Home & Design September 27, 2019
She Sheds
Move over man caves; make room mantuaries--this oasis is for her

She sheds have arrived in style and are staking claim to their rightful space. These detached spaces or rooms in a house are reserved specifically for the matriarch of the home front to pursue interests or find some quality alone time. She sheds are becoming a mainstay for women across the country and have made their way to the Intermountain West.

It is fairly common to find a home with a separate shed or detached garage space that is noted as a “man cave.” This space might be for craftsman work, a specific hobby like home brewing and gaming, or act as a sanctuary to read, watch the game, and unwind. The desire for such a space, however, is felt by both genders; thus, she sheds were born.

Whether you’re considering adding your own shed to your backyard, looking to redesign a room or loft, or ready to give an old barn a facelift, start with vision and recruit the experts.

Enlist a general contractor to create your small space. A plus on the résumé is an aptitude for small spaces or tiny homes. Already have a shed? Make sure and hire the professionals to add insulation, electricity, or plumbing to make the most of the use and ensure it’s livable even in the cold winter months.

If you find yourself looking at your backyard and seeing a lack of available shed space, do not fret. The beauty of the trend is to reclaim a space just for yourself. Maybe that unused office room could get a makeover or your kids’ former playroom is no longer needed. Get creative and improvise.

Seeking tips from a designer will help you utilize even the smallest space to its utmost potential and spark ideas for some surprising designs. Ready to claim your space? Elizabeth Ellis, project designer at Jennifer Hoey Interior Design, says to first start with a purpose.

“Identify what the use of the space will be for, i.e., yoga, reading, art, crafting studio, etcetera,” she says. “Once this is determined, identify your personal style and what items are needed for the space. Create a plan and layout of what your ideal furnishings are, make sure everything you would want fits in the space.”

And when it comes to accessories, lean toward less. Or, as Ellis says, “Keep it clean, lean, and simple.”

“It is important to keep it organized and simple as the space will most likely be small,” she says. “You want it to feel personal yet still be completely functional.”

If your hope is for a reading nook, find a cozy daybed, reading-friendly lamp with adjustable light settings, and a simple bookshelf. Add pops of color with pillows, simple décor, and a table set up for tea or coffee. Put thought into your favorite books, and line the shelves with your reading list for the next few months for inspiration.

Looking for more of a yoga or exercise retreat? Keep an open floor plan with ample room for movement and a yoga mat or two. Add lighter tones in the finishes, like paint colors and upholstery, to help make the space feel bigger.

To really maximize the space, focus on natural light and thoughtful organization.

“If possible, incorporate lots of great daylight options with windows,” Ellis says. “Having an option to open up doors to bring the outside in will also increase the overall size of the space.”

But as the name implies, it’s all about you, and there is no right or wrong way to go. Ellis’ ideal she shed? Her own personal escape to just unwind and decompress.

“I would create a personal retreat to remove myself from everyday life duties,” she says. “Ideally, I would have floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors to open up to a deck outside. White walls, light wood floors, good lighting, a small kitchenette with some built-in storage and water closet.”

Yoga, reading, unplugging, you name it; she sheds are meant to be a reprieve from the grind. So claim your space, hunker down, and make room for something all your own. While the space may be small, the possibilities for this miniature retreat are endless.

This article appears in the Fall 2019 - The Habitat Issue Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.