The New Vacation

We have all heard of the “Man Cave”. It is the place where a guy can hang out, hang beer signs, watch sports and eat bad food. This “cave” usually is found in the basement or garage of the man’s home. It has a “no trespassing” sign on the door and no one can come in who wants to clean it up, bring healthy fruits and vegetables and complain about the noise level of the television. But, in recent years, another type of get-away-from-it-all space has been developed and it is strictly for women. It is NOT for sewing or a library or even a kitchen. It is a space that a woman can be herself, decorate as goofy and colorful as she wants and do what she, write, knit, snooze. But, where this new space takes place is the interesting part of this phenomena. It is the backyard shed! She Sheds! These little buildings that normally hold things that can’t fit into the garage such as the lawnmower, the kids bikes and rakes and grass seed, have been converted to She Sheds with great success. Painted walls with curtains and rugs change the whole demeanor of the space. More and more women are opting for this tiny house to get away from the world. A She Shed is a Woman’s place to call all her own!

Women love to find their quiet time in their She Sheds with yoga, reading, writing, gardening or just to grab a few minutes of peace. So often, women will be working on that quiet time in the living room or the den and someone will walk in right in the middle of their reading or writing and they will lose their place or thought and have to rush off to take care of something else. When they return, their thought or place is long gone. A She Shed lets her close the door and say Do Not Disturb! But, their are a few requirements in making a She Shed usable. First,It needs electricity. You need lights and room for a laptop or computer or even a sewing machine. You will probably need to have internet service put in so that you can surf pinterest without interruption. Some ladies have added a small wood stove and air conditioning so that they can use it all year. They have hardwood floors, several windows and a screen door to make the Shed a mini home! And the decorating part is the most fun. Furniture packed away in storage or the basement becomes a part of the ambiance. Trinkets or not, bright colors or not, the Shed is the vacation in the backyard!

The trick to making the space usable is to keep the design simple. Is the original space of the shed (10’ x 10’ = 100 sq feet) enough for what you want to accomplish with the Shed? Or would 2 Sheds together be better? Do you want to buy a Shed directly off the lot of a local Lowes or do you build from scratch or renovate the one that is already there? Answering these questions will lead you to the cost so that you have a better idea of your budget.

Running water, electricity, heat and air are all things that need to be considered in designing the She Shed. A bathroom would be wonderful but is it in the budget? Make sure that there is money for the decorations, all those things that will make the place completely yours. Is it going to be simple and stark with a design that angles toward minimalist? Or is it going to be frilly and girly and lots of knick knacks and collectables? Shelves will need to be installed for books and tapes and supplies. Decorating a super small space is very different than decorating the large family living room. Color can dominate the space and the mood. You need to pick a color scheme that is calming and light.

She Sheds have been designed with a theme such as a Log Cabin, or a Fairy Castle or even a Hansel and Gretel cottage. Designs are diverse and can be a stand out in your backyard.  Adding flower beds and a front porch, shutters, a picket fence and window boxes creates a shed that is so much more and can add to the beauty of the main house.

Here are some tips for creating your own She Shed that I came across in researching my own!

If possible, order a prefabricated shed. Sometimes, converting the backyard sheds into a She Shed is easy, but if yours is a mess or you don’t have one, you can buy a kit from your local home repair store. starting around a couple thousand bucks.

Hiring a contractor makes everything so much easier. If you can afford it, a contractor can get everything done and quickly. If you want electric, water and even a bathroom, hiring a contractor just makes sense. It doesn’t have to be an all summer project.                                                    

All towns are different, but the first thing that you need to do is check to see if you need a building permit. Many of freestanding structures don’t need a permit, but some towns may have an ordinance that requires you to have a permit.           

You need to have a plan on what the function of this Shed is. When you have done that, then you can consider the size and amenities.       

The design is very important to consider. What style do you like?, What are your tastes? Do you like simple, traditional or contemporary? This decision will play heavily on the cost.

Whether your shed is brand new or a rehab of the current shed, you will want to paint it. You have to decide on colors. Colors can coordinate with the design, the nearby garden or the theme. Paint inside and out and make sure the colors are your favorites.

Furnishing the She Shed is the most fun and can be done on the cheap. Antique stores, thrift shops and flea markets are perfect shopping sprees to  furnish the She Shed on a budget.

Most of all...make it comfortable. Choose overstuffed furniture. Have pillows everywhere. Rugs, curtains and blankets will make the tiny little room extremely cozy.

And finally, the outside is just as important as the inside. Decorate the exterior with flowers, cobblestone pathways, flower filled window boxes, window shutters and lanterns. A She Shed is an extension of who the Woman is and it should be absolutely Beautiful!!!

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