Owendyk looks out the double doors of her
"Tulip House," a garden building she
built from a kit, on April 27, 2011 in Roseville,
Calif. It's her garden hide-away and doubles as a
home office and gardening shed.
Calif. ó Sometimes, you just want to get away. You
crave a little personal space, a place you can relax,
work, get creative and make a mess without guilt.
best refuge might be waiting in your backyard. That
special room may be a She Shed.
distinctly female counterpoint to macho Man Caves, She
Sheds are springing up worldwide.
are many in California, but I also found them in
Australia, the United Kingdom, all over," said
author Erica Kotite, a longtime home and lifestyle
spent almost a year studying the phenomenon ó as well
as building a She Shed for her sister ó for her new
book, "She Sheds: A Room of Your Own" (Cool
Springs Press, $25, 176 pages).
see them and Ö you can almost see the mental
calculations theyíre making as they imagine where they
could put one in their yard," Kotite said.
of the appeal is cost. She Sheds allow for expanding
living space without adding an actual room. That makes
them particularly attractive in California, where
housing prices are high and space often scarce.
almost like a grown-up playhouse," Kotite said.
"Itís your space, and you can do whatever you
want with it. Itís a combination of privacy and
permission. You can set boundaries."
featured more than 35 examples in "She Sheds."
"My favorite was in San Luis Obispo on a crest
overlooking Central California," she said. "It
was simple, but it had everything; a really pretty
chandelier, a day bed and that view. All (the creator)
really uses it for is to rest and look at photos of her
grandchildren. But it gives her a place to relax, her
own personal retreat, and itís just glorious."
makes a She Shed?
definition, itís some sort of outbuilding, not
attached to the house," Kotite explained.
"Normally, it would have been utilitarian storage
space for tools or garden supplies ó that sort of
thing ó thatís transformed into a womanís
of storage, sheds become dedicated to something of
particular interest to the woman of the house, she said.
For example, Sonoma jewelry and clothing maker Anne
Freund needed space to work on her jewelry and sew. By
adding electricity and lighting, she turned a small
wooden tool shed into her private studio.
lived in a small house and wanted a studio," said
Kotite. "She created her own BoHo She Shed with a
lot of repurposed finds including a wonderful chandelier
and a lot of lace. She used old printers drawers to
store beads and brooches. The overall result was very
pretty, very Northern California and very cool."
She Shed can give creative women room to work, Kotite
sewing, crafts; it involves a lot of stuff," she
said. "A She Shed gives you the freedom to make a
mess and leave stuff out instead of constantly pulling
stuff out and putting it away."
most popular use: gardening room.
I find interesting: Smart companies are helping people
build these things," Kotite said. "Theyíre
capitalizing on a great niche."
Owendyk of Roseville created her "Tulip House"
from a pre-fab kit, bought online from Summerwood of
is a special hideaway for me," said Owendyk, a
retired state worker and lifelong gardener. "It is
even better than I had anticipated. I store all my
garden tools in the shed, but I also have a desk where I
can work. I will sit at my desk with my computer or
garden journal. It is one of my favorite places to work.
I am surrounded by the garden, and I love listening to
the birds sing."
gardening friends adore the Tulip House, she said. She
kept it fairly simple. She has a Wi-Fi connection from
her house, but no electricity or heat. "It faces
south, so the space heats up nicely during the
day," she said.
advises taking time to "determine what you want. It
is yours to enjoy so it should reflect your personality
Sullivan of Rancho Cordova, author of the popular blog
"Chic Little House," found her extra space for
an office and studio in a tricked-out Tuff Shed.
didnít even know what they were called when I started
mine," said Sullivan, the mother of two. "We
have a small house and I needed a little office. I got
that in a 10- by 12-foot shed. I love it! Itís my
little creative hideaway from the kids."
and her husband, Hasani, tackled the She Shed as DIYers,
equipping it with electricity, Wi-Fi, heat and
air-conditioning. They installed insulation, dry wall,
vinyl flooring and other finishing touches.
She Shed makes for less mess in the house, Katrina
Sullivan said. "My husband appreciates it. My
creative space used to be the dining room table. It was
always messy and overflow. I had to push things aside to
eat dinner. Now my mess stays in my She Shed. When
friends come over, I donít have to rush around to
hauling the tools out of the backyard shed, there are
some things Kotite said to consider:
Most pre-fab sheds often are short and dark, with 6-foot
ceilings and without windows.
Sheds can be cold and drafty, needing insulation to keep
them comfortable year-round.
Other creature comforts ó electricity, lighting, Wi-Fi
access ó make the shed more usable, but also more
expensive. Such upgrades may also need building permits
or other approvals.
least common upgrade, Kotite found, was indoor plumbing.
"Then, it starts to become a mini-house," she
Sheds become a creative outlet in themselves.
really fun is finding stuff to furnish and decorate the
shed," Kotite said. "Thatís what gives it
agreed. "I had so much fun decorating it," she
said of her Tulip House. "It is exactly like I
wanted. Most everything are found items I had around the
house or that people gave me. It is full of memories of
good times and wonderful friends."