When Martha Knake’s two girls were small, her father decided to build them a playhouse. The result was a charming structure with a high peaked roof, wood siding and shutters on the windows. For years the girls and their friends played endlessly in the backyard, using the little house for games, make-believe and even the occasional sleepover.
By 2017 the little house stood, still sturdy but a bit shabby around the edges, years after the girls became too old to play in it. Looking out her kitchen window one day, Martha noticed how cute and serene the little place was, made extra special because it had been lovingly built by her father. She walked in, brushed aside the cobwebs and looked around. It was time to claim the space as her own.
(Tip: Thinking of building a playhouse for your children or grandchildren? Scale it up a bit so that one day it can be converted into a she shed.)
Today Martha’s she shed is a superstar, offering both a quiet getaway as well as a pretty canvas on which to celebrate the holidays and try out various home decor products. It has also attained the status of Calendar Girl, featured in our 2022 She Shed Living calendar as Ms. February.
Grown-Up Touches for a Cozy Getaway
Martha’s style is simple, cozy and charming, which is why her Instagram feed goes by the same adjectives. She is also very, very tidy. Out came the junk, old toys, worn furniture and the she shed was given a new coat of cream paint on the inside and a soft gray on the outside. For the door, Martha gave a nod to the shed’s playful and girly origins with a couple coats of soft pink.
The shed enjoys being the center of attention in a striking and expansive backyard. Behind it, the Illinois sky offers many colorful sunsets, billowing rain clouds and even some snowstorms to create endless beauty (and some pretty terrific photo ops). String lights and a circle of inviting pavers beckon friends and family who may stop by and pause for refreshment on pleasant days.
During the last few years Martha’s work as a home decor and organizing influencer has really taken off. She spends a lot of her time on home projects, DIY ideas and also evaluating new products. The shed took a back seat for awhile but never is neglected, especially during the holidays. A recent Reel shows Martha hanging up the pine garland, the door wreath and planting a couple of small Christmas trees in the large white urns. When she does begin using the shed regularly again, Martha is fortunate that it is fully wired, insulated and even has wifi.
Last year, Martha’s mother surprised her with an exquisite miniature version of her shed. This prized possession is in the house and reminds Martha both of her daughters’ childhood as well as the special gifts that both of her parents bestowed upon her.
“It’s super special because my dad built it for his granddaughters,” Martha says. “He didn’t have a clue 20 years ago that his daughter would enjoy it after the granddaughters outgrew it.”
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