Today’s post is brought to us by a special guest – Kate Abdou – of Designer Man Cave. Kate and I had coffee one day and got to hatting about all things man cave, and it was awesome. Seriously, I can’t wait to have my own little space of awesomeness.
I’ve spoken about the mental man cave before and how it plays such an important but risky role in us men. Withdrawing into yourself for reflection and zoning out is a necessary skill. Going deep down into your mental man cave can be a dark and very dangerous place, one that’s hard to get out of. However, the actual physical man cave allows the first one to flourish and have some genuine ‘Man-Time’ either by yourself or with the other men in your life.
Not just a space to avoid the nagging missus… and exactly what it shouldn’t be – the physical man cave is a place to relax, work, study, train and just be a man. Spending regular time in your masculine energy is vital to the healthy mind of every man.
What that actually is and how the space looks will be different for everyone. Gladly Kate has been kind enough to share with us how to go about setting up your very own man cave; what to do first, how to plan and how to budget to actually make it happen. Kate, over to you…
In general, a man cave has many interpretations, from a basement in a family home, to a backyard shed, to an entire bachelor pad apartment. Over at Designer Man Cave, a man cave is affectionately known as a ‘man space’. A domain that is uniquely masculine – a sanctuary where gents like to spend their precious downtime.
If you have space for such a retreat and you want to make it yours, it needs to be tackled with careful planning. In the long run, having a plan is a time saving technique and the outcome will be well executed!
TIP #1 – PLAN
Start writing down a plan of attack. This will come in handy when you start hitting the ground or cyber stores running.
Take a moment to define the purpose of your room:
– What do you spend time doing there?
– What will you need to aid that?
– Is there something you have always wanted? Now’s your chance!
– Is it a room just for you or do you need to allow for space and seating when your mates visit? (and they will if you create a cracking man cave!)
– Are you a collector (or hoarder!) of anything? This is YOUR space, so you can make allowances to display or store whatever you like.
– Will it have a TV? More often than not, it will, so check your options of electrical outlets and see if there are any restrictions with the placement or wall mounting of the TV.
These are some questions to get the ball rolling of your planning. I also recommend setting up a “Man Cave Makeover” bookmark folder on your web browser to store cool ideas and products that you come across.
It’s a fact that most men dislike shopping, so to prevent you walking around in frustrating circles, know what pieces you want buy before you go to buy them. In many cases, you can ‘kill a few birds with one stone’ (a horrible saying, but it best describes what I’m trying to say!). The point is, you will find it is a better use of time to go shopping with an entire list to tackle.
TIP #2 – MEASURE
Get yourself a notebook, pen and tape measure and start wandering around your soon to be man cave.
Unless you have an expert (like moi) to measure and do the spatial planning for you, this is an especially important step for you to do when prepping for your shopping.
– Draw a floor plan of the whole room and write down all the measurements
– Include doorways, windows and electrical points
– It’s also handy to have an idea of what size furniture you will need for the space before you start looking.
So there you go. Step one of planning is so easy you don’t have to leave your house!
TIP #3 – BUDGET
One of the first questions I ask my clients when we first chat about their interior project is what their budget is. The response is commonly “ummmm” and fair enough! If I weren’t a designer and trained about furniture, finishes and all things interior, I wouldn’t know what value to place on home products either.
Ask a man about the value and quality of his suit, shoes and watch and the response will come quickly and with ease. It’s these specialty mens products that gents are familiar with, because they purchase them regularly.
The same rules apply to interior products, so here are some tips to get you up to speed so you can become as wised up about your furniture purchase as you are about your last shoe purchase.
The thing is, until there is a dollar figure on what you have allocated to spend, the furniture shopping can’t begin. Here’s the catch 22 though, you can’t name a figure when you don’t know how much things cost.
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
This can be a grey area, especially when designer brand names become involved, but generally speaking you do get what you pay for. If you buy a $50 chair, you will get $50 of value from it. There are no guarantees how long it will last. Don’t be surprised though, if you have to replace it in a years time.
This is always where I get up on my longevity and sustainability high horse. When you buy crap that you have to throw out within a couple of years, it generally ends up in landfill. When you buy something that will last you for many years to come, it is an investment and providing you look after it, you won’t have to shop for a replacement anytime soon.
There are many levels of furniture and finishes from super cheap Ikea sofa from $499 to top of the line Italian sofa for $12,000 and upwards and everything in between. It is dependent on what size it is, what materials it is made out of, the quality of the frame, cushion filling and fabric and where it is made (locally or overseas).
Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are shopping. Enquire about the product and its manufacturing. I also recommend visiting a few different stores that offer different quality categories of furniture. This will start to help you categorise quality and value.
Once you get an understanding of the different levels, you will be in a better position to know what you are getting for your money. Keep that magic rule in mind – you often get what you pay for.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
This is always an underlying style rule, especially at Designer Man Cave. Have a think about how to spend your money and what you actually need. You are better to have fewer REALLY nice items with amazing craftsmanship than a room of lots of cheaper stuff, just for the sake of it.
Remember also, that your man cave can evolve. You can always add to it down the track or when you have more budget for that next piece. Don’t think you have to do everything at once. Prioritise.
START A BUDGET PLAN
When you have a shopping list roughed out, start to jot down some estimate pricing as you do your research to get an idea of the big picture. Obtaining prices off websites or enquiring online will save you time pounding the pavement.
Keep the comparison about your clothing and furniture purchases in mind. Buying a cheap tie is similar to buying a cheap upholstered armchair. The fabric quality is low, the stitching isn’t top notch, it looks cheap and you won’t use it for years to come. Compare that to purchasing a mid-high priced tie. Not only have you bought something that is better made and a classic addition to your wardrobe, you also place a higher value on it and more likely than not, feel better when wearing it (or in the case of an armchair – sitting back in it!).
SOME TIPS FOR WHEN YOU’RE OUT SHOPPING:
- Enquire about the specifics of the product you are interested in. The sales assistant should know all about the items they are selling. If they don’t they can find out for you.
- Ask about where it is made – locally in Australia? Asia? Europe?
- Check the availability of stock. There is no point falling in love with a piece of furniture that you need immediately, only to find out it will take 10 weeks to arrive.
- Ask what the delivery price is and add it to your budget allowance.
- Shopping for multiple items in one store is not only less of a headache of running around town, but is more efficient when it comes to the delivery cost and logistics. One payment, one delivery.
So there you go. With a bit of thinking, researching and planning, your perfect man cave can be very achievable. Whether it will be a dream bachelor pad, shed, music room, den, bar, media room, sports room…you could be escaping to the sanctuary and peace of your man space, kicking back and sipping a beer in no time.
About Kate: “Kate Abdou is an interior designer and decorator who specialises in masculine spaces for gents. She loves working with new clients to transform their home or office into their personalised sanctuary. Kate’s website, Designer Man Cave is an online guide for the modern man from her female perspective. It is a lifestyle hub of ideas, products and services for men who who have an appreciation of style, design and the finer things in life. When Kate isn’t designing, interior shopping or writing, she likes to buy fresh flowers, drink champagne and live a fit and healthy lifestyle.