Reviewed by Antonella Townsend
No other building marries scale, convenience, usefulness, affordability and charm,
in quite the same way as this humble little outbuilding.
In the early twentieth century Virginia Woolf popularized the idea that every women should have a room of her own, now it seems the idea has taken off – with style! Motivated by Erika Kotite, the old shed at the bottom of the garden has become a thing of beauty; it has been transformed into the ‘She Shed’.
Erika Kotite is a home and lifestyle guru, she is the former editor of Romantic Homes and Victorian Homes. For sometime Erika has been editing and developing books concerning arts, textile, and crafting, before becoming the co-founder of She Shed Living, a place and space for women to socialize, then writing She Sheds: A Room of Your Own, and now, She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own.
She Sheds Style is an inspiring coffee table book showing the reader just how the simple shed can be up-graded into a stunning garden room. Within its 174 pages there is a myriad of glossy photographs to inspire, along with ideas and DYI projects to transform, or build from scratch, a wonderful space to suit whatever purpose its owner desires. Warning: to read She Sheds Style is to suffer serious shed envy, you will want so much to have one of your own.
In the Introduction Erika explains the She Shed is all about its owner’s style and sensibility, the suggestions she offers are just that, suggestions! The rules are that there are no rules. Apparently, as you design your very own She Shed you will discover a little more about yourself. However, that said, in Chapter 1, She Sheds: the Elements of Style, it is made clear the first step, logically, must be to decide the intended function of the She Shed. Under ‘Functional and Fabulous’ Erika lists how women are using this space; from yoga and meditation, pottery and artist studio, home office, peace and quiet to write, meeting and socializing, to just a spare room for guests.
In Chapter 2, The Architecture of She Shed, it seems things get a tad more complicated here. Erika introduces the would-be shed architect to The Golden Ratio, the principle of Phi. (What happened to no rules?) However, apparently, we adhere to this ratio naturally – it will just seem right. The choice of external embellishments suggested by Erika, range from the industrial look of metal to an all glass and open feel – the simple shed is definitely going up in the world. In ‘Interior Elements’ a she shed owner can take a ‘hands-on’ approach and follow Erika’s DIY instructions for a drop-down bar, built-in sewing table, a decorative window frame or a room divider. Erika seems keen to give ladies the chance to discover their inner carpenter.Chapter 3, What Colour is your She Shed? This chapter is truly instructive. Colour is a tricky thing, changing mood, light and atmosphere. Erika makes it easy grouping colours together to represent the chosen style – eclectic, garden/green, romantic/shabby, modern/Zen or rustic. Instruction on preparation, organizing a paint party and decorative paint techniques, and much more, make this chapter a good read for anyone embarking on a décor project.
Chapter 4, Interior Design: Shed Style Defined, Erika gives the reader many ideas according to function, as well as for flooring, storage, fabulous ceilings and furnishings. There are DIY instructions for window treatments, making an ottoman, and brick floors. Then Erika embarks on the fanciful for the benefit of hard-core naturalists – weaving a wild vine She Shed! It’s an acquired taste.
Chapter 5, Doorways and Entryways, here is a great chance to make an immediate statement about your tiny domain. To prove the point there are some beautiful photographs of decks, porches and stoops. DIY instructions are given for a rather rural looking track door, a Dutch door (sometimes referred to as a stable door), a vertical ladder garden and mosaic stepping-stones.
Chapter 6, Important Details, give some good tips for buying second hand furniture, the personal touch with craft, door handles and lighting. These finishing touches complete the work of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. It is a wonder that owners of a She Shed don’t abandon their houses completely to live permanently in their tiny domains crafted by their own imagination.
She Sheds are trending and Erika makes having one easy and fun!
By Erika Kotite
Hardback: ISBN: 9780760360996 $29.99