Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Room of His Own: The Man Cave

More and more often, I’m meeting male clients who toss the term “man cave” around when listing the features they’re looking for in a home. For some, the man cave is meant to be a retreat from the hustle and bustle of family life – a place to crack open a beer and watch the game in peace. Others are more interested in a place to entertain their buddies, where Superbowl parties and poker games reign supreme.

For reasons of space and noise containment, man caves tend to be located in the basement. New homes are ideal for this purpose, as today’s basements offer great head clearance; as well, there’s no better way to customize a space than from the ground up

There are all sorts of gimmicky man caves featured in magazines, with décor chosen along a specific theme: golf, for instance, or vintage cars. That’s great, if it makes you happy. But I’d like to address a few of the features that will give your space real staying power:

  • If watching sports and movies is important to you, talk to your builder about installing an in-wall audio system and wiring the room for your wall-mounted television or projector.
  • Lighting should be plentiful. While an overhead light can be useful, you’ll likely get more use from pot lights on a dimmer switch, combined with floor and table lamps. Consider appropriate fixtures above a pool table or bar.
  • Wall colours are traditionally deep and warm; this is a place to be cozy and relaxed, not hyper-alert. Carpet underfoot should be plush, with a great underpad. 
  • Consider how you’ll entertain. If asked, most builders will install a bar, or an in-wall fridge for beer or wine. The more work you can hand over to your builder, the sooner you can tilt back that recliner and soak up the manly vibe.
After watching countless couples negotiate their “must-have” list, I’ve come to believe that women have something to gain from the man cave. I’ve found that many women are happy to hand over this chunk of their home’s square footage because, having gotten what they want, the men are content to let their partners take charge of design decisions in the rest of the home. When a trade-off like this can actually ease marital tensions, everybody wins!

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