Putting the “she” in she sheds

Who wouldn’t dream of far-off lands in the presence of this gypsy wagon she shed, featured during a Kingwood Garden Club “GardenScape” home and garden tour, in Kingwood, TX. All images by Diane Morey Sitton. Click image for a larger view.

It was as inviting as any she shed I’d ever seen: an artfully refurbished gypsy wagon (circa 1800s) parked in a garden, surrounded by plants, string lights, and silk fabric from far-off lands. Ah, the colors…the charm…the mystique surrounding the wagon’s past. And, as if all that wasn’t alluring enough, a chandelier and red velvet settee beckoned from within.

Stained glass, baskets, galvanized watering cans, skylights, and lots of windows; this spacious setting has the makings of a she shed. Click image for larger view.

Granted, when it comes to having a space to call your own, a gypsy wagon may not be your thing. But, that’s the fun of she sheds. Whether you are redecorating an existing getaway or designing a new backyard escape, you can tailor your space to be a place to read, practice yoga, listen to or create music, craft, or hang out with a friend or pet. Remember, she sheds are all about self-expression and individuality.

Start by setting a theme.

A ribbon and white chandelier transform any area into a romantic retreat.

Romantic she sheds rely on muted palettes. Splash ocher, beige, tan, ecru, pink, and other soft colors on rugs and pillows. Include floral print fabrics and framed floral pictures. Add more flowers by displaying fresh bouquets on tables. Grow flowers in window boxes and pots. Increase the romance with stained glass, ornate picture frames, and cupid statuettes. Suspend a chandelier. Display a bird cage. Soften the look with tulle. Hang the ethereal fabric as curtains or let it billow cloud-like from rafters.

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Flowers, skylights, and stained glass number among the features that dress up this back garden retreat. Click image for larger view.

Lay the framework for “salvage chic” style by using repurposed and recycled objects. Construct a floor from reclaimed bricks or old pavers. Let the sunlight in through reused windows retrieved from a salvage yard. Browse an architectural antique warehouse for a one-of-a-kind door. Furnish the interior with metal furniture, robbed from the garden and brought inside. Use a vintage ice chest to store blankets or quilts. Create wall storage with salvaged brackets and boards. Decorate with collections: vintage nozzles, florist frogs, orbs, or whatever captures your fancy.

A frilly window box adds to the charm of this she shed.

Farmhouse themes start with repurposed wood furniture and shiplap wall paneling. Expose the beams. Show off sap cans in assorted colors and sizes. Use an antique butter churn to organize upright tools. Repurpose an old wood ladder as a shelf unit: its flaws add character. Display vintage photographs, seed packets, and galvanized watering cans. Get the message across with signs, and more signs. Use quilts for comfort, or hang them as art. Pull a child’s red wagon inside. Fill it with magazines, books, or collectibles.

Playhouse or younger-generation she shed? You be the judge. Either way, there is plenty of room for fun in this cute retreat at “Perennial Gardens” (www.tonyalemone.com).

She shed essentials
Whichever theme you select, allow for lighting, storage, and comfort. And don’t forget the entrance.

Stake your claim by displaying a she shed sign.

Lighting. After you’ve established task and overhead lighting, ramp up the atmosphere with string lights. Hang them across the ceiling, outline the windows, drape them on furniture, or display them outside. Utilize natural light by adding windows and skylights. Brighten the subject even more with floor lamps and table lamps.

Storage. Make the most of your space by eliminating clutter. Set up shelving. Add benches and ottomans that have built-in storage. Allow room for a chest of drawers. Organize supplies in buckets and boxes.

Fresh bouquets and pastel colors add another dimension to girlie-girl themes, like this setting at “Perennial Gardens” (www.tonyalemone.com).

Comfort. Include a cozy chair or lounge. Add a rug. Use a small fan to circulate air. Install a compact fridge for refreshments and snacks. Keep a soft throw or quilt on hand for cool mornings and chilly evenings. Make a place for your pet.

The first rule of decorating a she shed: surround yourself with birds, blooms, inspiration, and whatever else you adore.

Entrance. First impressions help set tone and style, so construct a stone path, grow flowers near the entrance, display a wreath on the door, put out an attractive doormat, and hang a welcome sign.

She sheds are full of possibilities. They can be a place to create, to work, to exercise, or to enjoy a moment of solitude. Best of all, they can be a retreat where you can conjure up dreams of gypsy wagons and far-off lands.

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
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