Aug 19, 2014
08:27 AM
Style & Shopping

Bridgeport Family’s Garden Retreat a Labor of Love and Recycling

Bridgeport Family’s Garden Retreat a Labor of Love and Recycling

Annette Erzen's garden retreat in Bridgeport.

While flipping through a copy of Better Homes and Gardens, Bridgeport resident Annette Erzen stumbled upon a little piece of inspiration. An image of a refurbished “garden retreat” got her thinking about the potential in her own small, suburban back yard.

“She loves her garden and she wanted a retreat, somewhere to relax outdoors,” says Erzen’s son, Stephen.

The hut in the magazine's picture was made out of reclaimed materials. Erzen thought she and her son could replicate the structure in their own way. He agreed to build it for her, though it would be the largest project he had tackled on his own, as he is not a carpenter by trade. 

It was up to Erzen to collect windows and doors for the walls of her retreat–the first set of windows were purchased off of Craigslist. Many others came from friends, family and neighbors. The doors, which open the front and right side of the building, were purchased from Habitat for Humanity.

“We wanted to keep it recycled,” says Erzen (pictured above with her son), who painted all of the pieces a deep grey-brown color to create some continuity.

Stephen Erzen says the project was harder than he expected it to be. Since the gazebo-like structure was to be made completely out of windows and doors, “the framing had to be strong enough to hold and protect [the windows].”

Over the course of three months, he worked on the retreat about three days a week from April through July. In the end, he was able to create something truly memorable and unique for his mother and grandmother, Ida Massimino, who has enjoyed her morning coffee al fresco since the building was finished.

The small structure is located in the left corner of her property, on a previously under-utilized patch of grass. The floor is a checkerboard pattern of white rocks and red pavers. Light enters every side of the building through the 34 windows that comprise the walls. The ceiling, made of PVC, keeps the interior cool without making it dark.

Adorned by a table for two, a hammock swing, a sideboard and a variety of blooming flowers, the retreat is truly that–a retreat–offering a variety of options for relaxing and enjoying summer days. The front doors open to a fire pit and swing, allowing for “indoor/outdoor” living. The door to the right opens to Erzen’s garden. A hand-painted image of a hummingbird, done in a stainglass-style by Erzen's daughter-in-law, Marie, finishes the retreat. 

“We love it,” says Erzen. “It’s everything and more.”

As long as the weather holds, she plans to use her garden retreat through the fall—think warm cups of coffee in the crisp autumn afternoons.

All in all, Erzen spent about $1,000 on her garden retreat, and it was worth every penny. 

Contact me by email at khartman@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and on Google +

 

Bridgeport Family’s Garden Retreat a Labor of Love and Recycling

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