Shabby Chic summerhouse – my she shed, woman cave, garden hideaway…

Shabby Chic summerhouse – my she shed, woman cave, garden hideaway…

Summerhouse project – part 1

It started as a second-hand summer house needing several repairs. Was it destined to be my she shed? My woman cave? My garden hideaway? You know how it goes – ideas are plentiful so why is it that getting started is sometimes the most difficult bit?

Apparently, my aspirations were getting a little (much!) too big. My original plans were well out of our reach so my husband and I were in the garden one day, looking at a boring patch of grass at the bottom of the garden, when said “OK, what CAN we afford to do with it?”. By the next day he had assembled a level base and we felt we were on our way – I was ridiculously excited!!


At this stage, all I knew was that I wanted the outside to be a nice soft grey and I fancied some sort of simple framework outside to which I could tie fabric in the summer and plenty of wild looking plants to ground it all.

Internally, I love the all-white kind of shabby chic so I relished this as a good opportunity to throw practicality out of the window and go purely for what I like. Honestly, when else do any of us have an opportunity to do that?! I had collected plenty of magazine pics along the way…


Ideas I wanted to incorporate:

Table or just chairs? Fold up and hang on the wall shabby-shaker-style?

Mirror – vinegar to age it? Lean against wall, not hanging

Shabby Chic summerhouse she shed, woman cave, garden hideaway

Small bookcase/shelving. Shallow cupboard? Probably not enough room.

Plenty of white curtaining, tablecloths & other white linens (loads living in that suitcase under my bed)

Shabby Chic summerhouse she shed, woman cave, garden hideaway

Wicker baskets? A ladder to no-where – I love them!

Lighting – no electric – candles. Hurricane lantern perched on top of a pole for a “standard lamp” effect? I would need a pole…

Bird cages (currently used as hanging baskets – would need a quick paint)

Glass jars (white beach pebbles, shells, buttons…)

Wreaths – have the rabbits eaten all the willow or is there some left for us?

A few pretty cups? Or would that ruin the white theme?

White & silver bits and bobs.


Grey chicken wire somewhere?

Glass, glass and more glass. Yeah, I think I probably have enough dotted around the house already…

summer house she shed womancave

I also had a head board (varnished pine at present but we could soon change that!) which I wouldn’t mind incorporating somehow. Of course, I’d love a false fireplace and some way of aging the window frame and glass. A butler’s sink and a daybed would be beautiful… and there I go, getting ideas above my station again…

So, I spent many a lovey hour gathering together fabrics (turfing out cupboards & under the bed mainly), ornaments, candles and anything glass or silver. Talk about being in my element.

summerhouse she shed woman cave


Oooooh – look at these bits I picked up –I  couldn’t believe my luck as they were perfect:

Glass light fitting – from a junk/second-hand shop.

The shop owner obviously didn’t like it much and priced it accordingly. Wiring looked pretty dubious but that was fine – and safe – since my summer house wouldn’t have electricity! It was surprisingly heavy (glass rather than plastic) so it would need to be mounted on a piece of old board or similar. Several droplets missing but I could move the ones that were there to the front to make the most of them. I knew that, if worst came to worst and the whole thing fell apart when I fiddled with it, I’d just use the glass rings (no idea what they’re called!) and droplets on some other candle sticks. I would see about that nearer the time.


Coffee service pieces – from a charity shop.

On the same shelf was a ‘good’ set and this set – both exactly the same except the lid on this one was broken in 2 places, making this set only one third of the price of the other. Ideal! I could fix the lid or just pop some flowers in it and leave the top off. We’d see…



And, my sister gave me this lovely tablecloth last Easter (she has a real knack for finding me tablecloths!). It’s quite sheer with daisies all over. Don’t you find, sometimes, that one item could be used in SO many ways that it takes you forever to decide what to do with it?


And my lady here – I’ve had her for years but she hadn’t been looking great since her encounter with a football. I couldn’t grow her another hand or un-break her pot, but I still liked her overall shape.


In an effort to age her, I did paint her with natural yoghurt once – firstly the cat kept licking it off (yuck!) then the rain washed away anything our cat had missed. In hindsight, I should have put the lady in a dark corner of the shed straight after painting. Great, isn’t it – hindsight? So, here she is again, with a home-made textured paint finish instead. While she wouldn’t be mistaken for old stone, she looks much better in grey, doesn’t she?


The same paint/technique turned this green lamp…


Into this. Much better, don’t you think?



It was all very well having these new, shiny toys, but I really needed to get that shed up & looking good. I needed a hammer, spirit level, paint – and my husband!!!

I’ll keep you posted…

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *