I’ve avoided talking about “she sheds” for quite some time now, mainly because of the name “she shed”—it’s the kind of icky gendered term (see also: man cave) that sticks in my craw. Plus, not many of us have the space, or backyard, or money for one of these structures, so it’s one of those rarified trends that doesn’t touch upon many people’s lives: the very urban definition of extra. That said, there’s something about these buildings that draws me in, and I don’t think I’m alone. Let’s unpack the backyard shed phenomena, shall we?
Here are six reasons why I find them kind of compelling:
1. The Tiny House Effect
I unabashedly love miniature things and will write about them as often as I think you guys can handle it. These diminutive buildings, like the cute one above from Kloter Farms, touch some visceral spot deep inside me and practically beg me to put them in my pocket. It’s all I can do not to hug and squeeze them and call them “George.” The snuggle is real. The cuteness doesn’t come cheap, however. The 12′ x 16′ shed above, with optional cupola, retails for about $6K, although you can find less expensive garden shed kits online.
Homepolish designer Paige Morse shared this absolutely adorable, formerly ramshackle, backyard shed which she renovated into a little mini work retreat. The inside is pretty special too:
2. Privacy & Solitude
I live alone, and have no need to escape my house on a daily basis, but I understand there are those who’d love to carve out some extra space to do whatever the hell they want. Think: no kids asking questions, annoying roommates, or partners wanting to watch the Bachelorette when you’re into Netflix documentaries. If you need a space to work, or think, or just be alone, a separate shed is pretty dreamy. Ann Voskamp works as a writer in this shed on her farm’s property.
Jewelry artist Artemis Russell uses her little sliver of a shed as a sewing studio. It’s packed with, not just reclaimed finds, but a number of small space storage solutions.
This Oregon “spirit house” was featured in the book She Sheds: A Room of Your Own by Erika Kotite. The 10′ x 10′ shed is made of 100% recycled materials—including a series of old windows that open up and let in air—and used as a meditation space. Inside you’ll find only a rug, makeshift table, and prayer flags.
3. The DIY Spirit
While some of these sheds are pretty over-the-top, many are actually pretty basic, made using humble materials and creativity to make them special. Better Homes & Gardens published this garden shed years ago, which is made from random doors and windows. There’s even a PDF if you are interested in building one yourself.
If you don’t like the idea of starting from scratch, buy a pre-made shed from Home Depot and customize it yourself. (Most of their prices appear to include installation.) Kristen Whitby customized and decorated one similar to this one and it became a beautiful retreat in her backyard.
4. Happy Marriage of Indoors and Outdoors
The best backyard sheds are the ones that are a real part of the backyard. Regular homes don’t usually open up completely to the outdoors, but uninsulated seasonal buildings have that luxury. The “summer house” seen above was redone by Lobster and Swan for U.K.-based Walton’s and might be one of my favorites. At 8′ x 10′, it’s just big enough for a sofa really, but the doors swing entirely open. This model retails for £1,2499 and Jeska outfitted it using paint, adding reclaimed walls, and choosing rustic decor.
Alice of Scandiland has two young kids and works as a stay-at-home mom. She finds this backyard shed the perfect spot to get away for awhile. (Also lead image above.) Although the French doors do shut, I bet they wind up open more often than not.
5. Good ‘Ol Eye Candy
As a very visual person, some of these are just plain lovely to look at, especially older reclaimed structures in idyllic settings straight out of an old Merchant Ivory movie. It’s hard not to cast oneself in a role of remote heroine when you see them, something the Light Locations folks know, which is why so many of these picturesque structures are available for photoshoots. The one-room shed above can be found in the backyard of an equally gorgeous home outside London.
Although garden designer Susanne Hudson calls this space a potting shed, it’s reads more as glass conservatory on a grand old English estate. It’s so tastefully done, and perhaps more geared towards drinking wine with friends than a spot for slinging actual soil.
6. Fantasy Decorating
I’m totally owning this one, but realize it might sound crazy to others. But as someone who looks at an empty room and sees a blank canvas, the idea of decorating a room just for fun, without having to worry about practical concerns, like plumbing or storage, is extremely compelling. It’s like a giant one-roomed dollhouse just for your personal enjoyment. Justina Blakeney got the opportunity to outfit the shed above for a branded event and fundraiser, which I bet was just about the most fun ever had by a human.
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