Before and after: look inside stunning garden studio transformation – complete with dream kitchen

Rundown summer house to luxurious garden studio with multi-purpose areas for work, rest and play

This impressive garden studio transformation is the hard work of Lorna O'Reilly. As an interior designer and decorator with a passion for decor Lorna was only too happy to take on the DIY project.

'Nearly two years ago I moved back to live with my father. With a house full of bits and pieces I soon realised that I needed more space – especially for my work materials & samples.'

Lorna is currently busy designing and working on a complete house refurb in Buckinghamshire.

'To rent a studio in Buckinghamshire would be expensive, so I decided to build a multi-purpose studio in the garden.'

More: Before and after: enjoy this gorgeous garden makeover with fab she shed!

The garden studio before and after...

garden studio makeover split

(Image credit: Lorna O'Reilly)

‘The house and garden is full of charm and character’ including a few sheds, but not quite right for what Lorna had in mind.

She explains, ‘An old summer house, aka the fairy house adorned with whimsical memorabilia collected by my late mum, was in need of replacing. It was in a perfect spot to build my new study studio. With respect for my mum I knew I had to design and build something that would blend well into its environment.'

'We began by dismantling the old summer house. Luckily it already had power to it, so one less job.'

old summer house makeover

(Image credit: Lorna O'Reilly)

'I installed wood effect UPVC black windows to help insulate the studio and prevent maintenance costs down the years.'

'The stable door is another element paying homage to the country living theme - perfect in the summer for keeping the top half of the door open and bottom closed.'

From this project Lorna wanted to create a space where she could work on designs, and keep all her samples. More than just a working studio she also wanted to create a multi-purpose space to relax in her own environment, and if possible provide a spare room for guests to stay.

Gorgeous garden studio

makeover of old summer house to garden studio

(Image credit: Lorna O'Reilly)

'The foundations went down, with the sides constructed with brick and stud work. All the terracotta tiles and bricks are reclaimed from  old summerhouse projects from over the years. Its important to save where you can.' Lorna adds thoughtfully.

The new garden studio is fully insulated and powered by a little heater with a timer. 'Once the sides were constructed my dad and I cladded the outside with shiplap wood. It's cost affective and follows the traditional country style look I wanted to reflect.'

Speaking of the attractive colour combination Lorna says, 'Its painted in Little Greene 'Lamp Black – I wanted a hint of navy so it wasn’t too harsh to the eye. I love green plants against this colour so I knew it would look fab!'

The beautifully contrasting door is painting in Farrow & Ball 'Sulking Room Pink.'

Buy now: Farrow & Ball Sulking Room Pink Exterior Eggshell, £29 for 0.75L, Designer Paint

Snug living area

makeover of old summer house into garden studio

(Image credit: Lorna O'Reilly)

'Inside storage is key for me. I planned the interior so that all my crafting materials and machines, samples etc could be hidden away. Meaning Lorna can still enjoy the space as a separate room to the main house. 'Where I can go out and chill when I’m not working' she explains.

'I wanted to create a feature, something quirky when you walk through the door – that you wouldn’t expect from the outside.' Hence the faux fireplace. 'It makes the space feel more homely and perfect at Christmas time for a garland! Theres even a socket hidden under the mantle for fairy lights!!'

'The oak beams I reclaimed from a family member. They had been left outdoors, so I sanded them back, added a fews dents etc and lime-washed them to tone them down. Keeping with the aged look.'

Contemporary kitchen

kitchen with storage shelf white tiles and furniture

(Image credit: Lorna O'Reilly)

With a white kitchen more sleek than most houses, Lorna has achieved great things with the space.

The cupboards are from Howdens, 'I sanded them down and painted the internals too and added mirror to create an allusion of more space. They are painted in Farrow & Ball 'Wimborne white', internals in the same Little Greene Lamp Black.'

'Worktops are leftover quartz worktop that I had cut- perfect for crafting and keeping the space look clean and fresh. The crackled glass white tiles are from a Fired Earth sale, with a darker grout to emphasise them. The on-trend gold tap is from Bespoke Taps.

Smart studio home office

home office area in garden studio

(Image credit: Lorna O'Reilly)

'I separated my desk area to the rest of the studio by building a partition wall and making use of an old stainless window –sourced from from eBay, to still allow light to come through.'

'Above My desk area, I was able to fit a little mezzanine for extra storage & room for a inflatable bed when guests stay.' This you can just see from the top right corner of the kitchen shot above.

The whole interior is painted in the Wimborne White. 'I wanted a fresh, calm, simple clean look. I love black and white shades accompanied with hues of greens, especially green foliage so I was aiming for a very natural, organic finish. To bring the outside indoors a little.' Lorna explains.

old summer house makeover into garden studio

(Image credit: Lorna O'Reilly)

Here's Filey looking adorable on the doorstep - Lorna's little welsh terrier/sidekick in the studio.

You can certainly tell Lorna has an eye for design! As she explains, 'The exterior planters are old troughs from a stable block - I drilled holes in them so they could drain water away after being turned into window boxes.' Ingenious.

'Overall it probably cost approx £6000-£6500, this is including all fixtures and fittings etc' she concludes.

Further ideas: Garden shed ideas – projects and designs for your own special outdoor room

Are you undertaking a garden project? We'd love to hear from you.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.