The studio of her dreams

VASHON ISLAND — After retiring from a world of crunching numbers for more than 30 years, Virginia decided to devote more of her life to color.

Ever the artist, Virginia has always occupied her hands with some craft — sculpting, knitting, needlepoint and weaving have all been passions of hers at one point or another.

But it wasn’t until she retired from a career in accounting (she’s worked in the oil and telecom industries, and most recently worked for the literary nonprofit Seattle Arts & Lectures) that she decided to get serious about her art.

The only problem was, she didn’t really have the space in her Vashon Island home to get that serious.

“I started taking classes seriously two years ago, but I wasn’t doing that much at home,” she said. “I would work in just a corner of  the house, in some room, whatever room I was trying to move around in. I didn’t have the space for my art and it wasn’t private enough.”

Enter Modern-Shed.

Virginia and her husband thought about adding onto their home, but knew that after zoning and permitting, they’d be lucky to see a new studio within the year.

Virginia remembered seeing an article about Modern-Shed in a magazine, and then encountered the sheds again last year at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle.

“The design was very modern,” Virginia said. “Whenever you saw other sheds, they were very garden-y, very run-of-the-mill. I fell in love, totally, with the design.”

The instant gratification of having the shed right away appealed to Virginia enormously.

“Once we put in the order, it came within three days and took four days at most to install,” she said. “All we had to do was have the electrician hook up the inside lighting. I moved my stuff in instantly.”

The 10’ by 20’ shed is also very energy-efficient, which also attracted Virginia to the model.

“It was a good solution price-wise and design-wise,” she said. “It was a total aesthetic (decision) for me. If I outgrow it, I might just have to put a second shed in.”

But most importantly, the shed has afforded Virginia the time and space to get in tune with what really matters to her.

She now takes classes at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, as well as private lessons in West Seattle to focus on her favorite medium, oil-painting.

“It was all about just having my own space. Everybody has to have their own space,” she said. “This shed has given me privacy. I love this studio. I just thought I’ve got one chance at this, so I might as well do it. Life’s too short.”

-Arla Shephard


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