A Backyard Studio in Oakland

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge
One of my favorite things about California bungalows are the little detached garages that you often find in the backyards of these homes. I’ve long thought that if I had a setup like that, I’d turn that garage into the ultimate workspace. I’m not alone in this vision, because when Alison Yin and Adm Golub bought their 1927 bungalow in Oakland’s Rose Garden neighborhood, their very first project was turning their own detached garage into the perfect workspace. After years of running their wedding photography business out of apartments and coffee shops, having a separate workspace that’s just steps from their house was a true luxury. Creating the perfect studio was a challenge due to how long and narrow the garage was, and the couple needed to find a way to create space for client meetings, equipment storage and two work stations. They wanted it to feel bright and cheery without being overwhelmed by computers. Now it’s the ideal spot to meet clients and edit photos while watching Kiki play in the backyard. -Amy

Photography by Alison Yin Weddings and styled by Leila Nichols

Image above: “We love that our studio has its own entrance, totally separate from the house, plus it’s Alison’s sunny morning coffee spot.”

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge
Image above: “We love how bright and cheery our studio feels and the glass table, where we meet with clients, keeps the space feeling open and airy.
Studio Tour - Design*Sponge
Image above: “Who can resist that face? Kiki, our rescue Shiba Inu, loves to come to the windows and visit. It’s adorable!”

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge
Image above: “Our color scheme for the office was white with pops of bright color. I asked Adm to make me a cute shelf, and this is what he did.”

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge
Image above: “Our custom walnut desk by Jared Rusten is by far our favorite piece in the office. Jared is an incredible woodworker, and he used a beautiful piece of salvaged walnut to make our desk. The desk fits the small space perfectly while still being large enough to fit two workstations, one of which had to be standing since Adm has a bad back. Jared managed to bring the outdoors inside just the way we wanted.”

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge
Image above: “This is my (Alison’s) desk corner. Part of our plan to bring the outside in was to include lots of plants. My favorite is the fish throwing up the air plant (a memento from a vacation in Mexico).”

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge
Image above: “We don’t believe in drinking at work. Just kidding.”

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge
Image above: “These succulents are a great centerpiece for the table – especially since they’ve lasted way longer than any flower arrangement we’ve ever had.”

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge
Image above: “I knew I wanted that bird wallpaper by Julia Rothman the moment I set eyes on it. It’s such a fun surprise for clients when they open the door.”

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge

Studio Tour - Design*Sponge

Alison and Adm Office
Image above: “Here we are, obviously hard at work.”

Glass meeting table: CB2
Wooden walnut desk and standing station: custom designed, built and installed by Jared Rusten
Office cabinets: Ikea
Bathroom sink, faucet and cabinet: Ikea
Bathroom wallpaper: Julia Rothman for Hygge and West
Orange side table: One Kings Lane
Upholstered desk chairs: West Elm
Meeting chairs: Overstock.com
Chair pillows: CB2
Most of the plants: East Bay Nursery
Doormat: Flowerland Nursery
Copper boxes holding succulents: Lawson Fenning
Bathroom light fixture: West Elm
Bathroom rug: Anthropologie
Fox Print: Sharon Montrose
Stools by Charlie Bengs
Shades from the Shade Store
Leaf print by Inaluxe
Adm’s diamond shelf was inspired by Chiaozza in Brooklyn

  1. Love it! And that little seating area outside the door is just beautiful!

  2. Nina says:

    Fantastic little work house! My husband and I have been wanting to build a little house in the backyard for him to write. This will be great inspiration! I imagine it must be pretty great having a separate space so you feel like you’re leaving work and going home. The walnut desk is so beautiful. Great space!

  3. maggie says:

    I love the idea of a little work house!! It’s not in my budget at the moment, but a girl can dream. This is lovely.

  4. Adm Golub says:

    Thank you so much for the lovely feature! It is awesome sharing our studio with the world. And working with Amy was a dream.

  5. Rebecca M says:

    I love this studio space!

  6. Wonky Heidi says:

    I love how the second person on the desk only gets a wooden frame and no computer!! And the swallows on the loo wall. Reminds me of the book “Swallows and amazons”.

  7. Brandon says:

    @Wonky Heidi That’s a standing desk with a wall-mounted computer :)

    Love, love love this space!! Great job making a relatively small space feel so spacious and open!

  8. Tiffany says:

    Love the studio! And love the fact that they’re a fellow Shiba owner too!

  9. Love all the natural sunlight and walnut desk top, so inspiring for my studio someday!

  10. Julie says:

    This space is SO beautiful! Absolutely love the cozy desk corner with the giant windows.

  11. Vania Pinto says:

    Do they welcome guests???

  12. Alyssa says:

    Currently day-dreaming in envy of their outrageous window space! They’ve complimented it to a T with all the lovely quirks of the space:)

  13. What a shock to see this post!!!! I’m the contractor who originally built this space for the previous owner. It used to be a garage and she had us turn it into her yoga studio. Gosh this brings back memories. I have more photos plus the architectural drawings of what this space used to look like, especially right after we finished the remodel. Here’s a link: http://thefashionteacher.com/maximoconstruction/?p=75

  14. shavonda says:

    love this space. So bright and calming. Another perfect example of why I love California cottages and bungalows.

  15. Monnaie says:

    Beautiful interior designing and interior furnishing!

  16. Clarissa says:

    I just want to say that the dog looks like a fox in the last picture.

  17. PanKogut says:

    That’s amazing! :)

  18. Shauna says:

    This space is just lovely… my favourite thing about it has to be gorgeous Kiki!

  19. wow, it’s absolutely gorgeous! I have bathroom envy :-)

  20. Merysa says:

    Great inspiration for a work space. Beautiful, soulful dog. : )

  21. Backyard studios are my favorite! I absolutely love the wood elements and plant collections that bring the outdoors in. And that wallpaper in the bathroom…swoon!

  22. Hazel says:

    The door is fantastic! Where is it from?

  23. lisa davis says:

    A wonderful place!


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