UPDATE: UK Shed expert Alex Johnson tells me that she sheds are in fact a thing. There is even a book about them in Australia. I apologize for not being on top of the latest international trends:
An answer to the man cave, the ‘She Shed’ has become a global phenomenon. Whether they are reclaiming a domestic space or redoing the old garden shed, women all over the world are creating beautiful studios, reading spots or places to just get away for a few minutes.
We have shown many sheds on TreeHugger over the years, including many office sheds, often modest garden shed conversions, but never considered them to be gendered, for men or for women. But somehow when sheds go upscale and make it to the Wall Street Journal, they become very different things; they become man caves and now “she-sheds.” According to Elizabeth Holmes,
She sheds are havens to paint, read, do yoga, host a book club meeting; a place to leave behind the demands of daily life while staying close to home. In contrast to the man cave—all flat-screen TV, wood paneling and beer fridge—the she shed leans toward the bright, cheery and thoughtful.
What they have in common may be motive. “I come out here to get away from my husband,” says Ramona Jarvis, a 59-year-old resident of Austin, Texas.
As a rower, I am in love with Marta Benson’s rowing shed and would not mind having one myself, having given up my rowing machine when we downsized. But there is nothing particularly “she-shed” about it, with the Head of the Charles posters on the wall.
Diane Schaefer’s, on the other hand, is definitely, um, feminine.
“I can walk 35 steps across the driveway and be in this whole other fabulous space that is so calming and quiet and pretty,” says Ms. Schaefer, a retired college admissions director. She decorated with what she described as shabby-chic antiques, including a purple armchair and a pink-painted brass bed. The project cost somewhere north of $80,000, she says.
Now as someone who has been reading Alex Johnson’s shedworking since it started, and follow Uncle Wilco’s shed of the year contest every year, in all this time I have never heard this term she-shed. We have seen lots that were clearly designed and occupied by women, but is this term really necessary? Do they really break down like this:
For men: PC gaming station; kegerator with 3-D printed tap in the shape of a tiny boombox; and a “smart” putting green. For women: a “smart” door lock operated with a phone app; special lighting controls; and a hidden refreshment cabinet for espresso maker, electric tea kettle and wine cooler.
Really? And even their trademark Wall Street Journal stipple drawing labelled “she-shed”- what is it? An early version of the Modern-Shed that we first showed in 2008. There is nothing “She-shed” about this.
According to Uncle Wilco, there are eco, summerhouse, historical, budget, pub and workshop sheds. Alex at Shedworking shows working sheds. But She-sheds? Now? Please, go away.