she sheds

Photo: Mikael Broms

She shed. Hen hut. Lady lair.

Call it what you want, the newest iteration of a woman’s private space is looking more and more like a small-but-splendid room built in the backyard. She sheds are mushrooming on properties near and far in a wonderful array of sizes, styles, and uses. From Australia to Alaska, Texas to Ukraine, women are staking claim to a completely personal space to call their own.

The beauty of a she shed is its small footprint, making it easy to fit onto your property and still afford a unique getaway for your creative pursuits—gardening, meditating, reading, painting, or simply hearing yourself think. Most she sheds are built with simplicity at the forefront. They are often not insulated but stocked instead with cozy quilts and pillows. Light is supplied by the sun or maybe by a few battery-operated lights. The idea is to be free of responsibility, using the space to unwind and to do exactly what you want.
she shed for gardening

Photo: Mary McCachern

For the Green Thumb
For years, Mary McCachern was mentally drawing up plans for a she shed to end all she sheds. Finally, on a milestone birthday, she had her wish. On the property of their lakeside home on Lake Norman, North Carolina, McCachern’s gabled custom shed sprang to life. Generously sized at 10 feet by 16 feet, the shed was modeled after a little shingled cottage with green trim that McCachern spied on a magazine cover.

From top to bottom, McCachern's classic shed is ornamented with antique tools, gardening pieces, signs, and wooden elements of the past.
she shed for crafting

Photo: Kim Snyder/

For the Pinterest Feign

Jenny Karp is a mixed-media artist in California who also sells organic paint online. The busy wife, mother, and business owner yearned for a place where she could create art and shoot video tutorials. The answer was a shed designed by Dana O’Brien of A Place to Grow/Recycled Greenhouses.

Builder's Notes
• For shed foundations, a flat surface is ideal (and easiest). Karp laid down unmortared bricks, which are sturdy and also drain water through the openings.
• Keep your shed watertight. Pay careful attention to cracks and openings; caulk everything thoroughly. Doors, windows, and roofs must be built with proper sealing, such as weatherstripping and flashing. If possible, let your nearly finished shed go through a rainstorm or two to see what needs fixing.
• Greenhouses often have semi-transparent roofs made with polycarbonate panels. These corrugated panels allow light in and keep the rain out. This could be a good option for illuminating your own she shed.
she shed for a guest room

Photo: Sarah Greenman

For the Social Butterfly

Perched on the edge of a canyon, Dinah Lundbeck's pine-clad she shed is part guest bedroom, part family gallery. The French doors open fully for an indoor/outdoor experience. Sheers can be pulled down to help screen out insects.
meditation she shed

Photo: Sarah Greenman

For the "Om" Enthusiast

During a trip to Bali, Tymmera Whitnah was captivated by the way many of the houses were elevated on poles. She had a vision of creating her own “spirit house” back home in rural Oregon using the same techniques. It would take many months of patience, lots of helping hands, and a little bit of right-brained ingenuity, but after two years, Whitnah’s shed of windows became a reality.

Whitnah uses the spirit house most often for meditation, but during the small parties she often hosts in her backyard, it is a lure for guests to climb up and view the festivities from above.
she shed for reading

Photo: Jeff Doubet

For the Avid Reader

When she spends time in her shed, Lori Doubet can hear the wind in the trees. It's the place where she looks forward to taking a break after long hours spent in her two large vegetable gardens. "I'll read, hang out, or mainly just rest," Doubet says.

Doubet;s she shed was built using an off-the-shelf tool shed kit. Custom touches include wood siding, extra windows, a painted wood door, and a cupola/weathervane.
she shed for work

Photo: Dominic Bonuccelli

For the Workaholic

There are many alternative terms for a she shed and here’s another one to add: Alternative Dwelling Unit, or ADU. This is a planner's term for a fully livable (and professionally designed) second unit that is part of a larger owned property. Sheila Meehan's 10×12-foot shed was the answer to a dilemma she faced as the owner of an historic home with no room for her work as a licensing agent for artists. "There were two deciding factors that made us choose a shed," Meehan says. "The cost was affordable without having to refinance our home, and the speed to a finished product was impressive."

Made entirely with modern and eco-friendly materials, Meehan's shed nevertheless reflects the spirit of her ninety-year-old home. It fits snugly within her small backyard and allows her the quiet and privacy she needs to run her business.
she shed backyard getaway

Photo: Ann Possis

For the Great Outdoors Lover

Ann Possis’s rustic she shed was fashioned from an old tool shed. A local carpenter jacked it up and built a new foundation on piers; Possis reused as much of the old materials as she could. The result is a shed that feels at one with its surroundings.
she shed for entertaining

Photo: Kim Snyder/

For the Entertainer

Dog-ear fence boards nailed upside down create a whimsical scalloped pattern across the front gable of this she shed. Note the overhang of the roof extends out far enough to create a shelter over the front porch.

Excerpted from She Sheds: A Room of Your Own by Erika Kotite. Copyright © 2017 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. Text Copyright © Erika Kotite. Reprinted by permission of Cool Springs Press, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

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