chadbourne + doss architects

Working from their 1910 Craftsman home suited Daren Doss, AIA, and Lisa Chadbourne just fine—until their daughter was born. With space at a premium, the husband-and-wife architects turned to the outbuilding typology they'd always admired. “We wanted to bring a traditionally agrarian idea into an urban setting,” Doss explains.

Local zoning codes forced creative work-arounds, resulting in a decidedly modern structure that can function as a garage, a studio, and eventually, perhaps, a residence. It's a bold experiment in unconventional materials, clever detailing, translucency, and openness, to be sure. Three sides open via 8-foot-square double Dutch doors acquired from a Kentucky door supplier that specializes in horse stables. “You can actually drive through the building,” Chadbourne says of the garage space, which is used for meetings and parties. A bookshelf-lined polycarbonate wall on the house-facing north elevation draws in additional light without sacrificing privacy. And a “bay window” three-quarter bath “literally hangs off the cantilevered floor joist above,” Doss says, “satisfying zoning requirements for projecting into the setback.” The architects' one-room studio—complete with custom desks and skylight—occupies the second floor.

Finger-jointed cedar—stained to pick up the orange hues of a neighboring brick-enclosed substation—wraps the façade, along with steel plate siding that morphs into a fence. Asphalt plank flooring upstairs and a green roof deck around the building's midsection add textural and visual interest.