Just after the millennium, a new decorating phenomenon reared its masculine head above the normally feminine practice of designing the family home.
Suddenly, the special, male-only spaces which were historically known as “garages,” took on a more prominent role in the household. The basement, a spare bedroom or den began to take on a much more macho look with sports themes, giant televisions and video game entertainment centers. These rooms became commonly known as “the man cave.”However, recently the women of the house have started to catch on to the idea of having a secluded and quiet space of their own, prompting the birth of the “mom cave.
Washington Township resident Staci Greenberg, owner of imc: Interior Design Services based in Gloucester County, said the difference between most male- and female-oriented spaces are gender specific.
“Anything you think a woman would like can go into it,” Greenberg said. “You may want to start with smaller seats or flowers on the wallpaper.”
But as individual as most women are, their special spaces can be just as unique.
“It really is individualized and specific to who wants it,” Greenberg said. “The point is, everyone needs a place to go and regroup.”
These secluded areas are not only for moms or even wives.
Lauren Roberts formerly of Sicklerville, now attending college and living in Georgia, quickly created a space of her own after moving in with her boyfriend.
“I’m not married, but I live with my boyfriend and he has his Xbox, man time, so I’ve created my own area in our small, one-bedroom apartment,” Roberts said.
After living in a big, two-bedroom apartment for a while, moving into the smaller, one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in July was quite an adjustment.
“He plays Xbox all the time and I needed somewhere to get away and relax ,” she said.
Because the apartment is not very large, the only spot, other than a closet, that offered seclusion was the deck. And living in Georgia, with its year-round, normally warm temperatures, Roberts decided the outside space was a great spot for her “girlfriend cave.”
“It’s very small, but its perfect,” she said. “I have a table with two chairs where I go to read, eat, draw and write. I can close the blinds so I can’t see inside and can just focus on the beauty of Georgia. I have a wonderful view and can just relax and do what I want. There’s a closet outside where I store my stuff so that I don’t have to come in for anything. I’ll take hot cocoa outside or diet soda, and just relax. I love it.”
Roberts said she decided to create her own room after losing the spaciousness of her previous, larger home.
“I realized if I didn’t create my own space, I would lose that time every person needs,” she said. “We all need time for ourselves, a time to step back and realize we are our own hero and strength. We let the outside world dictate how we feel and pile stress upon us, so we need to regain that inner strength and take care of ourselves, because if we don’t, how can we expect anyone else to.”
Caroline Pezzano, a designer for Exquisite Designs in Washington Township said though she hasn’t heard much about the trend of the mom cave, ideas for creating such a space are “endless.”
“I would incude something cozy to sit in and some nice music,” she said. “You could use an extra, nice-sized closet, a room off the bedroom or divide an area in the basement or lower level with a decorative screen. I don’t know how quiet that would be though.”
Greenberg said creating your own space can be completed in five easy steps.
“First, take the dimensions of the room and make a floor plan,” she said. “You might be out there and see the perfect table or perfect chair, and not know if it will fit. Take the measurements with you at all times.”
Next, she said to make a list of the items that will be included in the space.
“Decide what the space will be used for whether it be playing the Wii, sewing or having the girls over for cocktails,” Greenberg said. “And you don’t have to choose just one.”
Third, consider a color scheme and theme for the room.
“Whether you like dark colors, light colors, heavy furniture or a clean look that breathes, look through magazines and if you see something you like, rip it out,” she said.
Be sure to research the items to go into the space so the room can be put together cohesively.
Finally, start putting the room together.
“Take all the components and start doing it,” Greenberg said. “Clean out the space, paint it and install all your items.”
Greenberg said many people worry about designing such an area due to the costs involved.
“There is a space for everyone’s budget,” she said. “You can start small and make a goal. There is a reasonable cost for everything. You don’t have to spend a lot. Money shouldn’t be a barrier. Just use your imagination and be ready to compromise.”
Greenberg is planning to host an interior design workshop in early January for people who want to take a space and transform it into a personal haven.
“You can learn how the professionals do it,” she said.
She also writes the “Green” column for the Women of Gloucester County website,
www.womenofgloucestercounty.com, and is planning to start an online design blog in the near future.
For more information about the workshop, contact Greenberg at (856) 269-0707 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org