Monday, October 3, 2011

Looking into Lady Caves

The term “mom cave” is an unfortunate bit of vernacular. Let’s forget, for the time being, that not all female homeowners are moms and focus rather on the innumerable interests that women indulge in when they want some time alone away from their job, their partner, their everyday struggles and, yes, their children. As much as most men need their man caves, most women are in dire need of a similar lady caves that speaks to their unique identity and their loves. And men, take note: This is the sort of project that could earn you major points and, depending on your home, can be a DIY affair. Whether you’re putting together a space for yourself or for your partner, you should consider the ideas below when looking into the home improvement concerns that often surround the building of a lady cave.

  •    Finding Your Space: A garage is often the best space for caves. If you want to conserve space, you can put up a simple divider and have spaces for both you and your partner to enjoy some alone time. The garage door is also an easy entrance.  If you don’t have space in your garage (or don’t have one), consider utilizing a guest bedroom, the basement, or the attic and transforming part of or the entire space into a lady cave.  You could also hire or consult with a contractor to build a small cabin or shed in your backyard or put on an addition. In which case, be sure to call your local municipality and check about any permits needed.
  •   Practical Concerns: You will want electricity in this lady cave, if only for lighting. In the home, this is simple but if you do have a separate structure, consider purchasing a small generator or running an extension cord from your home and disguising it tastefully. There’s also the natural light option, enacted simply by putting in a window. Think about color schemes and furniture. Do you want to be a place where you could take a nap or is it all activity? Consider putting a futon in the space or if you want to be more stylish, a chaise lounge. If you are doing this for your partner, it’d be best to spoil the surprise at this point and see what they’d like the space to look like. 
  •   Get Together Your Theme: Here’s where things get fun and, just maybe, a bit pricey. What do you want this space to be fitted for? Are you a nut for a mind-clearing run on the treadmill or do you want a quiet space to dig into the latest New York Times best seller? Take a look at some of these popular ideas.

a.     Reading/Writing/Sewing – First, put in a large bookshelf. Maybe put a few pictures of loved ones and sentimental knick-knacks on the shelves that haven’t been filled with books. Also, find a nice, modest desk, a lamp and a comfortable chair if you’d like to write in your diary or take some quicknotes. Throw up a few framed photos of your favorite quotations or inspirational figures for character. For an accomplished sewer, have a ready basket of yarn, replacement needles and other needed utensils.

b.     Exercising – This would ideally be in the house but if it is in a separate structure, be sure to consult a contractor about how much energy you will require. An elliptical bike or treadmill facing a small television is a great first step, but you may also think about adding a set of weights or some space for a yoga mat and inflatable abdominal ball. Throw in a scale and a dry-erase board to track progress or set schedules and you should be ready to go.

c.      Sports/Entertainment: One would think this would be something for a living room but tastes clash. This option tends to be a bit pricier, considering you’ll want a nice television and an extra cable box. Put in a small shelving unit for your favorite DVDs and Blu-rays, and maybe hang a vintage movie poster or a cast photo. For sports fans, cover the place with your team colors, banners and other fanfare. You’d do well to have a micro-fridge in there for snacks and drinks too.  

d.     Gardening: This one is a bit more complicated but doesn’t require as much space and is well worth it for the seasoned gardening enthusiast. Talk to a plumber or contractor about setting up a pair of deep sinks with some counter space and cabinets to hold any chemicals or seeds. Put up racks on the wall for your gloves, hats, coats and various utensils. Stock the place with extra pots and a small bookshelf for any gardening books you regularly use. Hang a few plants for mood and you should be ready to start growing.   

The materials for building a small cabin on your own or shed usually comes in between $1200 and $1600. The option of hiring a contractor is always favorable, if you can spare the funds, and this also insures that any issues with energy or water will be hassle-free. Regardless, this tends to be a favored project amongst my close friends and customers.

Most people look for something closer to the Reading/Writing/Sewing option but having recently seen one, I can attest that a gardening cave can be a lively and comforting space to call your own. But think outside the box about what you would really like to do with your free time. Your personal corner of the world should speak directly to you, your wants and your needs.