Each week Mansion Global tackles an interior design topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week we look at how to create a so-called “man cave.”
The stereotypical image of a man cave is often cause for shudder, especially for the partner who has to live with it. But this den for dudes doesn’t have to be cave-like at all—or have a lazy lounger in sight.
“Elegance does not have anything to do with gender. It’s more of an understanding of the person you are designing the space for,” said Vincente Wolf of Vicente Wolf Associates in New York. “A room, regardless of whether it’s a man cave or a bedroom, should be inviting and well planned.”
“The chicest spaces in my opinion are authentic, thoughtful extensions of who we really are,” said Jeffrey Forrest founder of STACKLAB, a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Toronto.
“Why default to scotch, leather, and football, when what you really want is French-pressed coffee, velvet, and Charlie Parker on vinyl? Your cave is for you; make it yours,” Mr. Forrest said.
Here are tips from the design pros to trick out a guy’s hideaway in the most elevated way possible.
Have a point of view
“It’s important to give this space a vision. …One of my clients is an avid music collector and I framed his favorite 8-tracks and LP covers as art. For another, I hung a collage of taxidermy on walls that were covered in vinyl resembling tree bark. For a golf-playing client, I framed tournament flags and hung them on the walls—it’s all about personalizing the space.
"Decorative lighting, such as a chandelier or pendant, can serve as a major statement maker. For example, I recently installed a Ralph Lauren chandelier that featured leather-belt straps and brass buckles in a gentleman’s study. It was functional but also gave the space a wow factor with a masculine edge. Wall coverings and furniture can be another opportunity for creative expression. I look at the client’s wardrobe to see what recurrent patterns and textures show up in his clothing and duplicate those menswear patterns on walls.
-Corey Damen Jenkins of Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates in Michigan
— Mansion Global (@MansionGlobal) February 21, 2017
Curate the space
“Add character through quality curation. Be imaginative. Instead of plastering movie posters all over the walls, track down original drafts of scripts and frame them. Buy David Mamet’s old desk and typewriter at auction. Take your grandfather’s bookcase and rickety stool out of storage and replicate them in cast bronze and concrete, and then polish the hell out of them. Replace your sofa with a beautiful collectable chaise draped in fur.
"In terms of décor, think about your curiosities. …Another idea is to clad your walls in slate and invest in some schoolhouse chalk to record your best ideas and inventions.
"I also think men are broadly lacking greenery in their personal spaces. An abundant variety of plant life will add depth to your space and make you happier than you thought it would.”
-Jeffrey Forrest, founder of STACKLAB in Toronto
Keep it chic
“Masculine elegance translates to rich materials like supple leather and suede or rich flannel and tweed suiting fabrics. The mellow gleam of hand-rubbed brass or silver, or wood paneling or walls upholstered in leather add warmth and richness. Upholstered corduroy, ultra-suede, or rich lacquer for walls; vintage rugs, reclaimed wood, or herringbone tone-on-tone broadloom carpet—these are all great options to lend a refined, but masculine feel to the room.
"A baseball card collection can be made to look more sophisticated if it’s framed between glass. Paintings or photography of sporting life can add visual dimension, while collections of signed baseballs or other similar collectible items lend personality.
"If the room allows, banquette seating along a wall can optimize space and be a fun design feature, while a stylish sectional can help define a seating area.
"For bars, consider a dishwasher for cleaning glasses. You may also want a warming drawer or convection oven to keep the wings warm. For one client, we fashioned an empty corner into a secret closet with a whiskey bar inside.”
-Josh Hildreth, principal of Reston, Virginia-based Josh Hildreth Interiors
Consider the details
“Make a list of how many people you want to be able to sit comfortably, how you would like the room to function, and the size of the furniture you would like to use. A good way to gauge the space is to create cutout pieces of paper to scale of the furniture you are using and play around with the floorplan so you can see how everything fits.
"Think about flattering colors. … In a man cave, I prefer darker earth tones to make the space feel warmer.
"Comfortable, well-designed upholstered items help create dimension and cohesion.
"The use of accents also give the room a punch. I like incorporating photography because it can bring drama to the room and you can often get high-end artists at a much more reasonable price.”
-Vincente Wolf of Vicente Wolf Associates, New York
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