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Writer builds backyard mountain cottage as personal space

As top cities become pricey and competitive, smaller yet vibrant cities attract those in search of more than work. Crissie McMullan decided to raise her family in Missoula. There she keeps a backyard cabin as work refuge.

Crissie McMullan and her husband Jeremy Smith wanted more space for their Missoula home. The couple lives with their daughter and college-student niece and often have out-of-town guests. Plus, Smith works from home and McMullan was planning to take a year off work to write a novel.

To make extra room for guests and a writing retreat, they hired designer Charles Finn to craft them a cabin out of recycled and reclaimed materials.

McMullan spent a year writing from home, but today works full-time as director of a center for young mothers. The backyard cabin now serves as her refuge for early morning and weekend writing sessions, when it’s not being used as a guest unit.

“It’s just great to have this space to come home to… I think most of us are really rushed in our external world. There’s always something else that needs to be done. I am really happy that the power cord extends out here but our Internet doesn’t so I can’t check my email, I can’t get online so I’m really cut-off. I don’t bring my phone out here so when I’m out here, when I’m here I’m here.”