The Ultimate Man Cave
Author: Rebecca Edwards | Photographer: Sandcastle Constructions, Inc.
In nearly every happy couple’s home, there remains a secret place few are privy to see. From the female’s perspective, it is a vortex of manliness and so void of any design aesthetic or modicum of tidiness that she dares to enter it. This mysterious, masculine room is the “man cave;” and ladies, no matter how evolved your significant other is, there are times he is summoned by a primal urge to seek refuge from you and the rest of the house in this testosterone-filled and fueled space.
And as it turns out, he’s doing you a favor. According to psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Walters of Lowcountry Psychiatric Associates, “There are absolutely benefits for both partners in having a man cave. The man cave has taken its own form over recent years, but the driving idea is one that has always been around—we are healthier individually and relationships are healthier when each partner has their own space and time.”
Walters, a happily married man, notes that women should also have an equivalent getaway. To this point, many men might retort, “Yeah, that’s the entire rest of the house,” further illuminating their need for a piece, even if it is a sliver, of the residential pie and a taste of spatial sanctity.
“When couples begin dating, ‘time apart’ is a part of their relationship,” Walters said. “This continues to be healthy in small doses during a healthy marriage. Couples who do not realize this need possibly have greater issues at hand.” Walters recommends that husbands first (and this is critical, boys) “take care of family and household responsibilities before enjoying personal time” and then jokes “and occasionally the man should clean thy cave.”
For those of you who are looking to excavate your own man cave, here’s how. Also referred to as the “man space,” the “man-tuary,” or for the deluxe dudes the “man-mahal,” the man cave is typically a castoff room, meaning a spare bedroom, media room, garage or basement. So by its very genesis, the man cave is excused from following any other design standards, organization credos or cleanliness codes otherwise maintained in the home. This opens up the realm of design possibility for the man cave dweller. Let’s start with man-a-phernalia. Man-a-phernalia can be anything machismo-reminiscent, such as power tools, nostalgic photos of days long past before the wife and kids (and presumably involving fraternity brothers), framed team jerseys and other sports memorabilia, the seemingly obligatory photo of an attractive and often unattainable woman (clothing optional), and/or trophies of a prized kill or act of valor (like winning a beer chugging contest).
When asked about what makes a man cave awesome, A.I.C owner Curt Hubner keeps it short and sweet. “The three key elements to a man cave are (holding up one finger) big sound, (holding up two fingers) big screens, and (holding three fingers) lots of toys,” he said. Hubner should know. He’s your go-to-guy when it comes to forging a technologically kick-ass man cave. A.I.C., which stands for Advanced Integrative Controls, specializes in home theatre, automation, audio, television and wireless products and services. Hubner has used his expertise to carve out his own macho niche. His cave is enshrouded with manliness—from a 123-inch flat screen that consumes an entire wall, to a 12 and a quarter-pound mounted bass, to an entire shelf of NASCAR memorabilia. The furniture includes a big converted cobalt equipment rack for his TV speakers and gear so he “can turn on Blu-ray and grab a wrench.” Plus, Hubner has a mixture of masculine materials like an assortment of reclaimed wood and “pieces of steel that just look like something cool.”
“This isn’t a place to watch the Notebook, or even Transformers—that just feels weird,” Hubner said. “This is a place where you drink beer and you can put things that your wife wouldn’t normally let you have like bowling pins. This is the place you don’t worry about stains or if something gets dirty. This is place where you just get to be a guy.”
Other possible man cave accoutrements include a dartboard, a kegerator, a pool table, man-snacks, a Foosball table, fishing and hunting equipment, a La-Z-Boy recliner with a built-in remote and cooler in the armrest, and steer horns and/or just about anything that if animated would growl or charge at you. Hubner consults with his man cave clients to also consider the following:
•**Audio.** “I have massive speakers in my man cave,” Hubner said. “Good quality speakers range from $1,000 to $80,000, so I recommend people installing speakers that fit their entertainment needs.”
•**Gaming.** According to Hubner, the gaming world is divided into different sects of gamers. So, when choosing your set-up he says, “What kind of gamer you are is important—you’ve got Play Station, Xbox, Wii, and PC gamers. Then you have to factor in what kind of games you play—do you like first person shooter games or more interactive games you might play with your kids?” (Note: Alternate-reality based gamers might also go as far as decorating the room to look like their favorite game.)
•**TV.** Hubner recommends Apple TV, hailing it as one of the “Top five AV inventions.” He also says, “Plasma is the best TV on the planet, especially for watching sporting events. Like a car, you get what you pay for, and if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it is.”
•**Integrated Technology.** Hubner has incorporated integrative technology into his man cave. The lighting dims 50 percent when he turns on the TV, and when he pushes the pause button on his remote, the lights go back up to 100 percent. Hubner can also control his thermostat and lighting from a phone app.
As for the man-mahal category, builder Tommy Smith of Sandcastle Constructors, Inc. has put some serious time and innovation into one particular man-ificent project. “We have one client who is a car enthusiast. His man cave is two-stories high and has both indoor and outdoor areas,” Smith said. Inside on the first floor is a four-car garage with two Ferraris, one Maserati and one Mercedes, porcelain floors, 900-lb mahogany garage doors and maintenance stations for each car with water, air and power. Attached to the garage section is a 2,500-bottle cellar with a humidor for cigars. In one section of the upstairs there are eight bunk beds (each equipped with its own 22-inch flat screen, USB port, and lighting and air controls), two full bathrooms and a kitchenette for his grandchildren. In the second section upstairs is a guest suite, complete with a full kitchen, full bath and sitting area. Outside is a half-court basketball court, shuffleboard court, Bocce court, full bar and seated area by a fire pit. Standing next to one of the Ferraris, Smith, who has developed a friendship with this particular client, says, “He deserves this. He’s worked hard and this is his reward. There is where a man can feel like a king.”
1. Izon Camera:
Monitor Your Man Cave
The iZON Remote Room Monitor allows you to view activity in your man cave via your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. iZON will tell you when something is happening in your man cave by sending an alert to your iDevice.
Price: $129.95 -15% off using code CYBER15
2. Cigar Box Speakers
These genuine cigar boxes come complete with their original brass hardware and labels, but have been reinforced with internal bracing and custom tuned for the 2.5” aluminum cone speaker.
Good Deed Audio
3. Stine Custom
Stine Gaming Tables builds the finest round and hold’em style tables you can buy. Don’t take our word for it; check out Stine’s list of satisfied celebrity clients. LeAnn Rimes and Slash may be worlds apart musically, but both enjoy poker on their custom hold’em tables.
4. Beer Keg Bar Stools
The kit includes a vinyl swivel seat that turns 360 degrees and a durable power-coated foot rest. The bar stool stands 32 inches high when assembled. The Keg Stool Kit has been featured on DIY’s Man Cave show and assembles in just minutes.
5. X Rocker Gaming Chair
The X Rocker Pro Series works with xBox, Playstation, Gameboy and any home theater system.
6. Professional grade indoor putting greens!
Price: see website
7. Whiskey Stones
9. Authentic Baseball Glove Leather Chair
Made by Rawlings, this is the chair crafted in the form of a gargantuan baseball glove, upholstered entirely with the same exceptional leather as the mitts used by professional ballplayers.
10. Life Size Storm Trooper Action Figure
11. Typographic Icon Movie Posters
12. American Patriot Personalized Cigar Humidor
13. New England Patriots NFL Team Carpet Tiles 18X18
14. Man Cave Custom Menu Board
16. Custom Built Single Kegerator
17. Viper Championship Backboard Set
18. Boston Red Sox Neon Sign