Oh, the things you can do with a storage shed.
Sheds aren't just for storing tools, seasonal decorations and stuff you probably need to throw away. That often forgotten building could become a private haven if you convert it into a she-shed.
Seek haven in a she-shed
A little imagination, elbow grease and paint can turn a hollow, exposed-beam building into a place you flee to relax or work on a project. In fact, women looking for a quick getaway are turning what some consider a backyard eyesore into rooms suitable for craft making, gardening, a home office and even a guest bedroom.
The beauty of a she-shed is that it can be whatever you want. Here’s how to get started.
Choose a she-shed theme
Start with an idea for a shed or other outdoor building, says Jessica Kloter, project manager for Kloter Farms, a shed company in Ellington, Connecticut. Even an old garage will do. As long as the existing building is covered and includes windows, it can serve as the foundation for your backyard retreat.
"I wanted a reading nook," Kloter says of the she-shed she designed for Kloter Farms. "Once we had a theme and a plan, then we went shopping to see what was available for resources in our budget."
Rid your shed or garage of excess junk
If you use an existing shed or garage, sort though the stuff you’ve piled into it over the years. If you find something you can use in your she-shed, such as a chair, table, storage bin or basket, keep it.
Donate usuable items you don't want to charity, and throw the rest away.
How much does it cost to build a she-shed?
The biggest expense to create a she-shed involves the building. If you buy a shed, you can pick the material, style and dimensions.
However, many communities and neighborhoods implement rules about the type of buildings homeowners can construct on residential properties. So check local building codes before adding a building for a she-shed in your yard.
Kloter says shed manufacturers are creating more designs now that homeowners are using the buildings as she- and he-caves. Wood- and aluminum-framed buildings typically cost more than sheds made of galvanized steel. The size and available interior space also influences how much you pay for a new shed.
Costs generally start around $500 for an 8-foot-by-8-foot, unassembled galvanized steel shed. Expect prices to start around $600 for a comparably sized unassembled wood shed, and about $875 for a vinyl shed.
Kloter says her company's sheds start at $2,000 for an 8-foot-by-8-foot shed, while some of Kloter's larger and more custom sheds can exceed $40,000. The prices include delivery and assembly off or on site.
Most sheds are built from the frames provided. Some are sold as easy do-it-yourself kits that can be assembled in hours, while others can be delivered preassembed.
Decorating, cooling and heating your she-shed
If you already own the building and seating, your largest expense may be the cost to hire an electrician to install wiring for an air conditioner, ceiling fan and lighting outlets.
"Lighting adds to the expression of your personality on carrying out the theme," Kloter says. "We used a girly crystal chandelier."
Because you can choose lanterns, solar or battery-operated lights, Kloter says the primary reason to install electricity is to cool the shed. "Regardless of what [building] material it is, a shed is hot. You will need electricity," she says.
If you want to use the she-shed in the winter, you'll need to insulate and heat the building. You can install a baseboard heater, heat bulbs or portable propane space heaters.
Once you identify a theme, Kloter recommends picking your colors from a focal point, such as a rug, chair cover or painting.
"We went with pink walls, and a darker pink on the back wall," Kloter says. "We wanted it soft and welcoming. After that, it was just collecting all of the materials and getting to work. Deciding on the theme and gathering the material is the hardest part."
Try using items around your home to decorate the she-shed, and plan a budget for paint, furniture and knick knacks. You may also choose to landscape around the building. The largest investment, however, involves time.
Kloter says she and a colleague spent about 40 hours and under $500 on her she-shed, which serves as a model for would be she-shed creators.