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Getting small with she-sheds 

Sometimes you want to go where no one is calling your name

click to enlarge A she-shed is usually a living area that’s separated from the house. - PHOTO COURTESY LOWE’S
  • Photo courtesy Lowe’s
  • A she-shed is usually a living area that’s separated from the house.

Sharing a home with your significant other often means sacrificing some personal space. The kitchen table becomes a cluttered office for two. Craft supplies in the storage closet are mixed with wrenches, drill bits and other random tools. And if you have kids, finding a place where you can enjoy five minutes of peace seems impossible. It's partially why men came up with man caves ... and why women across the country now are creating she-sheds.

 A she-shed is usually a small dwelling a few steps away from the house. It can be used as a yoga studio, an office or a frilly hideaway for a mom of four boys.

 Bryan Haugh, merchandising manager of storage sheds at Lowe's, has seen a "phenomenon where people are taking these storage buildings" and converting them into living areas, or she-sheds.

click to enlarge When Juliet Meeks works in her studio, she surrounds herself with inspiration. - PHOTO BY DARIAN KAYCE
  • Photo by Darian Kayce
  • When Juliet Meeks works in her studio, she surrounds herself with inspiration.

 "Their end goal is to expand the usable space they have outside of their home," he says, noting that boards on Pinterest and shows on HGTV have encouraged people to renovate spaces they "usually don't think about."

 She-sheds can be structurally simple or elaborate.

 "We've seen some where someone has basically taken a shed and put drywall in it to finish out the walls," Haugh says. "You could go a little bit further and insulate it to keep it at a more consistent temperature."

 You can use an extension cord that connects to the house for electricity, or have a professional wire the shed into the power grid.

 Lowe's and other hardware shops throughout the city can supply basic construction materials. Lowe's also can connect clients with a handyman and an associate who can offer ideas on how to embellish a she-shed. The company's website even offers video tutorials.

 Some women see the decoration process as an opportunity to go wild with bold wallpapers, glamorous chandeliers or chic lamps, fairy lights, artwork, indoor plants and comfy furniture. Others take a more minimalist approach, so they can meditate or focus on work.

 If building a she-shed doesn't appeal to you, but you still want a private place to work or relax, consider hiring an interior designer or renting an office space.

 Juliet Meeks, owner of boutique pattern and branding design studio Juliet Meeks Design, found it hard to work from home, so she rented an office in Mid-City.

 "I like physically going to a separate space and just getting into that mindset. It really helps a lot," she says. "Plus, I have some inventory for my product line, so I need a little bit of extra space for that."

 Meeks created two different zones in her studio — one for her graphic design work and another for painting.

 "I can mentally separate between the two in a physical way," Meeks says.

 A pegboard hangs above her painting desk.

 "I can (hang) all of the tools that I need to grab just really quickly, and they're just right there in front of me, and not put away in a drawer," Meeks says.

 The walls of the studio are white, like a "blank canvas," she says. The room is filled with repurposed furniture, inspirational books and magazines, small plants, an electric teakettle and scented candles. She says the setup enables her to harness her creativity.

 "I'm much more productive having my own space to work," Meeks says.

 Jennifer Kelly, an interior designer and owner of Design Lab, helps women craft private home offices.

 "They don't actually call it a she-shed, but they do end up making it their space," she says. Often, the area also is used for recreation "because their husband's watching the TV and they can't watch what they want to watch."

 Kelly aims to create a haven that mirrors the personality of her client. It could be "quiet and cozy," "industrial chic" or "colorful and pretty." The vibe also depends on the person's definition of feminine.

 However it's realized by individuals, Kelly thinks the she-shed trend will continue to spread.

 "People understand the concept and they like it," she says. "Everybody needs their own space."


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