Your Home

Building a custom home away from home, right outside

Lauren Andersen/Special to the Town Crier
Celeste Randolph’s backyard studio houses her design business.

As my design business grew, it was becoming difficult to continue working efficiently from my garage and spare bedroom.

On a morning walk with a friend years ago, she mentioned her thrill about ordering a prefabricated office structure for her husband, who was working from home. I was as excited as she was to see the completion of her project. The call soon came and I rushed over to see it. It was a highly efficient and welcoming structure that complemented her home, set among large trees with ample natural light. Best of all, it was a simple commute for her husband, just a walk across the back lawn, shoes optional.

I was smitten. I was determined to build my own dream studio, a cozy space away from home, but not very far away.

I spent time online looking at prefab structures, but there was nothing that sparked my interest. Ultimately, I contacted my residential designer to tell him I needed an accessory structure built that looked like a mini version of our home. Chris Anderson of Design Discoveries delivered the perfect plans, keeping the structure under 300 square feet, including a bathroom with shower, a kitchen and a pair of French sliding doors for maximum light. We submitted the plans to the city for approval. The approval process was seamless.

When designing the interiors, we selected radiant floors to keep the home warm during the chilly winter months and a cool translucent fan hanging from vaulted ceilings to cool the space in warm weather. Outside the bathroom, we created a space that could be used as a kitchen, where we installed a deep stainless sink, a mirrored medicine cabinet for extra storage, an under-counter refrigerator/freezer and a dishwasher drawer hidden in an espresso rift cut oak cabinet topped with sparkling white counters. The walls, like the bathroom it sits adjacent to, are covered in statuary marble tiles floor to ceiling.

Our finishes mimicked our home. We selected large-scale concrete-looking porcelain tiles throughout, and covered the walls of the office with a gray grasscloth wallcovering. We hung oatmeal linen drapes with crimson pompom trim and sourced a pair of distressed metal red bookcases to house our fabric books.

To complete the look, I found a vintage over-dyed Turkish rug in gray that sits under a small round table flanked with Chippendale chairs painted black from the ’70s and hung a series of drypoint etchings from my favorite artist in the space.

The studio has become such a fun place for my associates and clients to gather while creating unique spaces.

For more information on accessory dwelling units in Los Altos, visit

Celeste Randolph is an interior designer in Los Altos. Celeste Randolph Designs was recently named a finalist in the San Francisco Design Center’s Designers of Distinction, Designer to Watch. For more information, visit

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