.

Q: What are your favorite features of the project?
The eastern red cedar batten-board siding! I’ve worked with Winter Brothers Construction in Smithville, Tennessee for nine years; they went to the mill themselves to select the cedar. We worked together to create the exterior finish–each board was cut on site.

The placement of the building in the context of our gardens (my husband is a Master Gardener) was important from both an external perspective and the internal views.

Q: What was your biggest splurge?
Labor on the batten board.

Q: Where did you cut corners?
The project was designed around simple materials and a sense of humble simplicity. We saved by purchasing repurposed windows and doors. The shelving by the desk was made with cedar end pieces from the roof beams. And all the furnishings had a previous life.

Q: What were the hardest lessons you learned along the way?
The challenge was to maintain the simplicity of the design so it didn’t get in the way of the project narrative.

Q: What advice do you have for someone undertaking a similar project? 
Spend time with your client to listen to their needs, and learn the purpose of the space. I find that one of the most helpful questions is: “How much is enough?”

Q: Who worked on the winning project?
Lead designer and project manager: Maggie Anthony. Construction: Winter Brothers Construction, Smithville, Tennessee.

Q: If your project was a celebrity, who would it be?
Poet/farmer Wendell Berry (though he would deny the “celebrity” status).

Q: What does your firm specialize in?
3 Marias, the new iteration of Maggie Anthony Design, is in the process of moving to a new studio where we will continue to work with all things design: residential renovation and building, commercial development, staging for sale, art installation, and collaborative design.

Q: What is your favorite local shop?
The Nashville Flea Market never fails. Locals, a gallery in Sewanee, TN, is home to gifted southern artisans. My go-to for in-stock furniture is Merridian Home Furnishings

Q: What is your best secret design source?
Nashville was recently named the third most creative city in the United States by Forbes magazine. It’s infused with so much creative energy, inspiration is everywhere. The design/construction community is a generous tribe and we share our sources freely.

Q: Which architects or designers do you admire?
Samuel Mockbee and Commune.

Q: What is your next project? 
The primary focus of 3 Marias is Nashville’s vibrant 12South area. The diversity, lifestyle, and community vibe make 12South one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the southeast. Architectural styles range from turn-of-the-century four-squares and Tudor revivals to 1920s bungalows. I am currently working on a 1930s Tudor revival renovation, a new modern bay-and-gable house, an addition/renovation of a turn-of-the-century Edwardian, and a modern midcentury ranch.

Congratulations to Maggie Anthony Design! See all the winners of the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards here: