Bespoke timber garden studio

In need of a space for her fledgling art career, Kim Somerville decided a light-filled garden room would be the perfect solution

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When professional artist Kim Somerville steps inside her bespoke garden room, she’s able to completely immerse herself in her painting and drawing.

Having already altered their family home in the Scottish town of Auchterarder – extending on both sides and adding two bedrooms – Kim and husband Ian felt a garden room was the perfect finishing touch. ‘The house was completely dilapidated when we first came to view it,’ recalls Kim. ‘We just loved the garden and how much character it had. Over the years, we’ve done a huge amount of work and now it’s exactly how we want it to be.’

The need for a garden room arose from Kim’s passion for art, which she nurtured when the family was living overseas for Ian’s work as an engineer. ‘Having a studio has been a lifelong dream of mine, and creating somewhere in the garden seemed like the ideal solution,’ she says. ‘Paint just gets everywhere, so I’ve never felt at ease working in the house.’

But the new garden room had a lot to live up to, thanks to the legacy of one of the property’s past owners. The house was built in 1917 by a local doctor and inherited by his daughter and her husband, a keen bird watcher, who added a summerhouse to the garden. Although Kim loved the location of the summerhouse and wanted to refurbish it, the building had fallen into a state of disrepair by the time they moved in.

Kim and Ian decided on a garden room measuring almost five metres by three metres, and then worked with Katie to customise the space. Due to the size and location of the garden room, work was able to proceed last April without the need for a formal planning application. In total, the build took four weeks, including the creation of a large, curved decked area to surround the room.

Fact file

The owners: Kim Somerville, an artist, and husband Ian, an engineer, live here with their Labrador, Amber. The couple’s two children are at university

The property: A five-bedroom detached home in Auchterarder, Scotland, self built in 1917. An existing summerhouse was added by previous owners

The project: Design, installation, decking, exterior and interior finishes cost £27,500


garden before with summerhouse

The old summerhouse was demolished and replaced with a Highlander garden room with triple-glazed aluminium windows, reclaimed slate tiles, cast-iron gutters, exterior LED lights and Siberian larch cladding, JML Garden Rooms

timber garden room studio exterior

Now it’s finished, the garden room’s bespoke features, such as built-in storage for Kim’s sketchbooks and canvases, are proving very useful, and in keeping with her wish for an inspiring space, the room has been left quite simple.

timber garden room studio interior light

The focal point of the room is Kim’s easel; for similar, try Lawrence Art Supplies. The old farmhouse desk was sourced from a house clearance company in Perth, while the couple bought the chair in Chicago. Walls painted in White Tie; built-in furniture painted in Pavilion Gray, both Farrow & Ball. Painting, Kim’s own. Garden furniture, B&Q

The contacts

  • The full feature appears in the April 2016 issue of Real Homes. For back issues, call 01527 834435. Subscribe today to take advantage of our money-saving subscription offers.