A Room of One’s Own: A Tour of 3 Local She Sheds

By Shelby Deering | Photos by Holly Leitner

You may have heard the term “She Sheds” becoming more widespread in recent years, highlighted on Pinterest, Instagram or HGTV.

But what is it exactly? Essentially, it’s a small private space for a personal backyard retreat, and a She Shed’s uses are as varied as their owners.

Whether it’s a converted gardening shed, a greenhouse or a prefab or purpose-built structure, a She Shed (or “He Shed,” as the case may be) allows people to indulge in their favorite hobbies or get some work done in a space separate from the daily hustle and chores of the home space. These backyard sanctuaries may offer views of idyllic surroundings, and the interiors provide a peaceful, private and stylish space conducive to enhanced focus and creativity.

These types of spaces became even more popular during the pandemic, and their appeal continues to grow. As Holly Leitner-Marquis, She Shed owner and At the Lake photographer, puts it: “A She Shed is all about having a room of one’s own. A space to do the thing that really resonates with your soul. Away from the house, the laundry, kids and endless lists.”

A Gardener’s Haven

In East Troy, Instagrammer Mikaela Stewart (@so_sheddy) has curated a shed filled with collected heirlooms, handmade décor and vintage pieces discovered at flea markets. But Stewart says it’s not just a “She” Shed — it’s also where she spends time with her husband, Blake, and their corgi, Percy. Starting with a distinctive green hue for the door, the couple built a fresh color palette around it as they renovated the shed. They also had a goal for the shed to act as “a charming extension” of their garden and backyard entertaining area.

“Plants and vegetable gardening are our passion, and we wanted to create a space that we could share with family and friends,” Stewart says. “When we started making our own mini bread loaves with zucchini from the garden, we leaned in to our new hobby by naming them ‘She Shed Bread.’”

A Colorful Oasis

Overlooking a beautiful pond on the southeast side of Lake Geneva, Lisa Lasch crafted a She Shed that she calls her “little slice of contentment.” For this special spot, she chose the name “Sitooterie,” a Scottish term that refers to a small building where people can enjoy the outdoors. With its diminutive size, playful colors and proximity to nature, Lasch says she thinks of her She Shed as something right out of Alice in Wonderland.

The Sitooterie’s primary function is to host outdoor picnics and card games Lasch plays with her sisters and grandchildren. To boost the sense of fun, she opted for bright hues to deck out the She Shed — the bolder, the better. And with windows that open to balmy breezes, it’s also where Lasch loves to sip sangria and lemonade in the spring and summer. “My goal was to have a destination to relax and unwind,” she says. “I have a flower farm and rarely do I stop working in the summer to just sit. The Sitooterie is there beckoning me to slow down.”

A Bespoke Retreat

When At The Lake’s photographer and image editor Holly Leitner-Marquis set out to create a She Shed in her lush, expansive backyard in Lake Geneva, she didn’t want to go with anything that was “typical.” That’s why she chose to have her She Shed custom-built to match her home and fit her preferences. “I needed an office space, which justified the build, and I wanted a space to make art,” she says. “I hadn’t made art for art’s sake in years.”

A wall of nearly floor-to-ceiling windows maximizes natural light. Additional luxe details like a wine fridge, heated flooring and Bose speaker create a petite haven for both art- making and work, and an open-concept design lends itself to yoga sessions as well. Leitner-Marquis explains that the decor is inspired by moments that have shaped her life: trinkets from trips to Europe, photo booth memories with friends, vintage family photos, pieces from her first art show, framed words of wisdom and coasters from favorite bars around the world stand alongside new art projects.

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