House Beautiful WeShed with Marvin Elevate Sliding Patio Door in Ebony, Essential Casement Windows, and Skycove
15 April 2021

WeShed: An Inspiring Backyard Retreat

The rise of accessory dwelling units, like this WeShed, inspires homeowners to think outside the box when it comes to creating cozy retreats.

We all need an occasional retreat from the daily grind. Why not make one that’s as convenient an escape as possible? “The WeShed” is the ultimate inspiration for your backyard getaway. This 440-square-foot ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) was built as part of House Beautiful’s 2020 Whole Home Concept House in Franktown, Colorado, about 30 miles south of Denver. While tiny houses may have dominated news feeds in recent history, the newest trend is the ADU, like this one—a self-contained dwelling unit on the same property as the main house. ADUs such as The WeShed feature a separate entrance, kitchen, and bath.

Inspired by the needs of busy parents, husband-and-wife team Brett and Kara Phillips of High Street Homes dreamt up The WeShed—part indoor hangout space and part covered patio. The cozy retreat was designed to serve as a date-night getaway—though every family member would undoubtedly want to use it. And certainly, an ADU can serve multiple purposes, from home office to transitional housing for grown children. Above all, The WeShed was built as an homage to relaxation and retreat.

Inside The WeShed is a tasteful sitting room with unique furnishings, original artwork, and the presence of greenery to bring in biophilic elements. After you’ve taken in the overall beauty of the space, you can’t help but notice the absolute abundance of natural light. The placement of new and innovative windows was paramount to the design, intended to boost overall mood and influence positivity when enjoying this backyard retreat.

The Skycove was a natural fit for The WeShed. Its glass structure projects out into the open air and offers gorgeous panoramic views of the surrounding Colorado landscape from multiple angles. It’s the perfect spot to unplug and recharge. Get comfortable in the Skycove with a hot mug of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening.

Directly across from the Skycove is a kitchenette for refreshments to unwind after a long day. Overhead, more light cascades into The WeShed from the Awaken Skylight. Awaken is a design-forward smart skylight, offering tunable lighting that mimics the ideal color temperature of natural light to provide the right light at the right time. Operable from a wall switch, app, or smart devices like Alexa, Google Assistant, and SmartThings, it’s easy to adjust the lighting inside The WeShed to suit your preferences at any time of day or night.

Part of the beauty of this ADU is that every square foot is efficient. The Skycove, for example, functions as both a versatile window and light source as well as additional seating. And the abundance of windows, from the Awaken Skylight to the Elevate Sliding Patio Door, creatively break down barriers between indoors and out. The flood of natural light allowed for painting the walls a rich, dark color, without risk of making the space feel smaller.

A compact-yet-stylish bathroom elevated with vintage tile, a modern light fixture, and basin sink completes the space. The plumbing in The WeShed is maximized with the bathroom and kitchenette, making the ADU a perfectly cozy and independent dwelling.

When the weather is nice, The WeShed’s patio calls. With the Elevate Sliding Patio Door, the transition between indoor and outdoor relaxation space is seamless. Simply slide open The WeShed’s scenic door, and your ADU living space doubles. With a retreat this beautiful and functional, you might never want to leave.

Watch this short video from House Beautiful to learn about the design choices behind The WeShed.


Photography by Emily Minton Redfield