Since the term was coined, ‘man cave’ has been ubiquitous with low lighting, large screens, leather comfy chairs and perhaps a vintage beer sign here and there. Despite this commercially popular appeal, luxury home owners are now proving that this formula for the sanctuary of the man of the house is not necessarily universal.
Instead of focusing on areas of the home where they can watch the latest game with their best buddies, men are now putting more thought into other rooms of the home. They’re opting for more sophisticated spaces such as a hobby room, potting shed, reading nook or even just a simple, relaxing TV room. Gender bias aside, these rooms are more specifically a showcase of the increasingly complex interests of today’s luxury home owner and an expansion on the capabilities of the luxury home for it’s high-minded and deep-pocketed occupants.
Erinn Valencich, a Beverly Hills-based interior designer, recently told the Wall Street Journal that she has worked on a number of high-end spaces for male home owners. One recent project that sticks out to Valencich is the tasting-room project that was installed in the space adjacent to a client’s wine cellar. The room was made one-of-a-kind with a glass wall that partitioned the two rooms.
“You could push a button and the glass went opaque and became a screen where you could watch a movie,” she said.
Technology Drives Luxury Amenities
What might set today’s luxury man caves apart from the rest is the emphasis that many home owners place on including innovative technology elements. While many of the traditional man caves feature the latest and greatest television and sound systems, luxury home owners such as Mike Kobb take that notion just a little bit further. Kobb recently installed a movie-and-listening lair in his San Francisco home. On the list of equipment utilized in the room is a 110-inch automated screen, a 4K, ultra-high-definition projector and a 14-speaker sound system.
“The video and sound quality are better than at any commercial cinema I’ve ever been to,” said Mr. Kobb.
But while some men watch movies and listen to music, others tinker. Such is the case with Chicago-native Tom Frattinger, who spent at least $35,000 to install a 500-square-foot model-train room in the basement of his home. Frattinger’s hobby room includes an impossibly intricate Chicago-inspired train setup inside a room decorated with blue walls and wood wainscoting with recessed lighting above the track.
Another tinkerer who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty is retired biochemist Alan Smith, who spent $100,000 to construct a 240-square-foot greenhouse on his 17-acre Wayland, Massachusetts property. The space is imbued with the love of an endlessly curious mind. The floors are a rough-hewed bluestone while the overhead skylights open automatically when the interior temperature rises.
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