By Janice Brewster
Kids build forts in the woods or make tents of sofa pillows. Grown-up guys carve out man caves with beer taps and wide-screens. For many women, the escape of choice has become the “she shed.” Whether it’s put to use as a writer’s retreat, potting shed, artist studio or just a place to gather with friends, the she shed comes in many forms from practical to posh. For some, the little building morphs into a big girls’ playhouse overflowing with Victorian charm. Other styles are beach-house cool or funky and eclectic. The owner’s whims set the tone and almost anything goes. Many producers offer plans for sheds or complete kits of materials to make construction easy. What you won’t see in a well-designed she shed? A washing machine or anything else that smacks of housework. All responsibilities are checked at the door to these little sanctuaries.
Truly a labor of love, the Love Shack was pieced together from reclaimed lumber and architectural salvage from Small Town Salvage in Bargerville, Ind., and makes the perfect studio and Sunday napping spot. Designer/Builder: Jeff Gindling/Diane Schulz of Small Town Salvage
Artist Deb Fuchs-Zimmerman uses her eclectic shed on wheels as a display space for her handmade jewelry, wall art and handpainted signs. Designer/Builder: TDeb Fuchs-Zimmerman; debsartisticpainting.com
Blogger and sewing book author Torie Jayne painted her summerhouse in a pastel color palette. She uses the petite backyard building for writing, crafting and reading. Two electrical outlets allow her to power her sewing machine and laptop. Designer: Torie Jayne, toriejayne.com
Room for Two
Sunshine pours into this shed from a skylight, creating a cheery space to work and savor a morning cup of coffee. Plus, a dog bed beneath the desk keeps a furry guest comfortable. Designer: Summerwood Products, summerwood.com
Wooden It Be Nice?
Lace curtains contrast with the rustic wood exterior of this sweet shed. Flower boxes on the divided-light windows make this retreat look right at home in its garden setting. Designer: Summerwood Products, summerwood.com
Crisp white trim, two sets of French doors and a cupola on top give this shed head-turning charm. Its owner uses the quaint building as a shop on her lavender farm.
Inside this writer’s haven, a built-in desk saves space and enjoys a sweeping view that’s sure to inspire the next great American novel. If the muse is absent, a daybed in the cabin is just right for daydreaming.
A diminutive porch ready for a rocking chair or two welcomes friends to this tricked-out potting shed. Awning windows allow for cooling breezes, and the 8x12-foot interior provides space to store garden tools. Designer: Jamaica, Cottage Shop; Jamaica cottageshop.com
How the Garden Grows
A lean-to attached to a barn serves as a lovely potting room with a settee for relaxing and leafing through garden catalogs and a potting bench with a window above that looks out over the garden. Designer (both): Country Carpenters, countrycarpenters.com