Next-Level Backyard Office: ‘Butterfly Studio’ is Like a Giant Lawn Ornament

Inspired by the shape of a butterfly when it closes its wings, Valerie Schweitzer Architects’ ‘Butterfly Studio’ is a sculptural detached office full of cleverly placed windows that target views toward the yard rather than the main house for a sense of privacy and seclusion. Set in the backyard of a home in Westport, Connecticut, the design recently won an American Architecture Prize in the small architecture category.

Tiny houses of all kinds are practically ubiquitous at this point, so it’s kind of hard to stand out among them in terms of aesthetic choices. But ‘Butterfly House’ ditches convention altogether with its jagged floor plan and a sense of solidity balanced by lots and lots of glass.

The structure’s angled panels are alternately clad in recycled teak and stucco; narrow windows frame picturesque views of the landscaping and aid in cross-ventilation, bringing in breezes from the nearby Long Island Sound.

The coolest part is the faceted glass roof made of steel and thermally insulated glass, which floods the interior with enough daylight for the artist homeowner to work from sunrise to sunset without turning a light on. The 350-square-foot studio also boasts concrete floors with radiant heating to accommodate a wheeled chair, and has its own half-bath.