Interview with Erika Kotite, author of She Sheds A Room of Your Own
I was lucky enough to ask Erika a few questions about her inspiration for writing She Sheds: A Room of Your Own. Erika is a magazine editor, book developer and former editor of Romantic Homes and Victorian Homes magazine and lover of old homes. Along with her husband has restored several historic homes including a Los Angeles 1920’s Tudor.
- What inspired you to write a book about She Sheds?
As the editor of Romantic Homes and Victorian Homes some years ago I was always captivated by outbuildings. There was something so cool about a little mini structure near a house, used for tools or gardening pots or whatever. Then I started hearing about these self-same structures turned into women's spaces! The light turned on. I saw the beautiful possibilities and loved the idea of us women finding sanctuary in our own back yards. My publisher approached me about authoring a book on the subject and I jumped. It was going to be mostly inspirational but I insisted on including a chapter on building one myself. You have to mix inspiration with practical to give the best value; I'm so glad I went through the process myself.
- I know you loved all the sheds featured in your book for various reasons, what was your favorite and why?
I love Dinah Lundbeck's shed (p. 82) for its aesthetic and for the way Dinah uses it. That interior with its soft minty walls just thrills me every time I look at it (and I've looked at it a LOT). Dinah filled her she shed with family photos and sometimes she simply "lies on the day bed and communes quietly with family members, both living and gone." I must also put a plug in for the one my sister-in-law Karin and I built (p. 124). We worked really hard and were so pleased with the final result. I lost my brother Garwood very young about 3 years ago and so building this she shed for his wife and putting in some of his old antique bottles on one of the shelves, was very special
- What are your Top Tips for planning out a creative getaway
- Start a Pinterest board to gather ideas for your shed before you start.
- Make sure you have enough space in your back yard for a she shed. Think about how you will integrate your pretty shed with the landscaping as a whole. Done right, these little structures really enhance the yard.
- DON'T SKIMP ON WINDOWS; if you buy a kit shed without windows (or icky ones), start looking for good ones on craigslist or haunt your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
- Design the furnishings that will support what you plan to do in your she shed. Writing? A sturdy desk top with comfortable chair and good lighting. Art? Plenty of open space, light walls and storage containers. Gardening? A deep work surface for pots, tools and plants
- Why do you think more women are creating backyard retreats vs a home office?
Being inside your house means being accessible (to some extent) to others, no matter what. Especially if you have small children. That's not a bad thing at all; the she shed simply moves one small, inner part of your life a bit farther away. A detached dwelling has the sense of complete ownership and privacy. Its purpose is to serve only you, when you need it. You decide how it looks, where everything goes and whether or not to clean up at the end of the day. These are very compelling reasons that women are deciding to build she sheds for themselves. As one owner put it, "I can't tell you the value of it - it expanded my capacity to think, create and breathe - and that seeped into all other aspects of my life. It's a very special feeling."
Thank you Erika for taking the time to share your thoughts on She Sheds. Guys, this is a fantastic book and truly inspiring! Erika was also kind-of enough to offer my readers a copy of the book, not one but two copies of She Sheds A Room of Your Own is up for grabs! One book for you and one book for a friend! The book is available now on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.
Question: What is your She Shed style and how would you use your space?