Forget the man cave…what’s in your “femme den”?

May 1, 2019

We’ve worked on many home entertainment installations since SONA was founded, from leisure suites to exquisite home cinemas. While home cinema systems don’t have to be enjoyed exclusively by men, there does seem to be less focus on the “female equivalent” of a man cave. We spoke to a few women to see if the “femme den” truly exists – and what they cannot do without.

Beyond the appeal of watching the latest blockbuster on the big screen, there’s actually a scientific benefit to the “man cave” too. According to The Good Men Project, man caves help men to get in touch with their emotions, de-stress, and look after their physical fitness.  So what would happen if women started to create the ultimate femme den?  What would that look like?  SONA decided they would compile the ultimate Femme Den Hotlist.

Taking it outside

You’ll see from our treehouse project that relaxing spaces don’t have to be limited to the confines of the home!  For many women interviewed, getting outdoors in nature, and making the most of the beauty of their outdoor space was paramount to our female clients.

There’s something about being outdoors that relieves stress, inspires creativity and helps with problem-solving.  It’s a much needed escape for the plethora of multi-tasking between work and family life that many women are challenged with as Mothers and Business Owners.

Lighting and music was a key factor.  One woman said “As the nights start to get lighter I want to make the most of every evening I can outdoors.  There’s something about the scents the garden gives off at this time in the evening.  It’s the most relaxing experience.  It’s when I reconnect with myself after a busy day and just ‘be’ for a minute.”

There’s so many incredible features that SONA can create for an outdoor haven like water features,  clever lighting that enhances your planting and brings it to life in the twilight – we’ve even just completed a dancing water fountain for one client who find the rhythm of the water so relaxing.   Outdoor cinemas for balmy summer nights, luxury treehouses, meditation or outdoor yoga studios or even luxurious, elegant airy stables for your treasured horses.  Outdoor swimming lakes and pools have become increasingly popular over the last 10 years – even with the unpredictability of the British weather.  The technology we have is so amazing now that there’s no need to worry about being cold if you go for a refreshing dip outside.

Give me light

Lighting is certainly a common theme among the femme dens, with many women citing its healing properties in all its forms.

Lots of natural light is always ideal, but sometimes people can fall in love with a house even where there is inadequate lighting.  Technology means this isn’t a problem.  SONA have recently completed a project using an artificial skylight called CoeLux which imitates the natural rhythms of the day, so even when it is grey and dreary outside, your room is filled with airy Mediterranean feels.

Automated Lighting

Automated lighting can also really help to set the rhythm of your day, and help your body to do the same if you suffer from stress or insomnia – something that many women suffer with.   SONA’s Managing Director Nicola Fulstow explains:

“Sometimes your body can struggle to catch up with what time it is, and how to react appropriately to those times.  The pace of life these days is so incredibly fast and women are often maxed out between working, motherhood, contributing to their communities, keeping their appearance and bodies in shape, social events and family time.  Sometimes it can get to the end of the day and we feel wired or drained.  Often we can be waking up feeling exhausted.  Great lighting for me these days is up there with some of the most vital things I need at home.  I can not express how much it has changed the atmosphere of our home and my personal ability to truly enjoy my space at home and function optimally.  For example, of an evening I usually workout outdoors after I’ve put the kids to bed.  I come home around 9.30pm and refuel with a meal and I can feel pretty wired after a gruelling workout, but then I really want to be winding down for bed quickly as I have to be up early the next morning for work / school runs etc.

When I head upstairs we have automated lighting in the bedroom, that dims as the evening moves on, in addition to soft, soothing meditation music that comes on at the same time.  I instantly relax.  It’s impossible not to. The difference that automation makes is that this isn’t something I have to do or think about – instead it reminds my brain and my body it’s time to calm down.  Compare that to the old days of lights being ‘on or off’, I simply can’t ever imagine going back to that.  It would totally ruin my bedtime vibes!”  Read more about how clever lighting can help beat SAD and depression and elevate your mood.

Take It Further

Automated blinds and curtains synced in with lighting scenes and even automated rotating aromatherapy enhance this experience even further and allow your body to prepare for sleep.  The more senses you can engage as you prepare your body for what’s next, the better.

Freelancer Stephanie Barnes says her Himalayan salt lamp is great for meditation and listening to her body. She’s also a fan of YouTube’s Theta Beats, a series of binaural rhythms designed to calm and heal the body.  Success coach Lisa Cybaniak has what she calls her “zen den”, a space for meditation with lights, candles and crystals.  Essentially though it’s all about engaging the senses to experience a sense of presence and calm at the start and the end of your day.  People assume that technology is the opposite of ‘calm’ but the reality is that for SONA we see our job as creating the daily rituals that aid your wellbeing and optimise the enjoyment of your home.  Yes, it can be entertainment and loud music – yes it can be the ultimate man-cave – but it can also very much be the creation of the ultimate haven to escape the world.

Making a splash

Water is another key element in any femme den.  We’re talking ultimate swimming pools for an uplifting blood pumping swim ahead of the day, to soothing saunas and spas, to invigorating showers and indulgent baths.

So where does technology have a place when it comes to water?

A good integrated technology system enhances every experience you are having at home. Either by removing a chore, making life quicker or easier OR by engaging more senses in the experience so you can experience a greater sense of joy in it.

For example, tropical green lighting can be particularly invigorating during a morning shower, when used in conjunction with scents like lemongrass, bergamont or grapefruit.  Green lighting is associated with enhanced concentration and learning but also hope, soothing and healing.

Cool blue tones are perfect for creating a feeling of calmness and certainty so are ideal for a morning swim.  Add in your favourite music in to the background and you’ll be heading out the door ready to take on the world.

A Vital Need

We found amongst our female clients, health and vitality is of the utmost importance.  Looking and feeling their best is an important part of their life, many of whom, live their life in the public eye.  Daily workouts are essential so as part of the femme den a sought after feature was a state of the art gym where Personal Trainers can come to put them through their paces.

Requirements in the gym are often TV screens behind mirrors so that when the TV is off, the mirrors are used to focus on form.  However it’s essential in any femme den that the audio is powerful enough to compete with its’ environment.  SONA’s Simon Fulstow, Technical & Design Director says “People often underestimate how loud gym equipment is, and how powerful audio needs to be to compete with the noise levels of a running machine or even the sound of your own deep breathing when being put through your paces.  Gyms are often massively underspecified and then underused.  Powerful, strong, uplifting beats really aid a workout and produce better physical results – read more about how music is scientifically proven to boost productivity here.

A Strong Connection

These days we all use technology to connect.  We use it to connect with friends and family through phones, social media, messaging and Skype, and also for work through conference calling, emails and shared networks.  A robust and reliable connection is a must have in any luxury home which would be in size, comparable to a small hotel.  Enterprise level network is a necessity and should be at the top of the list – a BT home hub is simply not going to cut it, and failing to plan for appropriate, reliable cable infrastructure and a robust network will quite simply lead to eternal frustration every single day throughout life at home.

The whole point of technology for any given purpose is that you want it to work.  Ideally you want it to work every time, any where and any way you choose to use it.  This is where you need home technology experts who have experience in installing this level of system.  This is not something you want to think about later – later will be too late.

At the end of the day, you want Wi-Fi everywhere throughout your property, you want your guests to easily access the WiFi, you want to KNOW that your financial, personal, business and family information is protected and safe AND that you have a dedicated ‘technology guy’ who you can call upon any time you need changes / advice / updates or edits.

We are living in a virtual world, and the only way to truly be able to relax at home is knowing that your home is robust, practical reliable and safe.


I Just Want it to Work

What did women say they really wanted more than anything?  Essentially, they wanted their technology to work.  They didn’t have the time, inclination or patience to be messing about trying to figure things out.  Women want to press the button and get the result according to what they told us.

A Thing of Beauty

When interviewed most women felt that aesthetics and beauty was of way more importance to them, than the technology side.  One client said “I just find it much more interesting to pick bathroom tiles with my Interior Designer than to talk about what TV we’ll have in which room”.

Nicola Fulstow from SONA says “I totally get this.  In fact, I agree.  I’m a really visual person, who cares very little for how things are made or how they work.  I want things to look beautiful and feel effortless.  I feel that way about my wardrobe and it’s no different with the spaces I live in.  However sometimes people can think that technology is just ‘that thing you need to have’ in your home, because we all watch TV, use WiFi and listen to music.  Oh and we need lights to see what we are doing!  I probably thought that too 12 years ago before I got involved with this luxury niche industry.  But now I see what we do.  It’s not technology we create.  It’s helping to create a day that runs smoothly.  Rituals that set you up for success.  That helps you relax and celebrate your success when all is said and done.  To live more presently in the moment by connecting to your environment with all of your senses.  Whether that’s immersing yourself in your home cinema once a week on a Saturday night OR the daily act of showering, enhanced with invigorating c0loured lighting, automated aromatherapy and a soundtrack that kick starts your day.  For me, those are truly the moments of beauty that I enjoy (whilst of course, immersed in a carefully curated interior design).

Not only that but the beauty of our technology is that you don’t even need to see it – it can be invisible within your interiors that you’ve taken so much time to put together.  Our technology enhances the home without encroaching on the design, such as a TV hidden a piece of furniture or behind a mirror.”


More Time at Home

In many instances we have actually discovered over the years that many of our female clients are the ones who spend more time in the home than their male counterparts, however, sometimes they can feel that they weren’t instrumental in the decisions surrounding the technology in their home, because quite simply – they didn’t think it was something they were interested in.  However once women start to understand the positive impact that technology can have on their well-being and their family’s mood and connection with one another the conversations about technology become so much more exciting!  That’s why during our brief taking, we welcome all family members.  It’s the best way to create the most luxurious and harmonious homes.

Whether it’s a femme den or a man cave, SONA are all about creating the perfect home rituals that enhance your life.  Drop us a line today to have an informal chat about your luxury new build or renovation.

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