Monday, March 6, 2017

Rhys wants a She Shed!

RHYS BOWEN: There are not many items I see online and think, "Ooh, I would really LOVE one of those." I can watch commercials and not be moved at all (especially not car commercials. Who has ever watched one and said "I have to rush out and get a Lexus/BMW/Mercedes/Dodge?")

But a couple of weeks ago I saw something and I thought that I had to have one!  It's called the SHE SHED. It's a perfect little shed/tiny house in the garden that is the opposite of a man-cave. It can be furnished with whatever makes you happy. For me it would be a shelf of books, of course, pictures of my dear ones, some good art, a soft chair to curl up in and a lovely view through the window. Oh, and a coffee/tea maker and a box of cookies or chocolates, and a bowl of fruit, and my iPod for music. And a furry rug to curl my toes into.... I could go on and on. But I'm interested to know whether this idea appeals to my fellow Reds and what they would need to make it perfect.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  Wouldn't it be loverly? Your selections sound pretty perfect, Rhys! Somehow...it doesn't appeal to me. Maybe because it sounds small? I don't know. Invite me to yours --can we have room for a guest or two?--and we'll see.  Does it have room service?  That could clinch it for me! And I would miss Jonathan.  Does it have electricity? A bathroom? Wireless internet?  I know, I am over-thinking...

JENN: YES! YES! YES! Please, may I have one? I'll give you chocolate. I'll be your best friend. Pleeeeeease! Do I sound desperate? I am only half kidding. I've joked before that I live in a frat house, but I swear I do. It's all huge basketball sneakers and hoodies littering the place, the constant grind of guitar riffs and drum beats, video game noise, sports on TV, and the ceaseless opening and closing of the refrigerator and pantry doors as they forage for food. Seriously, I am overrun with testosterone around here. I've seen pictures of these she sheds and I am in love. I'd have lace curtains, a bouquet of flowers, my grandmother's Haviland china, a small built in desk, shelves of books, a squashy chair to sit in, and room for my dogs to loll on the floor. If I had one of these, I'd probably never leave.

HALLIE EPHRON: Laughing, Jenn! Wait a few years... In my house, I'm the noise maker and maker of messes, such as they are. And a She Shed would be on more thing to clean. Paint. Roof. AAAAGGGGH! I would like a squashy chair for my office, which is my virtual she-shed, but there's no room.

LUCY BURDETTE: Hmmm, Do I need this? not sure, though you and Jenn make it sound adorable. Actually Jenn's frat house sounds like fun LOL. though I probably wouldn't last a day there... In my shed, I'd need homemade cookies and a full-length lounge. And Hank's questions are perfectly valid--no bathroom? That would not work for me! I'd definitely need dog and cat beds and places for all of you to sit too!


RHYS: Yes, it would definitely need a bathroom! I agree.Maybe even a soaking tub. And a porch to sit in the shade in a rocking chair. And a fireplace for winter. Oh wait, I'm describing a new house!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I have day-dreamed for years about turning our old shed (the original one-car garage) into a screened-in writing retreat. Does that count? It would have a stained-glass window set into the solid south-facing wall, to let in pretty light but still be private from the neighbors, and the north-facing wall would be screened. I'd have a little desk and a writing chair, a ceiling fan, a pretty outdoor rug, and a hanging bed. Have you seen those? Just for naps, of course. The dogs, of course, could come in with me, and I could enjoy pretty weather without mosquitos!

Alas, I think the old shed is too rickety, and it would require way too much money for a makeover, sigh. And I would have to cross the yard to use the bathroom...

INGRID THOFT: Given that I have no pets or children, and a generally quiet husband, I don't feel the need for a she-shed.  However, my office is not especially large, but is very cozy and restful, just as I would expect a she-shed would be.  I have a comfy rug, my desk, a print of a favorite John Singer Sargent painting, other favorite pictures and mementos, and books.  The kitchen and bathroom are close by, as is my hubby.  I do wish, like Hallie, there was room for a bigger chair.  Actually, full disclosure, I wish there were room for a daybed so that when inspiration isn't striking, I could take a brief snooze!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Like Debs, I have the makings of a she-shed on my property - two, in fact! They're both twelve-by-fifteen single-story Greek revival structures, with six-panel doors and original windows. Both were wired for electricity in the past, although the one closest to our barn - once the village post office - had its line cut in Hurricane Irene and it hasn't been replaced.

In fact, "Hasn't been replaced" is the problem with these two otherwise perfect she-sheds. Both have very leaky roofs, and consequently punky boards on the floor. Both are just cladding and clapboard on frames, with NO insulation whatsoever, making them too cold to use in Maine for nine months out of the year.  Worst of all, both get closed off by drifting snow in the winter, so if I were to use one, I'd have to shovel...and shovel...and shovel.

That being said, just as soon as I have 15 grand to spare (sometime after Youngest graduates college, I'm guessing) I'd love to upgrade them to real workable spaces. When I do, you're all invited to come on a writing retreat!



RHYS: So, Dear Readers, who has a She Shed? Who would like one?
(And Houston friends, I'll be at Murder by the Book tomorrow and the Woodlands Library on Wednesday!)

45 comments:

  1. No she-shed here; just a garden/tool shed, but I don’t mind. Cute as they are, I’m willing to pass on the she-shed . . . could I please have a sunroom instead?

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  2. No she-shed for me, either. I have what I need: a dedicated library room full of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves for my mystery books, a comfy chair and a view.

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  3. Back when I lived in the west Texas woods, I dreamed of carving out a space in our house that was mine alone. When we first moved in, I had the spare bedroom as a sewing room/office, and my husband had a downstairs room as his office. But, alas, he was something of a hoarder, and his stuff eventually crowded him out of his office, so he took over half of mine. I decided to counter that move by cleaning out his old office, and making it my sewing room but, as soon as there was space in there to move again, he saw it as a new place for the stuff that was piling up in the living room! Bye-bye, dreams of squashy editing chair and fabric stash closet! I would have loved a She Shed, so long as it had air conditioning. Now, of course, my husband has passed, I live in a much larger house, and I'm turning the whole place into my own special She Shed, with dogs, cats, a developing garden and--okay, I'll admit it--a ton of boxes that are largely his stuff that I have yet to sort through, clean out, and deal with. I think of it as my emotional baggage. I'm still carving out my own special place from a pile of his treasures.

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  4. Does an open-air tent count? We live in a all woman space (except for Tong Len, and he is neutered). We keep the windows curtained with rice paper to reduce the sun fading or furniture. I long for an open patio with fountains, and a fire pit, and the climate from Seattle in August.

    Julia, when you host the writer's retreat, can the reader's schedule a reader's retreat in the near by shed?

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  5. I'm looking out the kitchen window at the Leaning Garage of Rochester and wishing that windstorm of a few days ago had toppled it, so no "she shed" out there. Besides, we have to have a garage for cars. What a concept, huh?

    The nice thing about a big old house is that there are plenty of spots to claim. The attic is finished, complete with bathroom, there is a sun room off the living room and a dressing room off the master bedroom. And since we "did" the kitchen, there is a charging station for my computer, right next to the island. I love sitting here in the morning and checking out the online world, seeing what havoc our fearsome fuehrer has created with his darktime tweets, listening to NPR and drinking a latte. So I guess no she shed for me. Like Hallie, it's just another place to clean.

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  6. Alas, my shed also would be way too costly to renovate, but I have dreamt of a strawbale shed out back with a hobbit-sized door and trailing vines, inside a table to write on, shelves crammed with books, a pot-bellied stove, a pair of squashy chairs, somewhere to put up my feet. Oh,and a powder room and dorm-sized fridge and microwave--it's just a dream, why not?

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  7. Coralee, absolutely, readers are welcome, too!

    One thing I didn't mention about the topic is how funny the phrase "She Shed" sounds to my ear. Makes me think of a Faye Weldon title.

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  8. Gigi... your comment strikes such a chord with me. I have a husband who collects and saves, though I wouldn't say he's a hoarder. Fortunately he keeps his stuff (for the most part) under control and in "his" spaces. And he does have redeeming features. Sending you hugs.

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    1. Aw, thanks. He had redeeming features, too. I would have kept him if I could.

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  9. To prevent those thinking "Oh dear NO! from my earlier post, I should clarify Tong Len is a cat.

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    1. the name made me think Tong Len is a cat. A friend named her cat Keiko.

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  10. When we first bought our farm there was an adorable tack shed up by the paddock, which included a front porch overlooking a halfway nice view. But it had no electricity. For five years I lobbied to find a way to drag it the quarter-mile back to the house and reposition it closer to my garden. Finally, our tenant owed us rent, and since the entire economy in rural Kentucky works on barter, Steve asked him to move the shed for me. Which they did. Now it has a lovely view, perfect for sunset watching with a beverage, but the inside is a mess. And it still has no electricity, despite its close proximity to the pole. At least the garden tools are closer to where they get used now. And the bluebirds love to perch on top to spy out where the best caterpillars are in the garden, so that's a plus.

    In 1998 I was overseeing a kitchen addition to our house, and happened to discover a charming little book about an author who was learning to build his own writing hut, in Connecticut, if I remember correctly. Now he's famous for many books, including Botany of Desire and The Omnivore's Dilemma, but at the time I'd never heard of Michael Pollan. Reading his tale in A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder, kept me sane while our home was overrun with sweaty males for four months. And since then I've fantasized about having my own little writing house.

    But not building my own.

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  11. Julia, sign me up for the writers retreat. The Zreds have discussed retreats before athough how much writing we'd get done if we were together and there was wine..... Actually we have plenty of space in ourCalifirnia home and we are currently in our condo which I bought to write more productively in winter. It's the idea of a retreat that is all mine and whimsical and furnished with things that a man would think are silly that appeals

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  12. I love the idea of a detached building of my own, and like Debs and Julia I'd use it for writing. So long as it wasn't too far from the house I wouldn't mind the lack of a bathroom. It feels good to stretch my legs every few hours.

    I'd want to use it year-round, which means it would need to be insulated and have a source of heat. I think also a dedicated snow shoveler, a reliable neighborhood kid who would come clear a path immediately after every storm. This would give me access without having to shovel myself, and more time and energy to focus on writing.

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  13. I don't need a she-shed. One more thing to clean and maintain. What I would like is for The Boy to move out so I can have a writing space. There's a bathroom across the hall and a kitchen downstairs. Three and a half more years until he goes to college. And it has a bed!

    Wait, does all that make me sound like a bad mother? LOL

    Mary/Liz

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  14. A She-Shed sounds lovely but I imagine the dogs would follow me and then there'd be dog hair ... and dog toys. Then I know The Man and The Girl would barge in looking for something or the other.

    Maybe a She Cottage-in-the-Woods without a forwarding address. ;)

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  15. No she shed for me. I have a very large master bedroom with one windowed side where I have my writing habitat. Bookcases and book shelves are scattered around the bedroom. There is an outdoor shed, disorganized at the moment, but it has a workbench and all my power and hand tools. Yep, I'm the one who asks for power tools for gifts. Guess I could say I have the best of both worlds--my cozy writing habitat inside, my tools protected from the rain, but not climate controlled.

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  16. I don't have a particular need for a She-Shed, either, as an empty-nester who still hasn't downsized at all. I just wanted to comment my moral support for Jenn. There was a period where I lived with a husband and two late-teen aged males, so I feel your pain. (And I remember that there is a fair amount of joy intermingled with the pain.) Trust me, the day eventually comes when you get to have a few pretty things around without danger of destruction. I actually remember coming home at the end of the day and just marveling to find the house still as clean as when I left that morning!

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  17. I don't really need a she-shed or a man cave. I just need someone to clean my condo.

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  18. Rhys, I wish you were coming to Dallas!!!

    I think my She-shed would have to have a "no books" rule. I have a perfectly nice office upstairs (daughter's old bedroom) with a big desk, a chaise by the window, it's own adorable bathroom, and even a little microwave, mini-fridge, and tea-making station. But the desk is so covered with books that I'm not using it!! Time for a major purge.

    But the truth is that downstairs I have a gorgeous sunporch with ten windows (it was originally the screened sleeping porch in our old house) and since I bought a library table to use as a desk last year, I happily spend the whole day in the room. There is a very comfy sofa for essential naps, a beautiful view of the back garden, and it's right next door to the kitchen, handy for reheating the perpetual cup of tea.

    The thing I am missing is the screened porch...

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  19. PS I do love the photos of the little cottages, though.

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    1. Me too. Do you read Victoria magazine? They often have beautiful photos of gardens, little cottages, and living spaces.

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  20. A shed of my own. Tempting. We have no room to put it though. I'd settle or a dedicated room of my own. Our home has 3 bedrooms: the master for us, a guestroom my son is occupying while he goes to school, and a third my husband took over for his junk. Downstairs it is open, with a family room that flows into a dining room, then the kitchen. I have a corner of the kitchen for my desk and I guess that's my space. I would love my own hangout. I think that comes from growing up with 4 brothers and sisters!

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  21. I'd love a sun porch, Debs.
    In full disclosure I do have 2 rooms for my office but they are all business, reference books, book cases of my own books, file csbinets, printers. Boring

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  22. Full disclosure - I love the she sheds but what I really want is a tree house. One where I can pull up the ladder and no one can invade my fort. Yes, I'm actually eleven years old and holding.

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  23. Rhys, I am taking a break from reading In Farleigh Field (I realized it is NOT Fairleigh! ). I picture young Alfie as a young Roger Moore or a young Michael Caine who were around the same age as Alfie in 1941.

    Love your post about She Shed. I was reminded of a wonderful novel that I read for one of my university classes. it was a Virginia Woolf novel, "A Room of One's Own". I can imagine one of these tiny houses with a bathroom (actually a shower, not bath), a big bay window with a window seat and bookshelves under the window seat. I could have a lap desk with an attached pillow and write my stories with a pen and paper. I would have pillows behind my back and a nice headrest so that I will be comfortable. Yes, I will be sitting on the window seat with fuzzy warm socks. If there was a room for a table and desk, it would be one of these backless chairs, which is very modern. And the table can be adjusted for different levels, if I wanted to stand up for a while, then I could raise the level. There will be a small kitchen gallery with a dorm size fridge for snacks and an area for coffee/tea pot. There will be a small table with one chair for eating, whenever I need a break. Yes, my tiny house will have solar power! And a beautiful garden outside.

    Another possibility is a "cottage" similar to the cottage that the Welsh people built for Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret when they were little kids. it would be enough room for me to have an arm chair, writing materials, and a thermos for tea. And a half bathroom.

    One of my favorite magazines is Victoria magazine. They often have beautiful photos of living spaces.

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  24. Another possibility: carving out a space in your home. Like a basement in your house for a big armchair or a windowseat to relax in. If I had a dog, then I would set up an area for my dog with a dog bed and dog toys.

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  25. At present, my whole house is rather like my she-shed, with my husband living in Kansas for at least another year. I guess you could say that I have the run of the place, and it is lovely. However, I adore the she-sheds, and I might well need one when the hubby retires. I can imagine it with a little patio in front of it and fairy lights for great atmosphere. I do think a half bath might be a practical need to add. I've imagined having a little cottage on my daughter's land, where the grands could come and visit me to read and play games and such.

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  26. Jenn, have you seen "Treehouse Masters"? It think it's on HGTV. Our friends were on it and had a 'treehouse" installed in their backyard, and it's insane in terms of size and modern conveniences. You might want to just sell your house if you go that route!

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    1. Yes, I was addicted to it - that show started my obsession. How lucky your friends are!

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  27. Lovely topic! I would love a She Shed! I would include many of the things already listed - but to make it perfect, it would have to be somewhere fun in England for me to visit yearly!! AND - yes, I'm looking forward to seeing you again in Houston on Tuesday!! ❤️

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  28. Yes, now a tree house, THAT I would love. LOVE!

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  29. Oh yes, please - can I have a little shed where I can close myself off from the noise of basketballs and tv and boys asking for food. I would surround it with hydrangeas and climbing roses and make my own secret garden door where only I have the key :) Not that I would stay in there all day, because I'm sure I would miss the sound of basketballs and the tv ... But maybe long enough to get something written or just to have a cup of tea.

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  30. She shed sounds delightful, do I need one? No. Would I love one? YES - Absolutely it would need wi fi, a lovely porch, a mini fridge, a bathroom. electric, a writing desk a loveseat, a comfy reading chair and maybe a daybed. designing a house? Nah, just dreaming. Isn't that what this is all about. Capturing dreams.

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  31. I would looove my own writing space. I don't have an office in my house, and I find it so hard to be productive at home. I feel like a little writing cottage would be perfect for me, as long there's plenty of caffeine and snacks. A nice big desk, comfy chairs, central air and heating, and a place to put all my books...Heaven.

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  32. Jenn, I've always wanted a tree house!!! Now there's a thought--a REDs tree house:-)

    And Mia, I vote no wifi in the She Shed. I'd love to have a little spot where I could completely get away from it all...

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    1. Agreed! A Reds treehouse and no wifi - heaven!

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  33. Oh, yes. But I live in LA and a car is like a pocketbook. My wish list might go, she shed/car? Car/she shed? . It would be a toss up for sure. .

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  34. Another idea:

    perhaps set up something like a wigwam or teepee (kind of a tent that Native Americans set up). Set up comfortable sitting area with writing materials.

    And it will be in the garden within walking distance to the powder room in the main house.

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  35. Wonder if toy stores sell materials for a child size cottage so I could set up a writer's retreat. Small, though still comfortable?

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