She Sheds by Erika Kotite is not my normal choice of garden related reading but I was curious so agreed to write a review for Cool Springs Press. Erika’s book explores the idea of ‘She Sheds’ which are essentially outdoor buildings used by women to have a place of their own for a whole variety of reasons – arts and crafts, reading, yoga, small businesses. As you can guess from the front cover each ‘shed’ is itself a work of art and the stuff of design magazines so not the sort of space that this grubby gardener would inhabit.
Erika collates her showcase sheds in a number of different styles including Classic, Vintage, Modern and Rustic. She then presents two page articles of a whole range of actual sheds with beautiful interiors and a short summary of what the owner uses the space for etc. I was interested in the section on Garden Sheds which included a couple of ‘potting sheds’ which I would adore though I doubt I would do much potting in them as they look far too smart for that. The most interesting section for me were the Artists Sheds as they were all practical, although again beautiful, spaces, which would be inspiring to work in. There is also a section on glamorous ‘Get-away Sheds’ – places to escape to, to read, to relax, to have afternoon tea in.
The next section, which I think is the real strength of the book, is how to build your own ‘She Shed’. Erika gives you the basic for building a shed from a kit and then illustrates this with her own ‘She Shed’ project giving tips along the way from the lessons she learnt. This is supplemented with a gallery of more ‘She Sheds’ which demonstrate different finishing ideas.
Whilst the idea of ‘She Sheds’ seems very American there are many British crafts women who have outdoor studios, women who have home offices, garden retreats and I have even seen a couple of beautiful potting sheds so I am sure this book would provide a lot of inspiration. Though there is a small voice which wonders where this leaves the idea of British men disappearing down the garden to the shed for some peace and quiet!