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Swedish-inspired backyard cottage works as secluded oasis home

Su Pang loves travel and traditional Swedish cottages. In 2013, she had a little-used 5000-square-foot backyard subject to relaxed building codes, so she began designing a Scandinavian-inspired cottage that would give her the freedom to live mortgage-free.

Working around decades-old redwood and walnut trees, Su and her architect built an L-shaped 500-square-foot home (700-sq-ft, including the loft) that feels like a leafy, quiet oasis in the middle of urban Oakland.

Despite having to swap the customary wood for red corrugated metal siding, the home pays homage to the Swedish originals and everything has been touched by Su’s design aesthetic. Plywood walls and floors kept the costs down. The shower was lined with leftover siding which with its skylight covered with walnut branches gives it an indoor/outdoor feel. Su recycled an old bathtub to create an outdoor bathing experience on the back deck.