Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Man caves

The latest feature in creature comfort

Express Staff Writer

The modern-day caveman isn't your run-of-the-mill Neanderthal any longer. In fact, he's downright sophisticated when it comes to creature comforts.

One of the hottest trends in designing a home, right up there with screening rooms and sports courts, is a phenomenon known as "man caves"—havens for men to get away from the world.

"It is the hot thing to have in your house," said Chris Zarkos of Morgan's Fine Finishes. "It's fairly common to have that term on a set of plans."

Local designer Jennifer Hoey is well versed in what it takes to make an upscale and luxurious man cave.

"A man cave usually consists of a comfy sectional couch, a billiards table, a flat screen TV or a large projector-type screen for movies and television that covers most of the wall or is retractable, and a private bathroom," Hoey said. "The other thing in my mind is there can't be a lot of windows. Men are creating their own space and they want to be unobserved.

"The female equivalent is a sitting room with a chaise lounge and vanity. People are using them to unwind."

What happened to the idea of dad retiring to the living room with the newspaper and a cocktail?

Nobody really has living rooms anymore, says Megan Dawson of Stuhlberg & Co.

"Entertaining is more of a family experience and most people have family rooms connected to kitchens," she said. "Maybe in more traditional areas they still have living rooms, but dad still needs a place to hang out."

A lot of work goes into the idea of hanging out.

The Official Man Cave website is dedicated to providing resources and showcasing man caves from around the world. The site defines a man cave as "a dedicated area of a house, such as a basement, workshop, or garage, where a man can be alone or socialize with his friends." The site also posts a list of rules, including "If the man cave is so equipped, the toilet seat will always be in the up position," "Only men have decorating authority" and "Beer must always be cold."

"These aren't ordinary recreation rooms," said David Lupberger, a home improvement specialist. "These are rooms that fall solely under the jurisdiction of the man of the house."

So noted.

Lupberger lists what goes into a typical man cave: flat screen TV (75 percent), recliner (69 percent), stereo (68 percent), refrigerator (67 percent), DVD player (67 percent), computer (65 percent) and bar (64 percent).

The recliner is especially important, Dawson said.

"We have a chair that is the Cadillac of recliners. We can't keep it on the floor," she said. "It's a great chair because you can sleep, eat and drink in it. That will make any husband happy."

If a man's home is his castle, then every king deserves a throne—especially one that reclines.

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