Forget about the man cave, that special room dedicated to mounted deer heads, Alabama/Auburn memorabilia and SEC schedules, big-screen TV and mini-fridge stocked with Bud Light. That “man-of the-house” thing is old hat.
Today’s trend is toward the “she shed,” a cute little girly house in the back yard. A place where a woman can do her yoga, work on crafts without cleaning up after every session, read a book near a sunny window, keep all those knick-knacks and pillows her husband hates, maybe share a laugh with a few girlfriends, or just kick back with a glass or two of wine.
And lucky is the woman whose husband not only recognizes that need but builds a shed for his wife, to her specifications.
That’s what Alan Parker of Semmes did for his wife, Teani. Her getaway spot is a 144-square-foot house painted in mint green with pale pink facia and white gingerbread trim. The French doors open out onto a concrete porch with a pink wrought-iron table and chairs and a green three-wheeled bike holding planters filled with yellow daisies and miniature roses.
The house is finished with white beadboard walls and hardwood floor, and of course, it’s insulated and has a heat pump to add comfort.
The walls are laden with shelves holding old bottles and plastic and tissue-paper pink roses. And everywhere are “happy” signs. “Sing your Song, Dance your Dance, Tell your Tale,” reads one framed placard. A colorful owl has a heart on his chest advising “Most people are just about as happy as they choose to be.”
A center table, set for a tea party, holds a pastel blue basket filled with roses, a flower-painted butterfly clock and slices of pink and lavender cake (made of foam) topped with tiny “icing” blooms on fine china dessert plates. Winged fairies and angels rest on snowy shelves amid floral teapots and signs that declare “This is my happy place” and admonish the reader to “Count your Blessings.”
“I love it,” Teani said of her shabby chic furnishings. She did all the decorating, picking up most of the pieces from antique stores, Pier One and Hobby Lobby.
“I really enjoyed shopping for just the right items to go in the right places,” she said. “This is my little retreat; I love to come in here and just relax, read a book, make some unique T-shirts on my heat press and listen to music. It’s total relaxation! I love the sunshine, and there is plenty of that coming through the windows.”
And now for “the rest of the story.” Teani isn’t the only one who loves her she shed.
After completing her little home away from home last June, she was scrolling through Facebook pages one day and came upon a picture of a tiny house on a page called “Hometalk.”
She posted a photo of her she shed under the comment section and the site manager contacted her about featuring it on the site. To date, Teani said, her post has garnered 170,000 views with “lots of comments, questions and followers,” with many readers wanting to purchase the plans (there are none).
Other opportunities to share her she shed followed. The San Francisco Globe asked to feature it in its online edition, and on March 9, Hometalk’s manager told Teani both House Beautiful and Good Housekeeping had seen her post and wanted to include her little house in a feature on she sheds.
“That was very exciting!” Teani said. “They wanted permission to use my pictures, which I gave them. House Beautiful has already featured it … Good Housekeeping has not told me when it will be featured, so I check their site every day,” she said.
Note: There are many sites online with a multitude of she-shed themes featured. Calling them “the room she never knew she needed,” the sites show a crafts shack, a 1950s diner, a garden center, an English country-inspired sitting area. They are featured on Pinterest, Better Homes and Gardens and Country Living blogs, and one site, www.houzz.com, even features a She Shed Hall of Fame.
Jo Anne McKnight is a freelance writer in Mobile County. You can read about other activities and events in her community blog, joannemcknight.com.