BUYING A HOME: Creating Your Own Personal Man Cave
Monday Oct 19th, 2020
Creating Your Own Personal Man Cave
If we’ve learned anything during this pandemic it’s that we all need some personal space. A happy place where you can retreat from the hectic outside world and recharge from your responsibilities. An oasis filled with all your favorite things. Somewhere that speaks to your interests and hobbies, to your identity and yours alone. Hold onto that mental image. You're about to learn how to create it in the real world.
The Man Cave
The man cave may be a recent phenomenon, but the need for privacy that spawned it is universal and far older than the frantic pace of modern life. British poet William Wordsworth wrote in 1807 that “The world is too much with us; late and soon,/Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.” Sound familiar? In Wordsworth's time, a man's retreat from the world would likely have been a personal library with a fireplace and a comfortable leather chair. By the 1950s it had moved to the garage or, at best, the den. These days, though, you have so many more options. Sure, you could create yours in a remote location like a hunting cabin or favorite fishing spot. While that may be a great spot, it's certainly not convenient for those frequent visits. Instead, creating the right space in your home means that peace and quiet you want within a few steps.
What do you need for the perfect man cave? Just a few simple things.
- First, claim your space. It may be a spare bedroom, a basement, or an used garage like the ones shown here. As long as your future man cave has a roof, floor, and walls, you're off to a great start. Remove whatever stray items are cluttering the area and take a look around. Ahhh, a clean slate! Feels more like yours already, doesn't it?
- Be sure that the room has the basic necessities; even the manliest of men won't spend time where he isn't comfortable—that's just good sense. If it’s not already present, set up adequate heating and air conditioning. If you have space, add a bathroom (again, if it’s not already there). Check all wiring to make sure it's sufficient to your needs. If not, repair or replace it. The last thing you want is for your man cave to go up in flames because of an aging or poorly installed outlet. Do you have easy access to snacks and beverages? If not, make a fridge a priority, and stock it well.
- Next, start thinking function. What activities are an absolute must for you? If you imagine yourself watching sports with a group of friends, leave a wall area free—across from a comfortable couch, of course—for the television of your dreams. Do you hunt? Consider where you'll place your most treasured rifles or bows, your best-mounted heads or horns. For music lovers, a recording studio set-up may be ideal. Classic auto enthusiasts may have difficulty finding room for an entire 1957 Thunderbird, but a good workbench will allow for everything from refinishing the car's upholstery to rebuilding its engine.
- Last but not least, think visual appeal. Remember—this is your space, and whatever makes you happy should top the list. If you love a particular color, slap it on the walls! This is especially true for team colors; here, there are no limits to how you display your pride in a pro team or in your college sports affiliation. Consider a theme, but don't let yourself be limited by it; if you're equally excited about World War II propaganda art, seventeenth century farm equipment, and NASCAR, that's okay. While a simple, unifying concept can help the space feel calm and peaceful, an eclectic mix gives it energy.
Remember your imaginary happy place? Picture it again. This time, pause and write down elements that you can bring into your man cave's décor. Did you picture a dense forest far from everything? Consider using earth tones—browns, greens, dark blues—in your man cave furnishings and on the walls and include natural wood when possible. Did you picture yourself contentedly drifting on a sailboat? Consider hanging skeins of rope, some small anchors, and other vintage nautical gear. Did you picture a country fair, with carnival rides, comfort food, and live music? Now is finally the time to get that life-sized cardboard cutout of Tim McGraw out of storage.
One great thing about a man cave is that you can borrow from centuries of interior design . . . and still feel free to break any of the rules that don't suit your taste. Since this is a separate space from the rest of your home—both in form and in function—it doesn't have to match the living room sofa or the kitchen lighting fixtures. All it has to match is your own idea of perfect.