From special spaces to Pinterest parlors, “mom caves” provide women a place of refuge.
In France from the 17th to early 19th century, like-minded individuals gathered to engage in enlightened conversation, exchanging ideas and thoughts in art, literature music and philosophy. These gatherings, called salons, were hosted by French women and wives with means within rooms called parlors.
Compare this to the 21st century, and surprisingly not too much has changed — except, possibly, the topics discussed. Gatherings are still hosted by women, but the rooms in which they are held are now known by a different — albeit more masculine and seemingly Neanderthal — name: the mom or woman cave.
“You would think in the 21st century, we would have evolved a little bit further than this,” says Jamie Herzlinger of Jamie Herzlinger Interiors in Scottsdale. “It has taken a long time in a really odd way that the woman’s parlor has now come back into being a woman’s cave.”
Instead of the word “cave,” Herzlinger suggests this space is an “incredible retreat” and a refuge that reflects one’s taste.
“I think ‘cave’ is really the wrong word to use for the woman,” Herzlinger says. “Do you think of a Christian Louboutin and a fabulous Chanel suit in a cave? No, absolutely not.”
And these spaces specifically for women aren’t an uncommon addition to Scottsdale residences’ homes. In fact, every project Herzlinger takes on — and her interior design firm works on anywhere from six to 10 projects a year — has a place for the woman to retreat.
“It has come full circle, and I get asked more and more to do these rooms that reflect these women’s personalities solely,” Herzlinger says. “Everyone needs a room to hide out, be by yourself. Have a coffee, have a cocktail, have a tea, have something, but it’s yours. In the midst of chaos, everybody does need their own space. This room is now being identified.”
Todd Raisanen of TraVek, a design-build, home remodeling company in Scottsdale, agrees, adding that these rooms are a relaxing getaway where women can “recharge their (mom) batteries.”
These woman/mom caves have several purposes and uses. According to the TraVek team, the spaces they’ve built have been, more or less, rooms women have wanted for crafts, hobbies and spas.
“They are rooms with lots of closets or cabinet space, lots of countertop space and a work area for their sewing machines or scrapping or jewelry-making — whatever it may be. The women go here to just relax, work on their hobbies.”
Mom cave essentials include a television; desks, tables or computer areas; and comfortable seating, “so the girls can hang out,” Herzlinger adds. But what’s important is that this room reflects one’s taste and personality.
“You know how people say they have an alter ego? Their room is their alter ego,” Herzlinger says. “It’s like looking at a woman in blue jeans and finding out she’s wearing the hottest, sexiest La Perla underwear. That’s her alter ego — which is actually taking a physical space in the house.”
Herzlinger goes on to add that there are as many styles for women’s rooms as there are shoes in the Barney’s shoe department.
“It runs the gamut, and it has everything to do with total individuality, and it has nothing to do with the overall theme of what exists in the house,” she adds.
While it may be apparent the differences between the man and woman cave, two similarities exist: one, they’re both used to relax; and two, men and women occupy their respective rooms to take part in their hobbies.
The TraVek team says men typically like to have a place to hang out with their buddies, with the room equipped with a smoking area and/or bar and between two and four large TVs, Herzlinger adds, to watch the game. It’s a place to raise a ruckus and not disturb the rest of the house, the TraVek team says.
As for the look of the room, Raisenan says man caves are more expensive; they’re darker and noisier, so you may have to soundproof. Women caves, on the other hand, have brighter colors and are quieter, he adds.
Herzlinger agrees and says women’s rooms are light and interesting, and usually include a 42” TV.
“The look is more feminine with more pastels and neutral color palettes,” Herzlinger adds. “These rooms are much more about comfortable seating and small tables to put down your glass of wine.”
Whether you decide to use the space to start your next DIY project found on Pinterest, or invite your girlfriends over to enjoy a glass of Chardonnay and catch the latest episode of “The Real Housewives of (take your pick),” the space is yours to transform — so have fun with the design of it, and more importantly, with what you do in it.
For more information about woman or mom caves:
Jamie Herzlinger Interiors
4400 N. Scottsdale Rd.
7641 E. Gray Rd., Ste. H