Page 30 - The Hunt Magazine - Winter 2019
P. 30

                Garden Shed
  Reimagined Small new worlds of delight
     By Carla Westerman
  he artistic eye helps us to see everyday things in a new
way—and that’s just what Alison Carabasi has done with storage sheds for the backyard. “I call them garden houses
because I don’t think of them as sheds,” she says.
But the houses Carabasi designs for her company, Hillbrook Collections, are not just for potting flowers and storing garden
tools. She’s designed a hunting lodge, a home office, artists’ studios, a poet’s retreat, children’s playhouses, a chicken coop and even an outhouse. “What makes them unique is that no two are alike,” says the Chester County, Pa., resident.
Whatever the purpose, these small gems add a delightful element of interest to a residential landscape, with the exterior design often reflecting the architecture of the owner’s home. Among the typical client requests: shutter style, roof materials, paint colors and a matching front door design. Carabasi’s forte is creating distinctive features like cupolas with copper finials, window boxes, door lanterns, or specially designed hardware. She recently created a children’s playhouse with Dutch doors, flower
boxes and a bunny finial atop the cedar shake roof. “I look all the time for inspiration,” says Carabasi. “I’ll see a finial on a post in France and tweak it for a client.”
An accomplished artist, Carabasi sketches her design ideas
by hand. The walls of her 18th-century farmhouse are covered with artwork of every genre. But her garden retreats aren’t just pretty—they’re practical, too. The interiors are custom finished with features like workbenches, closets and lofts. Almost all have electricity and insulation.
Carabasi grew up near Lancaster in a family with a lively interest in art, antiques and architecture. She credits her mother with the idea for the business. “Her clients were mostly garden- ers, and there was no other place to get a pretty shed,” she says.
The family lived in an 18th-century brick farmhouse in
a rural area. When the barn was destroyed by fire in the early 1980s, they had it rebuilt by neighboring Amish workers.
The project led to a friendship and future collaborations with that community. continued on page 75

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