BY ERIKA KOTITE
IF YOU ARE a woman, the minute you hear
what she sheds are all about you’ll nod your
head and say, “Yeah!” She sheds are born
as utility sheds and are then modified and
beautified to become a woman’s retreat,
home office, play room, sewing space—
anything at all. Usually placed in a backyard,
she sheds become an attractive focal point
within the landscape. They are the perfect
balance of form and function.
The she shed movement stems from a
woman’s need for her own space and privacy.
Why? Because your house might be on the
small side or filled with family members. If
you are an artist or a sewer, you know what a
chore it is to clean up after yourself every
time you pull out something to work on.
Imagine a place where all of your projects
and precious things stay exactly where you
put them—and when you return, they are
still there! Heaven.
I know this because last spring I built
one for my sister-in-law. Or rather, my husband and son did the heavy lifting (and
sawing and hammering) and Karin and I
helped. Karin owns a home in Santa Cruz,
California, and wanted a she shed for a
creative office. Since building from scratch
would take too long and we didn’t want to
spend the extra money for a custom design,
a kit shed was the way to go.
Once we set our eyes on the Everton
Shed on Costco.com, we knew this was the
perfect style and size. It measures ; feet by
;; feet, large enough for furnishings and
small enough to not require a builder’s permit. (Note: Check your local building codes.
If you decide to add electricity you will likely
A cave of her own
Building a she shed
HERE ARE a few tips and considerations
to help you along the path toward your
own she shed.
•Find out if sheds are allowed in your
neighborhood. Look up your county’s
building codes and regulations online,
and make a call if you aren’t sure how to
interpret them. Homeowners in planned
communities should contact their homeowners association representative.
• Create a budget and add some padding to your timetable. Even a kit shed
will need extra materials, and you’ll need
to set aside some money to decorate—
the best part! Unless you are lucky
enough to get professional builders to
help you, expect the build to take at
least three weekends. Total budget will
be between $2,000 and $5,000.
• A paint sprayer was our best friend,
along with a helper who knew how to
use it. Access to power tools and the
right equipment (and good gloves) are
• Make a party out of it. Human
beings are programmed to love to build.
Nurture that instinct with your closest
friends and let instinct take hold. Offer
good food, drink and music. Invite your
Sheds are available in Costco locations
on a seasonal basis, during Special Events
road shows and year-round on Costco.com.
A variety of tools are also available at
Costco and on Costco.com.
need a permit.) This shed is all wood, and
while it looks traditional, it is not too cutesy.
The doorway is extra wide and features
double doors (included in the kit). We liked
the small window above the doorway, too.
Inside, the shed included a very handy
little loft, for display or storage. The floor
was simply large particleboards that you
join together, and there are no walls—only
the outside cladding. You’re getting mostly
a shell, to which you add paint and details
and imagination to make it what you want.
It took us three solid weekends to finish
Karin’s shed, and it was hard work. Even a
she shed needs a foundation and a watertight roof. Hanging a door is harder than it
sounds. Although the labor was hard, the
satisfaction I felt in the end more than
made up for it.
Now, when I visit Karin and cast eyes
on her fun, comfortable she shed, I know
that she has fulfilled that fundamental urge
we women have to find what Virginia Woolf
called “a room of one’s own.” C
Erika Kotite is an editor, writer and author
of She Sheds: A Room of Your Own (Cool
Springs Press, 2017; not available at Costco).
She Sheds author Erika Kotite
(left) with her sister-in-law and
shed recipient, Karin Nystrom.