She-Shed Take 1: A Renovation Saga

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….oh, wait.

That’s a different story.

This story begins a little closer to home, definitely on this planet.

And it’s a story with a lot of history and back story. Have you ever received a gift that was in such disrepair had so much sentimental value attached to it that you felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of accepting it? That’s how this story starts. With the gift of my very own she-shed. But not just any she-shed. No modern, Amish-built sheds delivered on the back of a trailer for this girl. Oh no. 

old shed with asphalt siding and totes

My she-shed started its life in the early 1900s as a smokehouse. It was built by my husband’s grandparents at the same time as the home in which they lived until their passing. Around the mid-1950s, my father-in-law and his brother lifted the smokehouse off of the ground and placed a concrete block foundation. At this time, they also poured the concrete floor, and the smokehouse transformed into a workshop. In the mid-1990s the workshop transformed into a bunkhouse for the guys to visit the property and hunt. Most recently, it had transformed into a storage building (i.e. dumping spot for all of the things.)

all the things

But, it was free and my husband decided that it would make a great spot for me and my paint collection to spend our alone time together. What he didn’t take into account was my determination to make it “a room of my own.”

Bless his heart.

It hurt him a little when I started cutting huge holes in the walls of his family’s historical building.

she shed with large hole cut out for a window

I’m fairly certain that I heard whimpering.

But I had a vision, and I was determined to bring it to life. My Pinterest board was a study in light and airy she-sheds. The kind of she-sheds that make for fabulous photographs but would be a nightmare to clean up after a sanding and painting session. Then there were pins like this sweet shed makeover from FarmhouseMade:

she shed inspiration

Unfortunately, my she-shed renovation was going to require a bit more work than a fresh coat of paint, new shelves, and pretty lighting. My she-shed has what we like to call “character”. And luckily for it, I happen to adore “character”. I grew up in a charming old farmhouse, full of interesting nooks and crannies, which is where the bees, mice, and snakes liked to hang out. But I had a lot of wonderful memories of exploring that house and all its hidden treasures. I watched first my grandmother, and then my aunt, transform our farmhouse from a ramshackle building with only one sink for running water, into a lovely home complete with two fully functional bathrooms, heating and air conditioning. I saw family treasures, chipped and peeling, hauled away and returned to us shining and refreshed. I felt that my experience observing those transformations, and living most of my life in that character-filled house, made me uniquely qualified to tackle a full-blown makeover for this little she shed.

That’s what I get for thinking, as my grandmother would say. It always seems so easy on paper, doesn’t it?

Welcome to the story of The Vixens Den, replete with a healthy dose of humble pie. Let’s jump into the best part of almost any project: making the plan.

But first, what would you do with a space like this? Leave a comment below with your ideas for a smokehouse-workshop-bunkhouse-storage shed. Do you think that the history and unique character of a building warrants the extra cost and time of renovating it?

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