A man’s home is his castle. Within every good castle, the king needs a sanctuary where he can shake off the airs of nobility and just be himself.
Enter the modern man cave.
Like fingerprints, each man cave is as unique and individual as the man it serves. That, designers say, is the whole point.
“It all gets down to personal interest,” said Randy Williamson, owner of Nest Interiors. “The goal is to make them have their own personal space at home. It is their getaway, without the wife’s touch.” And because every man has a different idea of what a man cave is, planning is key to creating the perfect space, Mari Deutsch of JEB Design Group said.
“We take such a planning-focused approach,” she said. “Every day I talk to people who have had nightmares with remodels. For us, if you find someone that takes a planning-based approach, and you plan things out, there are a lot of problems you can eliminate. Have a goal-based approach. Figure out your goals first. That will give you the best outcome.”
She offered the example of a man who might use his man cave for his woodworking hobby or watching the big game. He would want a sophisticated television and sound system, but he wouldn’t want the dust kicked up in his woodworking space to get in the electronic space.
The designers said man caves are often built around themes based on the man’s personal interests. Sports are a common theme. Williamson said he has designed man caves around the New Orleans Saints. He also has designed spaces around gambling, hunting and racing. “A man cave encompasses a lot,” Deutsch said. “It’s a hobby space; it’s a relaxation space. That kind of themed approach works, especially with a multi-use space.”
When it comes to furnishing a man cave, technology is the centerpiece, especially big-screen, high-tech televisions — “the bigger the better,” Williamson said. Elaborate sound systems and freestanding bars also are popular. Deutsch said a common request is for hidden panels with charging stations for cell phones and other smart devices.
Williamson said interest in man caves has remained steady through the years, and he sees that interest continuing. “It’s always been consistent, one way or the other,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going away. I think those men who have toys or are big sports fanatics and such, they are the ones who are always going to have their area, whether it’s an enclosed garage, a third-story space, or a bungalow behind the house build specifically for them.”
Deutsch said that regardless of the space or the theme, every project needs to begin with a goal. She said designers start any project by asking, “What are you going to use the room for?”
“Everything we do is so custom,” she said. “Some want a home theater. Some want to set up a table saw and go to work. Every man wants a different kind of thing. It’s important to plan the function for your space. Maybe it’s a hobby corner. Maybe he’s a musician or likes to paint. Anything he wants — having a space for that is really important.”
These days, man caves are moving outdoors, and they are losing their “clubhouse” image. Deutsch said JEB Design and Build recently built a large outdoor space for a client. It was a low-maintenance space with large slate pavers and really big area with a TV and a grill. “It’s mostly used by the man of the house, but he gathers family and friends around him,” Deutsch said. “They are celebrating the family, but it’s all about him.”