The spring lockdowns were incredibly challenging. Juggling online learning for the kids, keeping up the house, and… trying not to succumb to almost incapacitating fear. The summer at least allowed time to play outdoors, host socially distant BBQs, and return to some semblance of normalcy. But, now that winter has arrived and COVID-19 cases are surging nationwide, we are once again hunkered down in our houses, working from home, learning online and slowly driving each other crazy. If you need an escape (and frankly, don’t we all?), a winter she shed may be the answer!
A winter she shed offers the perfect place to retreat when the conflicting demands of today’s new normal all become a little too much. As the antidote to the traditional man cave, a she shed can be used as a home office, a crafting or artistic space, or a yoga studio. During the winter, it can also become a place to stash gifts, secretly finish your holiday wrapping, address Christmas cards, or just read and dream in peaceful solitude, which – even before the pandemic – was always in short supply during the holiday season.
A winter she shed requires a bit more effort than a simple space that is used when the weather is fine. But, with a little help, you can turn an existing space into a haven this winter. A note: the name “she shed” is a bit of a misnomer. This is your personal space. So, use whatever is available! A detached garage, a potting shed, or a lean-to can all be pressed into service.
Let there be light! A winter she shed needs lots of natural light
With sunset arriving at about 5:00 pm here in the Northeast, the dark days of winter can be downright depressing. During the winter, pay special attention to a she shed’s windows and skylights. Many pre-fab sheds have no windows at all, which necessitates leaving the doors open when in use. Fine in July. Not so great in December!
If purchasing new, it’s worth the extra expense to have adequate windows already in place. And, windows or skylights can also be installed in existing structures. Maximize your budget by shopping at the ReStore, which carries a huge selection of pre-loved windows in all shapes and sizes (this great organization benefits Habitat for Humanity). Another quick fix to bring in much-needed light is to replace solid entrance doors with French doors.
Keeping your winter she shed cozy
Insulation is another essential as the temperatures plummet. For best results, you will need to insulate both the floor and the walls. If you insulate your shed roof, be sure to leave ventilation space, especially in heated sheds. This is important because condensation will form without adequate ventilation when the heat rises, leading to the growth of mold and potential wood rot.
When insulating the ceiling, leave a 2” gap above the insulation. Eaves should also have ventilation to ensure adequate air and moisture exchange.
Adding a rug will also keep the floor of your shed toasty. Plus, a rug creates “visual warmth,” as does a mantel. And, don’t forget drapes and wall hangings/tapestries, which can provide both physical insulation and visual warmth.
Heat it up!
If you already have electricity and heat, you are way ahead of the game. No electricity? You can run electricity from your home’s outside outlets using a heavy duty UL rated outdoor cord. Safety is crucial. So, if you are using a space heater, remember to never overload outlets, pay special attention to placement and never put a heater near anything flammable. Also, never run the heater when you are not in the structure, and never ever use propane or kerosene heaters indoors. (for more information on space heater safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association).
Turning winter she sheds into a holiday havens
A she shed is a truly personal expression of style. And Christmas offers a wonderful opportunity to decorate exactly to your taste. If your home is a compromise (taking into consideration a partner’s taste in furnishings, as well as the needs of children or pets) this is the chance to really let loose.
Add a personal tree. Display your childhood toys and treasures. Swag bunting. Hang a wreath. Make it charming, make it fun, make it yours this winter.
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