Cathy Johnson’s Artist Shed/Mini-Office

Following is a guest post from Derek Diedricksen of Relaxshax blog.

Cathy (Kate) Johnson is one of the people who kindly emailed me some pictures of her own tiny house/shed/cabin/fort/shack creation- which I’ll include in my book through The Lyons Press- due out Fall 2011. We’re still accepting photo submissions, ideas, and general words of tiny house wisdom for this book which will be LOADED with tiny house designs!

We recently posted a few shedworking/tiny house photos and sketches from artist/tiny house author Cathy (Kate) Johnson on this very blog, and now having emailed back and forth with her many times, here’s a little more of what has transpired, informationally- as well as a couple more of her really cool sketches and watercolors….

Deek: Is the little outcropping a bathroom/toilet? (next to the bench in the sketch shown below)

Cathy: Nope, just enclosed storage since there isn’t much inside—we’ll keep deck chairs, a folding table, maybe a small BBQ and charcoal, etc. in there—right now there’s still a fair amount of construction stuff, tools, stain and such.  It’s in the yard next to our house, so I walk over here for the necessaries.  Getting plumbing and permits for a bathroom would have also upped the cost a LOT—we managed to keep it around $5000, even paying our friend Mark to do most of the heavy work.  He had recycled stuff and we had leftover plywood and boards from previous projects, so that helped too.

Deek: Permit wise, based on size, were you left alone? Or were you forced to jump through various, razor-wired hoops?

Cathy: Permit-wise, we thought the City wouldn’t have to be involved, since it’s under 120 square feet, but turns out any deck of ANY size has to have a permit.  Then they made us get an electrical permit, and a licensed electrician, and dig an 18” trench, so that all upped the cost, but still I’m pretty pleased with the budget.

Deek: It looks like a great little cozy place to get creative with your artwork…

Cathy: It is! I’m very happy to have the brand new light in there, it makes doing art MUCH easier.  I can use the laptop over there if I want, but I have no internet connection, it’s too distracting!

Deek: That’s right, no Ms. Pac Man for you! Now your out of print book “A Naturalist’s Cabin”- can we still find it anywhere?

Cathy: You’ll still find it online in a few places.  I have a few copies, as well, mostly bought on Amazon for people who want them.  (Check out her site- email her? ). I also have a new book on the way as well- this one’s on keeping an artists’ journal.  I’ve done something like 10-12 books for North Light over the years…

She has! Definitely a hard working, VERY talented woman. Be sure to check out many of her works online….you’re sure to come away from the experience inspired! I actually now have a desire to mess with watercolors, something I’ve never done, after having seen some of her books on the subject…

shed office

Join Our eMail List and download the Tiny House Directory

Simply enter your name and email below to learn more about tiny houses and stay up to date with the movement.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Tim - October 22, 2010 Reply

I remember seeing this on a different site not to long ago, they had tons of pictures inside and out, I love this little place, they did a fantastic job on this!

Mary - October 22, 2010 Reply

Have any of you ever read the children’s book, “Andrew Henry’s Meadow” by, I think, Doris Burns? That is what this tiny house reminds me of. Wonderful!

Deek - October 22, 2010 Reply

I actually did a blog post on “Andrew Henry’s Meadow” only about 2 months ago after a reader had recommended it to me (and after I found it used online). Story itself is little longwinded for a children’s book, but the drawings are AMAZING! Lotsa character!

I’ve done some voice-over/books on tape work before, and actually was contemplating reading the book for film- a hd version on youtube- so EVERYONE could check it out (kids and adults alike)- but I’m a little fearful I might get sued by whatever book co. recently re-picked/started reprinting this once-extinct book.


Kent- thanks for letting me guest again too!

Cathy Johnson (Kate) - October 22, 2010 Reply

Tim, Mary, thank you very much! (And thanks Deek and Kent, too. I’m in great company!) We’ve been working on it since June, and will probably continue sharing bits and pieces for some time to come.

You may have seen the blog here: or our Flickr set, here: We just keep tweaking it–hope to solve the floor insulation problem before snow flies! We still need to see if our heating solution works, and get storm windows made…

Benjamin - October 23, 2010 Reply

Very nice and cozy looking! Why so many doors?

Are you happy with the low windows on the west side? I have a few low windows in my home and they kind of annoy me because their tops are below eye level and they very much limit the view.

Cathy Johnson (Kate) - October 23, 2010 Reply

Benjamin, the low window is a goof on my part. It couldn’t have been MUCH higher, because of the broad eaves, but I should have marked where to put it from the inside, not standing on the ground outside. When I’m seated at the desk it’s fine, though, and that’s what I wanted.

So many doors just because as an artist I wanted lots of light and lots of views. We had the small vintage door already, from a rehab project, and I’d always loved French doors. My builder buddy had picked those up at a garage sale nearby, so they were VERY inexpensive and give me a great view of the woods. It IS cozy, and I’m very happy with it, with a few design flaws thrown in to keep me humble!

Leave a Reply: