Design Trends 2017- She Sheds vs. Man Caves

Customized, Gender-specific spaces for work and play

January 12, 2017

When Joy Wilkins decided to renovate an old storage structure into a “she shed” to house her jewelry business, she found that what was important to her—quiet location, private setting, attractive landscaping—wasn’t even on her husband’s radar. Wilkins’ husband, Jerry, president of Custom Kitchens by John Wilkins, in Oakland, Calif., and an avid race car enthusiast, had his own tricked-out man cave.

“Jerry had his man cave in the garage with a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a sound system, bright lights, and open access to the front set up for entertaining,” Wilkins says. “I just wanted a simple getaway where I could enjoy some privacy, and a place where my creativity can blossom.”

With the soaring popularity of she sheds—the female version of man caves—remodelers are finding distinct gender differences when it comes to renovating “retreat” spaces. Many women want a secluded escape, while men prefer to entertain friends. Women tend to value simplicity over high-tech gadgetry, and while men appreciate the fun atmosphere of a game room, they don’t place much value on decorative landscaping, which is high on most women’s list of desirables.

Here, Pro Remodeler highlights some of those key differences in a visual journey through customized gender-specific spaces. See more ideas here.


Basements to Brag About


Rule4 recently had the privilege of designing and renovating a large basement for a customer in Howard County MD.  The “blank canvas” was a great opportunity for Rule4 to show off their skills with both professional design and superior construction.  This piece is about blowing our trumpet and sharing our and more importantly, our customer’s delight for the finished project!


The customer is a professional Basketball player who has played in the European leagues for a number of years.   He also lived in Madrid, Spain for part of his career and this influenced his ideas and requirements.  What he wanted was a sports themed entertainment area, a changing and restroom facilities for users of the outdoor pool and a dance studio for his daughters.   This large 3,600 sq ft basement was the final project to be tackled in this 2 year old home.


Case Study : Utilizing A Large Amount of Space

Such a large area needs careful thought at the design and layout stage.  The requirements themselves were relatively simple but Rule4 needed to inject flare and imagination into the design to ensure that the flow of the different areas in the space worked well and still satisfied the desires of the customer.   When it came to the details the customer was clear on colors and selections, but Mark Hendricks at Rule4 was able to suggest additional design details such as the drop down box ceiling in the main game area to add additional interest and improve final aesthetics.


The Final Details

Here are some of the final details and finishes that you might be interested in, all paint colors are from Benjamin Moore.  Contact Allison Ellis at Rule4 if you want more information

To view the full project visit


Family Room – A cozy area to relax with the kids in front of the TV.  Warm wall to wall carpeting and relaxing easy chairs add the final feel to this room.  Wall color Sag Harbor Grey (HC-95) completes the look.








Game and  Entertainment Area – A large area, maybe  best described as a “Man-Cave” including a poker table and pool table.  Hardwood engineered veneer flooring in
American Hickory sets the scene and is complimented by use of warm paint  colors.  Walls are Ashley Gray (HC-87)  and the ceiling a combination of Fairview Taupe (HC-85) and Decorators White  (CC-20).  Merillate MasterCraft Cabinets  in Vintage Onxy and Netuno natural granite counter tops enhance the bar and  entertainment area.  Kitchen Aid
appliances finish off the slick look.






Gymnasium/Dance  Studio – An area for fitness but also a dance studio for the customer’s  two daughters who love ballet .  Soft Chinchilla (2135-50)  for the walls makes the room seem energized yet calm.  24×24 rubber flooring is perfect for working  out and engineered hardwood is perfect for the dancers in the family.





Media Room – The black ceiling combined with Dinner Party (AF-300) on the walls gives
the right atmosphere for this space.  The red onyx bar
top includes LED up lights which hightlight the beautiful natural finish of the
counter top.





Wine Closet – Prismo Dunes (AC-32) is the perfect complement to the Hillstone Verona  stone finish around the arches and on the walls.  The intimate wine tasting area leads through
custom made, monogrammed doors to the 900 bottle capacity environmentally  controlled wine cellar.









Spa Bath (NEAR GYM)  – The wall color, Hillside Green (495) with bamboo  vanity and mirror make the perfect combination here.   The final look is completed with the Black
Granite vanity counter top and beautiful stone vessel sink.



Game Rooms to Smile About

Family room, man cave, game room or plain old basement – whatever you call that underground space in your home – it’s a great thing to have.

Sometimes, however, it’s not quite the dream space you want.  Rule4 has renovated a number of basements. The one featured here is leaning towards the games/trophy room idea but we have also worked on the more traditional family room style as well as installations of  gyms and exercise rooms.

Mark Hendricks our professional in house designer can take your ideas and requirements and turn them into a great working space for your home.