Make a 'Mom Cave' for Sewing Projects & More

3 Mar 2011

mom cave tipspokey boltonI love funny ads, and I've been cracking up lately at the one where the husband comes home with his buddies ready to hang out in his man cave only to find his wife has turned it into a hot-pink "mom cave."

I can only image the look on my husband's face if that scene played out in our home. Fortunately, I don't have to find out, as I have my studio to retire to when I need to escape the hectic nature of daily life and be my creative self.

But not everyone has that luxury. Many artists-moms or not-have no creative spot to call their own. So when Studios Editor Cate Prato saw that same Home Goods commercial, she called up the retailer's resident expert, nationally known interior designer and author of Design Rules, Elaine Griffin for an interview.

Elaine was only too happy to explain for Studios readers how to find and outfit a mom cave (or "me cave," for those who aren't moms). Here is a summary of what she had to say, from the Spring 2011 issue.

How to Carve Out a  Mom Cave

elaine grffin mom cave1. Give yourself permission.

Whether you are or aspire to be an artist, you're looking to make some money from a craft, or you just want a place to pursue a creative hobby for a few hours a week, recognize that you need and deserve a space of your own.

2. Find space.

At minimum, you need a place to sit, a work surface, enough space for a friend to visit, and storage. Look around your home for unused-or ill-used-space, such as an attic, spare bedroom, garage loft, or closet. If it has a door, so much the better.

3. Personalize it.

This space is all-you, so be daring with color, pattern, and décor.

4. Keep it up.

Now that you have a space of your own, make a commitment to keep it orderly and resist the temptation to make it a catch-all space. 

Elaine has lots more advice, including a list of her favorite storage and organization solutions, in the article. And if you doubt her suggestion that you can create a mom cave almost anywhere, be sure to check out how artist Claudia Hill turned the awkward landing at the top of her stairs into and adorable niche for her creative sewing projects.

You'll find both articles, plus the creative and charming Ty Pennington, in the Spring 2011 issue of Studios.

So, tell me, would you turn your husband's man cave into a mom/me cave? Have you? Have you turned an unusual space into your studio? Share your story below.


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Comments

majik47 wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 3:59 AM

Here is a link to the transformation of my 'mom cave' from a room that held al the 'grown kid' leavings and a small space for the grandkids to sleep when visiting to a place I can create and enjoy!  oldentimes.wordpress.com/.../sew-what

I spend a lot of time here!

on 3 Mar 2011 5:47 AM

Making my space.  Well guess I am a Proverbs 31 woman.   I bought a two story house in the Bradenton Florida Village of the Arts and turned it into MY SPACE, Bits & Pieces.   It is packed full of fabric art "stuff", a big garden and 4 cats.   My husband has supported my efforts for 8 years.  In fact it is going so well I  bought  another little house across the street to fix up and rent to another adventuresome artist.  Plus I have a 3 stall garage to share with others and a place to dye yards and yards of fabric..    oh happy days!   linda b

on 3 Mar 2011 7:05 AM

When we had three little boys and their various friends about, sometimes I gave myself a "time-out" in the closet.

Too soon, though, these became young men, who moved out into the world.

My very supportive husband and I moved out of the top floor of our little older house, and we had a master bedroom renovated from the old "wreck" room downstairs.

Then, sledgehammer in hand, the top floor became a space for everything that had been done on the dining room table for 30 years, except eating.I love it up there, and I go there everyday.

Mama Cass wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 7:09 AM

I finally gave myself my "mom cave" and love it! The overall beige decor of the rest of our house stops at the door, and two shades of purple greet me when I walk in. My sewing machine is always ready, there's a big cutting table, and NOTHING goes into the room that doesn't have to do with my sewing. When the kids came to visit I realized that I had unconsciously made sure there was only one chair - for me. The kids are welcome but only to stand and chat. It's definitely MY space.

CaroleJM wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 7:39 AM

Last year when we were looking to buy a new house one of the must haves was space for a man cave and space for my craft room. We looked at a lot of houses, but don't regret waiting so long to find the right space because now I have my own room I've named "Sewrenity" (a take on the word serenity). I have been loving being able to do with this space anything I want!

lyndarva wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 7:50 AM

I already have a large studio, but as many of you know from experience, I outgrew it. My husband's office was totally a mess, and I kind of put my foot down and told him I was going to take it if he didn't clean it up and keep it clean. He ended up giving it to me and taking a smaller room. He painted it a bright yellow I wanted (the same as in your photo) and has helped to move me in. I am now waiting for a new Tin Lizzie 18 sit down model that I ordered. Truthfully, I need a large barn for a studio, but....

Lindy101 wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 7:52 AM

I wouldn't have bought the house I now live in, if the previous owner hadn't had his woodworking shed a few yards from the back door.  And a SHED it was! Shelves just jumbled together to hold all his chunks, slabs and sheets of wood. Oily ply wood floors. And looking up at the roof at wasp's nests and black widow spiders, you see daylight all along the top of the wall! I spent days with a crowbar ripping out everything. Relatives, with love and skill, helped me insulate and sheet rock. I painted, put in shelving, laid down laminate tiles. All these skills were new to me, as I had recently been  widowed, and had never run a skill saw in my life! I am now making the shift from hobbyist to artist, so daily I 'go to work' to my wonderful Quilting Shed! :?}

on 3 Mar 2011 8:38 AM

I moved my sewing room into our master bedroom . After all I was only sleeping in it--not a boudior !!! The only problem I had--the room has 2 windows-love the light but not as much wall space.  

Joanne who is 4 miles from the Sew Expo this weekend

owlwoman wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 10:04 AM

A year ago my art and crafts were out growing the bedroom I was using as a studio and projects were scattered all over the house.  I decided my at home life is my art and craft so I made the bedroom into a sitting room and my living and dining room into a 385 square foot studio.  I love it because I can easily sit down and work for even a few minutes.  My friends love it.  Our Friday Creative Circle (the FCC) meets most Friday evenings with at times up to 8-10 of us working easily in the space with plenty of room for 5-7 sewing machines, two tables at good cutting height, a rectangular ironing board and easy access to my 3000+ yds of fabric, shelves of books and magazines, paint and other fun crafting supplies. (I rarely sit in my "sitting room", I'm much too busy downstairs in the studio!)

on 3 Mar 2011 11:09 AM

I started sewing about 18 months ago, when my first child was 3 months old. My mom had bought me a starter machine when she had come to stay with us when the baby was first born. It quickly became a fun hobby for me, I loved learning about  everything and anything sewing related! At first, I was sewing at the dining table. After I realized the baby would be sleeping in our room for a while, I took over the nursery and converted it into a sewing space. That was the best decision I ever made-having my own space where I could concentrate and escape from time to time helped me grow creatively and in my skills. When we decided the baby needed her room back about 3 months ago, I was sad to be leaving my space-it was my sanctuary! Giving the room back to my little girl has been rewarding though, and I've learned to be as happy with a very well utilized 8x6 foot space in my bedroom. The biggest lesson I've learned through my creative journey is that it truly worth it to make the space in both a busy schedule and a busy home to have time to create. Now we're house hunting, and having my creative space it a top priority-I'm worth it!!

www.flickr.com/.../53185938@N03

bybethstudio wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 12:21 PM

I have my studio in a corner of my laundry room.  So with recycling bins and dryer shhets/lint nearby there is never a shortage of upcycled materials! /i have shelves and bins for supplies, books and fabrics and 3 tables in an "L" shapr so I have a cutting space, work space and a place to leave out my needlefelter and sewing machine. I reclaimed wasted space after my daughter was born 7 years ago and I reaized after being at home w/ her that I had no space in the house that was just mine. It helps me to squeeze in creative time when I have everything already set up. I just have to walk in and get started. I try to keep it clean and ready to go. :) bybethstudio.etsy.com

on 3 Mar 2011 3:36 PM

I claimed a second master bedroom suite in our house when we moved  from out of state.  The space is large and has great light, but the problem is that it is not conducive to surface design work.  My dream is to modify this space to be a more usable wet studio space in addition to my design space.  I dream of a large stainless steel sink, a stackable washer/dryer, and to adapt my closet space to better suit the type of storage I require.  

I plan to hire an architect within the next year or two to advise me about how to modify this space to work better for me.  I can't wait!

floozette wrote
on 3 Mar 2011 6:04 PM

Well, no I haven't commandeered my Dearly Beloved's space, and nor would I?  Who would want a large (apart from that) draft, hot &/or cold concrete and metal box?  On the other hand my space used to be 2 rooms in a building separate from the house, painted bright blue, very little light, too small to hold all my stash and really just uninviting.

We decided to extend the house and at the same time, extend my 'cave'.  It is now 11m/33ft long, still only 2.4m/8ft wide, but is light, bright and inviting.  It has its own bathroom with shower, kitchen sinks, benches all round at different heights for different activities including one with space for 4 machines at once.  Then there are shelves above for lighter items, and some specially for books, and a large closet with shelves for fabric etc.  A specially-designed shelf/box arrangement holds 18 large plastic bins on wheels which hold all my crazy quilting fabrics.   I could go on and on ..... but I won't.  I  think you've got the gist now.  And to think that my DB did all the internal work himself, just for me.  That has to be love, doesn't it?

MarieM@14 wrote
on 4 Mar 2011 11:32 AM

I finished my Mom Cave two years ago. I commandeered the half of the basement (17 x 23) that was being used as "storage" space (read-dump). My oldest son (14 at the time) helped me replace the old ceiling with new tile, paint the walls, reclaim kitchen cabinets and rebuild furniture to make it a cozy space for crafting. We carpeted the floor with outdoor carpet (a real clearance steal for 31 cents a yard!) and added a sitting area with a futon and 42 inch flat screen TV. Along one wall we built storage shelving and ran 5 linen shower curtains along the front of the shelves to hide all the extra storage behind them. With the addition of a new computer and video game console, it's become a good space for me to spend time with my sons and sew at the same time!

ShawnaK wrote
on 4 Mar 2011 2:29 PM

Bless my husband's heart, I pretty much have all the room I need in our small ranch house.  He on the other hand could really use a man cave - other than the converted shop attached to the house.

But my main area is 73 sq. feet of my office designated strictly for paper arts. I've recently redone the space. Coordinating the mis-matched pieces and bringing in a color combo that pleases you are very important things. Make everything look like it *belongs* in the space... not just brought in to use.

Our next project is to convert the spare bedroom to a *shared* space. I'll have my quilting/ sewing area and he'll have his gun-loading table. When he's gone three weeks at a time, we like to spend every minute we can together when he's home.

on 5 Mar 2011 11:07 PM

Hi Pokey,

Found this interesting. I have a room downstairs that I was able to retreat to.

Must admit it was not always in an orderly state, especially when I was working

on 3 different projects. The area was becoming cluttered, knew I had to de-clutter

sometime.

I now have been forced to de-clutter, as I live in Queensland, Australia. On

January 10 2011. Toowoomba and surrounding areas suffered from a deluge,

most of us will probably never experience again in our lifetime. There was so

much rain in a short time frame, that the roads became rivers, many lost their

homes, we were fortunate, only half our house was affected. We have had to

throw out a lot that was water damaged. Able to move  three-quarters of what

was in my sewing room upstairs. That is when it hit me, that there was a lot

I don't need, have been working through what to keep, what to give away, what to throw away. my husband has worked hard at fixing up downstairs. I am now

taking only what I will use to my revamped sewing room. Funny, how events

make things happen, I now look at this as an advantage, not a disadvantage.

My room will be free from clutter, I will have more space in which to move.

Also I am sure I will be more creative, have many more ideas to work with.

Gayle

on 4 May 2012 7:24 AM

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i took interest in it,please if you don't mind i will like

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rebeeca_jonson@yahoo.com

on 4 May 2012 7:28 AM

Hi, I am Rebeeca.

Please how are you! hope you are fine and in perfect

condition of health.i went through your profile on this site,

i took interest in it,please if you don't mind i will like

you to write me on my mail ID (rebeeca_jonson@yahoo.com)

hope to hear from you soon,and I will be waiting for your

mail because i have something VERY important to tell you.

Lots of love Rebeeca.

rebeeca_jonson@yahoo.com