Now that Mother’s Day has passed, I am looking forward to the month of June. It is a big month for two of the most important men in my life. Not only is Father’s Day on June 19th, but both my husband and my father will celebrate their birthdays in the next 30 days. It is no wonder that I have been thinking about men a lot lately! As it often happens, my professional life and personal life seem to align. While I begin to think about the upcoming male holidays, I just finished shooting a “his” space in a Summit, New Jersey home I designed which started me thinking about how differently I approach designing spaces for men.
When I work on designing a client’s home, my direct contact and primary decision maker is typically a woman. In many cases, it is her taste and style that are reflected in the home. While thinking about writing this blog about bringing out men’s taste in a home, I came across a Wall Street Journal article “Interior Design Men Can Get Behind” that perfectly articulates the obfuscation of a man’s influence in his own home – “…men have a terrible reputation when it comes to décor. It’s assumed that they’re either indifferent—living amid cruel amounts of chintz in a “whatever you want, honey” way—or energetically tasteless, as evidenced by their infamous man caves.” I guess I am not the only one perplexed by this. This article highlights a new website called TRNK whose tagline “Have a Handsome Home” sums up it’s mission to appeal to men interested in styling a home in their vernacular. Seems like men may be playing a bigger role in styling their own spaces.
We are all familiar with the well known and regarded shelter magazine – Elle Decor. Why “elle” meaning she or her when design should be for ALL. That is why I titled this blog “Homme Decor” – so men’s influence in decor can be seen and heard.
In my former profession working in fashion, I fell in love with the fabrics, patterns and styles of men’s clothing. For some reason, the materials felt more luxurious to me with rich tweeds, wools, cashmeres, gabardines, plaids, and supple leather goods. There are sumptuous sweaters I could sink into on a cold day with a cup of hot tea or suits I reimagined tailoring for a more feminine figure or a classic pair of tasteful loafers I dreamed of wearing until the soles wore thin. Then, there are the ties – in patterns and colors I can envision upholstering with or using as pillows or a wall covering. In men’s apparel, there is an incredible level of detail, workmanship and custom tailoring. It is no surprise that women’s fashion often takes its cue from menswear.
As trends have developed, men are getting much more fashion forward. Take the staple of men’s attire, the suit, for example. In the article “The Evolution of Men’s Suits”, The Guardian muses, “Aside from its status as an icon of unchanging heritage, the suit has also adapted itself subtly and cleverly to change. Indeed, there are many fashion journalists who now look to this staple of menswear for signs of creativity and innovation that have been lacking in womenswear for years.” The photo below is a testament to how men embrace style, not just in the colorful and well tailored clothing but in the accessories, patterns and fabrics.
When I have the opportunity to design spaces for men, I enjoy channeling my masculine side. I go back to men’s fashion for inspiration in the selection of materials, colors and textures. These “man spaces” are a great place in the home for men to display their avocations such as sports, art, music, travel mementos, family photographs, etc. Below is a VGI designed office customized for my client.
Below is a basement escape for a client who is a music enthusiast and collector. Album covers are great art. Something I think we took for granted and now those who saved them can incorporate the covers to reflect their personal interests along with other music memorabilia.
In this Greenwich, Connecticut study, the leather chair and ottoman conjure a well worn briefcase that saw many trips on MetroNorth and the dark, rich brown and charcoal palette creates a club room atmosphere.
This Larchmont, New York den fits like a well made suit. The tweed fabric on the sofa is tailored with a contrast band and nailhead detail and the bespoke finishes are evident in the contrast trim on the roman shades. Perhaps the zebra pattern on the ottoman imagines a great hunt (but only imagines :)). The tonal grey color palette creates a sophisticated masculine energy.
I would be remiss if I did not include the joy I get from designing for the younger men in the home, especially for my son Aidan who is a huge sports fanatic. His room is a perfect reflection of his passion for sports with the collection of his favorite teams, trophies, and other collectibles, while the backdrop is more mature and can evolve with him as his interests change.
As we move into June and think about celebrating the men we love, I leave you with some ideas for Father’s Day gifts with links to: Esquire’s 18 Father’s Day Gift Ideas, the 2016 World Whiskey Award, and Forbes’ 15 Best Father’s Day Gifts.
Happy Father’s Day – enjoy the men in your life this month!