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He said/she shed

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What happens when your spouse takes over the house and you feel like there’s no space to call your own? Until recently, tradition called for married women to bear the lion’s share of décor responsibilities, leaving husbands out of the equation—until the men fought back claiming unused space as their own, and the first “man cave” reared its ugly head. Loosely defined as “a male sanctuary in a home,” the man cave usually pops up in what was once a messy basement or cluttered garage, morphing into a game room/media suite, or just plain “no girls allowed”-type clubhouse for overgrown frat boys and their toys. Tufts University’s Paula Aymer calls it “the last bastion of masculinity.” While the man cave might have provided a solution for the guys, they are not alone in wanting a spot to be, well—alone. Enter the she shed, where every night is ladies’ night and men are turned away at the gate.

When I suggested to my friend Gayle that she had a perfect spot for a she shed, she said I was nuts. “Just what I need, another room to clean.” But when I explained to Gayle that the sheds are often still for gardening, and always detached from the house, she warmed to the idea of an outdoor retreat. If you already have a shed on the property, it’s easy to empty out and start over, but there is a dizzying array of outdoor structures from which to choose at your local home improvement store, modular home sites and even in kit form from catalogues and online outlets, providing lots of options. What’s important is that it’s just for women: be it designed for solitude or as a spot to socialize, the tables have turned and there are no men allowed. Since it was my idea, Gayle let me help, but it quickly became a he-said/she-said tug-of-war as to how it should look, and what purpose it ultimately should provide. “Of course, that’s up to you,” he said. “Darn right,” she said. “Now fetch me a broom. There’s work to be done.”

[Special thanks to Gayle’s Vintage Goodes for assistance. To see this she shed in person, or hunt for treasures to fill your own, visit www.gaylesvintagegoodes.net or call 845/866-3663.]

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