Time for man caves to receive face-lifts

Cindy Preller

A PLACE to play a game of pool, poker or simply just to scream at the top of your voice when your football team scores a goal.

The phenomenon of man caves is a fairly new concept in the Eastern Cape, although it's quite popular in North American homes to have a "male sanctuary".

Local interior designer Brigitte Hills from Brigitte Hills Interior Design in Port Elizabeth said most local men still decorate their man caves themselves. "To date I have never decorated one. Men probably think that it's not a 'chick thing'. I am up for the challenge though," Hills says.

Items which should not be in a man cave, Hills says, are "those bars made out of sleeper wood and tacky, old bar mugs, they're just dust collectors." Other than beer, must-have items for any self-respecting man cave should be "stylish, sleek cabinetry with good lighting, comfortable seating, and a big flat screen TV".

She said it would also depend on what the client's hobbies are like fishing, golf, or water sports in order to work out a plan for a tasteful theme.

"If a bit of thought is put into it, it can be a very stylish space too. My brother in the States thinks of his garage as his man cave and has every tool imaginable – but what a stylish man cave it is! It's organised and very impressive.. and he has a fridge for the beer in there too," Hills says.

Sharon Gravett from Wizard Interiors in Port Elizabeth says the "man cave" concept is definitely becoming an option with her clients. "Ranging from the beer drinking enthusiast to a client that has a preference for a whisky and or wine tasting and poker evening. The space, however grand or humble, should always reflect the interests, pursuits and aspirations of the client."

Gravett's ideal man cave would be inspired by the sitcom "Frasier" and the series "Mad Men" combined with modern technology. This would include worn tan or charcoal leather, distressed velvets, tweeds and heavy linens – generally "fabrics treated to survive the spills".

Some must-have items, Gravett says, would include a comfortable leather couch, a wall-mounted television as large as the space can handle, latest gaming consoles, wireless high speed internet, a surround-sound system, and temperature control and sound control (insulation to protect the rest of the household).

If the space allows it, a pool table, and another essential is a piece of original artwork or collector's item that "speaks" to the client.

Also, it would be better to have pictures bound in an appealing coffee table book.