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Move over, man cave: Women savor clean, organized room to call their own

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 02:11 AM

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Move over, man cave.

Make way for the woman cave? The craft den?

Perhaps there is no catchy moniker yet. But Birmingham, Mich.-based interior designer Michelle Mio says that more of her female clients are staking out a room or nook in their home just for them.

No husbands, kids or sticky fingers allowed.

Whether they are used for sewing, scrapbooking or just paying bills, the rooms women want are typically private, pretty and functional, Mio says.

"With the workload women carry at home, they need a space that is organized and one that they can call their own," Mio says. "It seems imperative with our clients to be able to find things in a moment's notice. A space that can accommodate anything from a kid's daily schedule to bill paying is growing in trend."

More than 80 years ago, writer Virginia Woolf penned the essay, "A Room of One's Own," about how women, especially those who want to practice a form of creativity, need a place to do it. In 2012, given the explosion of the handmade and creative arts movements, many women are finding that as true as ever.

Here, three women share the spaces they have taken over in their homes to fulfill their creative pursuits.

Custom-designed for scrapbooking

Alison Oleshansky, 38, of Birmingham, Mich., hired Mio and her design team from Rariden Schumacher Mio Interior Design to decorate her entire home. The space that presented a big question mark? Two adjoining closets in the basement.

Oleshansky didn't need them. And so her scrapbooking room was born.

The room features a few statement-makers. The floor is a glittery light pink. The back wall is dressed in a bright pink, large-scale damask print that's velvety to the touch. A light metallic wallpaper covers the other walls.

Four crystal chandeliers gleam from the ceiling and cast a pretty but bright light on the space; it's good for the creative work Oleshansky wants to do.

A waist-high, custom-made rolling table fills the middle of the room. Surrounded by four white leather bar stools with pink trim, it's the nerve center where the creative work happens. The table top _ white and shimmery _ is made of recycled materials, including bits of mirror.

"Everything sparkles," says Dayna Rasschaert, an interior designer who worked on the room.

The custom white cabinets and drawers _ 26 of them _ provide room to organize everything.

"I love that I can have everything out and not have to box things up or spread them out on the floor in another room," says Oleshansky, who also works as a consultant for the scrapbooking supply company Creative Memories. "I just love it in here, it's so bright. It's a happy room."

Oleshansky says her kids, 11-year-old twins Sam and Talia, can pop in to do homework there. And her husband, Brad, is happy to give her her space.

"He has many spaces in the house for him, including an office," Oleshansky says. "For me to have a 10-by-10 space in the whole house, it's OK."

Room for pretty packages

When they bought their home in 2006, Mike and Elise Hindelang had no set purpose for the all-beige, dull-looking suite that makes up the entire third floor of their 1939-built French Colonial in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.

But soon, a thought dawned on Elise Hindelang: She'd love a space devoted solely to gift wrapping.

"Otherwise I'd be wrapping gifts on the guest bed, making a mess," Hindelang, 32, says. "Here, I can make a mess and, if I need to, I can just shut the door and leave it there."

Over a two-month period, with some help from family, the Hindelangs turned the space into a lively light-green and soft-pink haven for stamping, wrapping and making bows. And they did it without breaking the bank, estimating that the entire renovation came in around $2,000.

Polka-dot wallpaper set the tone for the color scheme and design plan, says Hindelang, a mother of two. She also painted the ceiling and trim a crisp white and splurged on a $350 green-and-pink area rug from Pottery Barn Kids.

The rest of the room was completed in a thrifty manner: IKEA furniture and bins and baskets from places like Marshall's.

The couple made the craft table out of two IKEA nightstands, a door they salvaged from a previous home and a floor-model hutch that Elisa Hindelang spotted on clearance at Bombay Co.

She scored a turning display rack from a store going out of business, and uses it to hold her ribbon spools. A small metal table holds a variety of wrapping paper. Each bin and basket is labeled and organized _ there's a home for pipe cleaners, poof balls, markers, stamps and more. An old spice rack now holds small baubles, sequins and buttons.

"It's fun and relaxing up here," says Hindelang. "Men have their spaces. You always hear about the man cave. My husband has a very nice office that's decorated just for him. It's nice to have a girl space too."

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For the dedicated crafter

Barb Witt has run a sewing business for eight years. She sells her handbags, wallets, pouches and more at shows locally and out of the Yellow Door Art Market in Berkley. So Witt certainly needed a room in her Roseville, Mich., home to stash her fabric and sewing machine.

But even if Excess Baggage, her business, didn't exist, Witt thinks she'd still need a studio to call her own.

"I don't know if I could justify it," the 33-year-old says. "But I'd certainly want it."

Her studio takes up the largest bedroom in her home as well as the neighboring closet, where she has a showcase of her finished products.

"I just love looking in here and seeing them all," she says.

The studio features a gray, green-yellow and turquoise color scheme. The floor is a high-gloss gray laminate from IKEA.

Along one long wall is a countertop with two desk spaces _ one for her and one for her mother, who works for the business. Brightly colored bolts of fabric are stacked along one wall, and a bulletin board covered in bright fabric features bits of inspiration and memories.

A vintage sewing machine, a bright pink word 'Create,' and artwork from local artists add decorative touches to the room. Track lighting provides a nice glow.

"I'm in here every day," says Witt, who also home schools her four children, ages 12, 10, 8 and 6. "It's just an outlet for me. It sparks the creative process to come in here, especially when it's as organized as can be."

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