They say it can be hard to mix business and friendship, but not in the case of this Dallas design project, featured in designer Cathy Kincaid's new book, out this fall. Kincaid had been friends with the owner for years before taking on a refresh of the French country-style house, a project that resulted in the addition of one exceptionally chic "She Shed," which packs a slew of global references into a single, understated space.
"She loves the process, loves interiors, and she really trusts me," says the Kincaid of her client. As such, work on the home was more collaborative than many projects, and nowhere more so than in the addition of the deeply personal extra space.
"It was her idea," Kincaid says of the outbuilding she devised on the client's property. After seeing the show Tiny House Nation, the client—and artist—decided she wanted something similar.
"She said, 'I want to put it behind my house and I want to be able to just go there and paint and have coffee with my friends, and have it just be my space,'" Kincaid recalls. So, she enlisted architect Jay Smith, who had worked on the main house, and got the ball rolling.
This was all before either Kincaid or her client had even heard the term "She Shed," a realization that came along fortuitously in the middle of the project. " I came to Aspen a couple years ago for the Ideas Festival at the Institute and lo and behold, they had a She Shed on display," Kincaid recalls. "So I texted [the client] and said 'OMG, you have a She Shed! Now we know what it is.'"
That said, Kincaid's version of a She Shed—as may be expected from an esteemed designer—is a far cry from a garden shed rigged up with a few fairy lights. Kincaid, Smith, and the client approached the miniature space with all the same attention as any home of larger size.
"It’s right off of her swimming pool and so we chose colors that were just kind of fresh and clean," Kincaid says of the blue-and-white palette. "Also to paint, you don’t want a lot of stimulation around you, you want to be able to concentrate," she points out. Wicker furniture from Soane carry the pool vibe indoors, while simple ticking stripe upholstery and shiplap walls keep it from feeling overly fussy.
The room's main focal point is a vintage Moroccan screen, which Kincaid painted white and hung on the wall. Stylist Charles Birdsong suggested the addition of blue-and-white Chinese export porcelain from the owner's collection, which makes for a a uniquely textural wall.
The Moroccan theme carries over on a table Kincaid found at Michelle Nussbaumer's Ceylon et Cie (and also painted white), whose shape echoes the Abrash carpet, a riff on a vintage Swedish dhurrie.
Now complete, the tiny house is a favorite spot for the owner—and no wonder. "It doesn’t have to relate to anything in the house, so it becomes your little fantasy," Kincaid muses of the concept. "It’s almost like a folly."
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