‘She sheds’ of­fer sanc­tu­ary

Montreal Gazette - - NEW HOMES + CON­DOS - JEN­NIFER COX

We all want our own lit­tle cosy nooks at home — but some­times our homes are a bit too busy to af­ford much peace and quiet.

For years, there­fore, men have turned to their man caves (i.e., base­ments, garages, and other ar­eas of the home where they can build things, fix things, and hide out). Now women are creat­ing their own unique spa­ces, call­ing them “she sheds” — util­ity sheds that are com­pletely trans­formed into a myr­iad of func­tional ar­eas, in­clud­ing yoga stu­dios, lounges, and more.

“They’d had enough years of hus­bands go­ing into their garages, and women didn’t have their own thing, so they de­cided: ‘I want my own space’,” said John Hickey, se­nior de­signer of Sum­mer­wood Prod­ucts, a com­pany that has been do­ing she sheds for 20 years — “when it wasn’t even a trend,” he said.

Natalia David, trend and de­sign man­ager at The Home De­pot Canada, agreed.

“She sheds are the new man cave for the mod­ern woman who’s look­ing for a place to dis­con­nect from their fast-paced life,” David ex­plained. “It pro­vides them with a place to think, be cre­ative, or to read in quiet.

“She sheds are not a new con­cept, but cer­tainly — with in­creased share­able con­tent on­line, and more women em­brac­ing the idea — more cre­ative ways to de­sign them have emerged. It’s a unique way of show­cas­ing not only (women’s) style, but their pas­sions as well.”

Hickey has seen she sheds for just about every hobby — from sewing rooms and jew­elry-mak­ing stu­dios, to home of­fices, mu­sic stu­dios and other work­shops. The most elab­o­rate she-shed or­der came from a writer in Hawaii who lived in an in­cred­i­bly re­mote lo­ca­tion — so re­mote, in fact, that the shed had to be flown in pieces by he­li­copter, and those who would build and as­sem­ble it rode in on horse­back.

“I got a call sev­eral weeks af­ter it had been in­stalled, and the owner was in tears. I thought: Oh no, what’s wrong,” Hickey said. “It turns out she was cry­ing be­cause she was so happy — she said she could see seven wa­ter­falls from her she-shed writ­ing stu­dio.”

She sheds can be made with all the mod­ern ameni­ties one would find at home, in­clud­ing elec­tric­ity and plumb­ing, and they are be­ing de­signed with the same at­ten­tion to de­tail as home in­te­ri­ors.

“Women are tak­ing as much care as they do in dec­o­rat­ing their main house — in­cor­po­rat­ing cus­tom cab­i­netry, wall­pa­per, dec­o­ra­tive light­ing and ac­ces­sories,” David said.

“They are also a per­fect DIY project and a great ex­cuse to bring out your power tools.”

While the trend has evolved pri­mar­ily with the ladies, this is not a girls-only club; men love tak­ing sheds and con­vert­ing them into their own per­son­al­ized spa­ces as well. Set up as a cool makeshift bar, a place to hone their craft­ing skills, or as an area in which to dis­play their most prized pos­ses­sions (such as sports mem­o­ra­bilia and more), a she shed can just as eas­ily be a he shed, or man cave.

“The great thing about these spa­ces is that rarely are two of them ever the same,” Hickey said.

Look­ing for your own pri­vate space away from the house? A “she” (or “he”) shed may be just what you need to cul­ti­vate a hobby, get some R&R time, or just plain en­joy a get­away spot — with­out ac­tu­ally leav­ing home.

Any home­owner whose prop­erty in­cludes an ex­pan­sive back­yard near a wooded area like this could in­stall a roomy, at­trac­tive she-shed for a woman in need of her own lit­tle hide­out.


Ur­ban home­own­ers with limited back­yard space can still find room for an at­trac­tive, con­tem­po­rary-look­ing sheshed that can be used as home of­fice, writ­ing space, craft stu­dio or sim­ple get­away spot.

So-called she sheds can be cre­ated in var­i­ous sizes and for var­i­ous pur­poses ev­ery­thing from sewing rooms and jew­elry-mak­ing stu­dios to home of­fices, mu­sic stu­dios like this one, or sim­ply quiet places in which to get away from it all.

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