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She-sheds grow in popularity as women seek time out from everyday stresses posted on the 28th June 2016

This week, Ipswich & Logan Granny Flats, the expert builders of granny flats in SE Qld, salutes the hard-working females of our world and are here to offer an innovative escape. It’s the equivalent of a man-cave, where you can escape crying babies, the clothing on the floor that you swear you just neatly folded and all that dreaded housework.

We’re pretty sure you’re going to want a ‘She-Shed’ after reading…(So call Sonia!)

June 25, 2016
The Daily Telegraph | Aidan Devine

A DEMAND for “she sheds” — the female take on a man cave — has sparked a surprising building phenomenon.

The trend has seen women in Australia and around the world erect private sanctuaries in their gardens to escape the stresses of modern life and spend time away from their partners and families.

The structures they are building tend to be more elaborate than the basic tin sheds men have traditionally used for stowing things such as power tools and range from cabins carved from pink wood and old French doors to $110,000 granny flats.

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Custom sheds designer Rob Martin of Unique Smart Sheds said his company alone has been engaged in 20 projects where women have commissioned a backyard space to call their own.

“Every one of them had a different need for it. They’re using the sheds for almost everything,” ” he said.

Landscaper Olaf von Sperl of Adore My Garden is into his second she-shed project and agreed that the trend is picking up, particularly in Australia, due to our large backyards and sunny climate.

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He recently designed a she-shed with a grassy roof outside artist Cindy Goode Milman’s home in Avalon and is working on a similar feminine retreat for a yoga instructor living nearby, which is set to be made from recycled material.

“These kinds of garden spaces are popping up all over the place now,” Mr von Sperl told The Saturday Telegraph.

Part of their popularity is that they give women an opportunity to enjoy their gardens with minimal interference, and to pursue creative projects.

Natalie Holt has a she-shed out the back of her Bangalow home and said she had always wanted a space she could use in the same way men use garages or rooms they’ve turned into man caves.

“It’s my little sanctuary,” she said.

“I go there when I want an escape.”

Building the shed was also a way to pursue her passion of finding new uses for recycled materials, she said.

Her shed is built from repurposed weatherboards and windows that she found in salvage yards and even has a solar-powered chandelier.

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Lisa Rindell owns a similar she-shed in Coffs Harbour made from old farmhouse timbers and pressed tin and said her partner has been one of its biggest advocates.

“He gets it,” she said. “He has his ‘lair’ where he keeps his tools. This is mine.

“Sometimes I’ll sit inside with a glass of chardonnay, but most of the time I go there just to think. The rest of the family knows not to come in when the door is closed.”

Sisters Alana and Madi Smithies have a slightly different take on the concept.

They have a custom-built granny flat in the garden of their Newport home, which has become something of a social headquarters for the local surf lifesaving club.

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“It’s great for entertaining friends,” Madi said.

“It’s full of our pictures from coastal holidays and it’s got a real ‘beachy’ feel.”

The granny flat has made it easier for the sisters to continue living with their parents.

“It helps us enjoy our own space,” Ms Smithies said.

The rise of she-sheds has mirrored growth in the backyard building industry.

Government data showed the number of NSW properties with secondary structures grew 260 per cent between 2009 and 2014 and 20 per cent from 2014 to 2015.

The desire for a recreational structure drove part of that growth.

A Gateway Credit Union survey revealed she-sheds, man caves and teen retreats trumped home offices and guest accommodation as intended uses for secondary dwellings or granny flats.

Gateway CEO Paul Thomas said more people are realising “the lifestyle value sitting in their backyard”.

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Written by Sonia Woolley