WACTC students showcase ‘she shed’ at R.I. Home Show

WACTC students showcase ‘she shed’ at R.I. Home Show

WACTC junior September Caraman stains the floor of the she shed at the school last Thursday. (Breeze photos by Lauren Clem)

WOONSOCKET – Visitors to the Rhode Island Home Show and Spring Flower & Garden Show at the R.I. Convention Center in Providence this weekend might find themselves wandering into a dreamy backyard getaway in the form of a white “she shed,” as the tastefully decorated lounge space and latest home and garden trend is known.

The ocean-themed shed will feature crushed shells and driftwood from Narragansett Bay, but the shed itself comes from Woonsocket, where Woonsocket Area Career and Technical Center students worked with RISD designers Elise Francesca and Kyra Chomak to bring the vibrant outdoor space to life.

According to WACTC construction instructor Charlie Myers, “she sheds” have become a popular feature on HGTV shows and in design circles in recent years. The “woman-centric exterior space,” as he described it, tends to include more couches than tool cabinets, as women take to the garden to create what online design bloggers have deemed an alternative to the “man cave.” The trend wasn’t overlooked by the R.I. Home Show, which reached out to the school about creating a shed to exhibit this year.

“They needed a feature for the home show, and they contacted me and asked if we could build a she shed,” Myers explained. “For years we’ve been going there and helping set up things.”

Previous WACTC contributions to the Home Show have included an accessible tree house later donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Providence and a greenhouse that now sits at one of the Providence middle schools.

WACTC students Victoria Banaczuk, Daisha Bennett, Shalista Ward and Kimberly Reall took the lead on the project, working with Francesca and Chomak to design the interior of the shed while Myers designed the exterior and the entire class participated in construction. Banaczuk told The Valley Breeze she had never heard of a she shed before the project, but was excited to participate after looking at pictures of a model shed sent over by the R.I. Home Show.

“I really liked it when I first saw it. I thought, I want to be in on this,” she said as she worked in the WACTC shop last Thursday morning.

Banaczuk, a junior in the construction program, said she and the other three students held meetings with the two designers to plan out the interior of the space. Working with the professionals was a good opportunity to learn about interior design, since it’s an industry she might consider for her own career.

“It has opened my mind to a lot of different avenues instead of just your average thinking of construction,” she said.

As she talked, Banaczuk placed light bulbs in jars for a Mason jar chandelier, one of many touches designed to create the shed’s rustic beachside feel. Other features included a sand-covered floor and curtain ties designed to look like boat moorings, along with a driftwood swing and end table created from wood Myers picked up at the URI Bay Campus.

Banaczuk said the female students enjoyed taking the lead on the project, though the guys also participated fully in creating the she shed. Last Thursday, several young men were working to cover the shed with a tarp as they prepared to transport it to the Convention Center.

“They definitely helped out a lot,” Banaczuk said about her male classmates. “They definitely do not like painting, though. I had to do all the painting.”

Following the Home Show, WACTC plans to sell the shed to raise funds for the school’s programs. Faculty members said interested buyers can contact the school.

Junior Victoria Banaczuk prepares a light fixture.