I remodeled my husband’s office in the woods into a perfect she-shed getaway and work space for me! Moreover, I tried to do as much as I could “on a shoestring”, repurposing and buying second-hand when possible.
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Back in December, in the midst of holiday craziness, I had an out-of-nowhere moment of inspiration to transform my husband’s neglected office in the woods into my own personal she-shed work space.
A handful of years ago, my husband and his dad built a shed in the back corner of our property using mostly reclaimed windows and very basic materials. We affectionately nicknamed it his “little office in the woods”. It was a lovely place to work– quiet and serene. It was, however, a little utilitarian for me.
My husband’s work changed a couple of years ago, and having a quiet place to read and write was no longer as essential. So the office was largely left alone.
I decided that it was time to give the little office in the woods a facelift and a new life. After all, I definitely would enjoy a quiet place to think and work…
She-Shed On A Shoestring
I pitched the idea of working together on making the office my own to my good friend Sue (@thatswhatsuesays on Instagram). Sue is a pro shopper and deal getter, and has a great eye for style and design.
Sue and our friend Liz came over mid-January to hang out, and while the kids ran wild around the yard, I showed them the shed and we started to cast a vision for what it could be like.
The catch? I wanted to try and repurpose, buy used, and make-do as much as possible. My “she-shed on a shoestring”.
Like I mentioned before, the office was previously my husband’s space. He chose the paint color, the wall art, and built two simple desks– one to sit at, and one for standing.
The yellow paint color was never my favorite, but he said it was a happy color and that was what mattered.
I took the pictures below on the day the girls and I checked out the state of the office. It needed a cleaning, but at least you get an idea of what it started like.
Over the next couple of months, I stripped everything out of the office, we brainstormed, pitched ideas and paint colors, and before too long, the girls were back in the shed with me rolling on a couple coats of paint. (That I did not spend any money on! More on that in a moment).
I was able to find many items at the thrift store and shopped my basement for others, but I did decide that there were a few things that were worth getting new. And building ourselves.
Keep scrolling to see the incredible transformation of my she-shed. It truly is such a lovely, peaceful space and I’m so happy with how it turned out. It’s not perfect and there are a few cut-corners”, but honestly, that’s just me. I don’t mind imperfections and just shrug my shoulders at the “rustic charm” of a cinderblock step and the paint handprint next to the door.
I chose a very calm light green for the walls. With three of the walls being almost completely windows looking out into the woods, I wanted a color that would complement the expansive green of the trees.
The color is a Valspar color called “Morning Zen”. While shopping my basement to see what we could repurpose, Sue and I found a promising stash of paint cans. One gallon of paint was an eggshell finish that had never been tinted. Lowes was so good to shake the paint and add tint for free!
In addition to the paint for the walls, I also found a can of gray paint that was still a little over halfway full. I had purchased that paint for some wooden benches my husband built several years ago to use in our dining room. The benches had been stored in the basement for at least a couple of years, but one of them would be perfect in the she-shed. That is, after it had a fresh coat of paint too.
I took the gray paint to Lowes as well and had them add additional tint to darken the gray as much as possible. I used the (now) dark gray to paint the bench (see below), and the legs of my new desk.
I found the three chairs at a thrift store one night. While I know that Sue would probably have done a little more shopping around to make sure we got the best finds we could, I considered it to be delightful serendipity to find not one or two chairs, but three chairs that I really liked all in one store on one night. I don’t have a lot of extra time to go thrift shopping, so I snagged the chairs right away.
I spent $35 on a rolling desk chair, a low rocking chair, and a straight back chair. At this point I haven’t altered them in any way, other than taking off the price stickers and wiping them down a bit. Realistically, I probably won’t do anything else. (Don’t judge. This isn’t a home decor blog).
As for the desk, my husband and I build it together! We spent a Sunday afternoon working on it together. It was a lot of fun, I learned to use a few new power tools, and it’ll be a memory I always have.
We used free building plans from Average but Inspired. I love the large flat surface for spreading out my computer and planner and books, with the “hidden” storage compartments underneath!
The square flower painting was one of the first pieces I bought that gave me a better idea of the color scheme I wanted to go with. The painting was $25 at Hobby Lobby (after the 40% coupon).
On the wall opposite the flowers, I hung a beautiful calendar from GraceLaced. I love her calendars, and well, all her artwork. I give them every year as Christmas gifts.
The wall on the other side of the door has a small gallery wall with pictures and frames I shopped from around my house. I love how they all came together. The “She Shed” sign was a fun surprise gift from my friend Liz!
You can see the bench I re-homed from my basement in the pictures above. It is the perfect size to fit under the windows and provide more space to sit, and more storage space underneath. The square pillows on the end of the bench were shopped in my house. The long pillow is a body pillow I found for $10 at Target and covered with a pillowcase that matched the color scheme.
The rainbow pillow was a bit of a splurge at World Market, but I loved it, the colors matched, and it felt like a nod to my friend Sue who is obsessed with all things rainbow.
As for the baskets under the bench, they were also shopped from around my house. The clear boxes hold snacks, cleaning supplies, special activities for the kids when they visit, and … one is still empty.
I knew I wanted to keep the deer skull that was hanging in the office when it was my husband’s space. It’s a nod to the origins of my she-shed. The tassel banner was another fun buy at Target ($12). I love the fun, whimsy touch it makes.
I found the sheer gray curtains at World Market– $10 each. The sun comes in through those windows in the evening, and being able to diffuse the light is important. The curtain rod I hung them on, though, was free. Another basement find.
The macrame plant hanger was handmade by a friend’s daughter, and purchased in the fall at our Wild & Free group’s craft sale. It was waiting for a place to be hung, and the she-shed was the perfect home.
Finally, the rug and the ceiling. I wanted to cover the plastic on the ceiling as economically and easily as possible…so I used a king sized flat bedsheet. I nailed it nice and taut, then zigzagged white Christmas lights back and forth from the nails. Again, both the sheet and the lights could probably be nicer, and definitely could be more expensive, but that wasn’t my goal. It is fun and pretty and just right for me.
The rug is the final item to share, and definitely the one that I shopped around for the longest, and spent the most on. However, having a rug on the floor was a non-negotiable for me because I really felt like it would make my office feel much more put together and welcoming than just a shed in the woods.
I hope you enjoyed this before and after! I love a good project, and of course, love enjoying the fruits of the work. Maybe this is inspiring to you to take a neglected space and give it fresh life, or to think of new ways to use what you already have. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the she-shed, or what projects are currently keeping you busy!
Share with us in the comments…