By Erika Kotite

As popular as man caves were a few years back, “She Sheds” are even hotter today. And she sheds have yet to reach their true potential. One thing is certain: She sheds are a growing phenomenon in home and garden design. Their affordability, practicality and extraordinary visual appeal make she sheds the newest must-have in backyard landscape design.

Ask Tamara Armstrong (pictured above), a visual artist and mother to a four-year-old daughter. For a few years she tried corralling all her art supplies in a small spare bedroom; unmanageable clutter that began creeping into other rooms forced her to think about another alternative. “We have a small home but a large yard,” Armstrong says. “I started to dream about building a separate studio.”

About four months (including two months to get the design approved by the city council) and $3,500 later, Armstrong moved her paintings and supplies into the new space.

This 10 ft. x 16 ft. shed is where she paints, receives clients and visitors and holds small art classes. “I can switch off, not worry about what’s happening in the house and just indulge myself in some serious ‘me time,’ Armstrong notes.

5 Things People Don’t Know about She Sheds

  1. They provide women their own affordable, customizable private space in their own back yard.
  2. She sheds are standalone outbuildings that require a foundation but often no building permit (depending on where you live).
  3. They can be built from a kit
  4. The same toolshed used to store mowers and rakes can be modified into a fabulous artist’s studio or meditation space.
  5. She sheds are popping up all over the U.S., the U.K, Scandinavia, Australia and many other countries.

She Sheds Provide Privacy

Because of their physical separation from the main house, she sheds offer a woman unparalleled quiet and privacy. They can be rustic or refined, modern or cottage and range in size from 6 ft. x 8 ft. to 12 ft. x 16 ft. and above. We found several options you could order and customize on, here, here and here.

If you’re considering adding a room to your house, consider this first: a detached she shed costs between $3,000 and $15,000 to build, while adding a basic 10 ft. x 10 ft. bedroom to the house will cost between $11,500 and $20,000. According to the book, She Sheds: A Room of Your Own, rehabbing an existing shed costs even less.

Lots of small and medium-sized companies are enthusiastic about she sheds’ potential. Outdoor structure designers are expanding from children’s playhouses and pool cabanas to backyard studios, designed with a woman’s esthetic in mind. And, of course, owners of she sheds need to furnish them, often seeking multi-functional furniture to get the most out of their space.

Even a few larger companies such as Lowe’s and TuffShed, are beginning to service the trend. Shed designs that you assemble yourself (or get delivered pre-assembled) now have slightly larger windows and pretty details like faux shutters and barn-style hardware.

Realtors and interior designers are watching the trend closely, to see how much a well-designed she shed planted in the backyard affects curb appeal and even property value.

 Erika Kotite is a lifestyle expert in the home, garden and culinary industries. She is the author of She Sheds: A Room of Your Own and the soon-to-be-released She Sheds Style (Cool Springs Press). A former editor for Entrepreneur, Romantic Homes and Victorian Homes, Kotite is also busy launching her new line of chalk-based exterior paints called She Shades.

Erika Kotite photo by: Rebecca Ittner

Main photo courtesy: Tamara Armstrong