Man caves move out of the garage


Showhome designs depict male power and prestige

Grey is in. Pink is out – at least it’s out in St. Albert’s latest crop of showhomes where the walls are predominantly grey or charcoal coloured, the trim is white and the floors are dark brown.

In each house, along with those grey walls there is a pervading sense of masculine strength that flows from the kitchen, to the bathrooms and even the family rooms and, of course, to the dens or man caves as they are now called.

Think steel, iron, rivets, pewter and polished metallic lustre and you’ll begin to have a sense of what’s happening here.

The most primal of these male bastion-style getaways is the attic, which is actually dubbed “man cave” in the Sarasota showhome in the Brickyard of Erin Ridge.

The desk in this room is an abstract-appearing, angular shape with one big slab of metal jutting out to the side to support the structure.

The floor is dark brown and to the casual eye appears to be made of lizard skin or perhaps alligator.

“The floor is recycled leather,” said Sarasota salesperson Glenda McCraw, who explained that the leather is treated and can be cleaned with a mop and water.

“I’m not sure you’d want it in a kitchen, where you were dragging chairs over it all the time, but in this room, which is more of a playroom, it’s just fine,” she said.

McCraw is spot on when she talks about the idea of a playroom. It’s a room meant for watching football or playing poker with the boys. It’s almost fraternity-house-like in its décor, except that no frat house ever looked this posh.

The grey, pearl-white and brown theme continues downstairs in the kitchen, which has two- toned cupboards. The huge centre island is charcoal coloured and the cabinets are cream coloured. The floor is dark brown.

It’s a colourless scheme that evokes a soothing sense of calmness and memories of safe harbours.

The Elements

The dark grey walls in the Parkwood Master Builder showhome, in the Elements of Erin Ridge, accentuate the beauty of an extraordinary curved staircase that leads to a family-oriented bonus room and a wide upstairs landing. Stand upstairs and look down and you see the gunmetal coloured furnishings of the front-foyer office. The dark coloured wrought-iron railing is not lacy, however. Instead, the railing almost looks as if it was forged from the same steel as swords.

But on a winter’s evening when the low-setting sun casts orange, pink and salmon coloured beams of light through the west-facing windows of this home, the taupe and grey coloured walls and the silver, grey and white kitchen, all appear warm and very inviting.

The Bedrock showhome also features a front-entry office. Here the desk is a polished, darker metal that in some lights appears to have brass highlights. The desk features a silver-metal telephone, a black globe and a dark-coloured statue of a warhorse. Not quite a man cave in the playing sense, but certainly, this room speaks volumes about strength and power.

There is a riveted metal coffee table desk in the family room and upstairs in the bonus room, the art is black and white and depicts a skyscape of several men sitting on a high crane as they eat their lunch out of riveted metal boxes.

There is one hint of femininity in this home and that’s in the dining room, which features butterscotch gold satin covered chairs against a backdrop of softly textured floral draperies. The walls are gunmetal grey and the flooring is dark, providing a combination that is very elegant.

The kitchen in the Daytona showhome is polished and black. The adjacent family room features a solid, masculine looking stone and concrete fireplace.

Dark grey or camel coloured walls and dark brown floors provide a natural looking background that serves as the perfect foil for brighter accessories, but the odd thing is, the most commonly seen showhome furnishings this year are white or black and they are made of smooth leather.

These houses are sleek and untextured and in almost every case the opulent appearance comes from the burnished look of accessories such as metal desks and polished pewter appliances.

Check the Internet to see what colours are the latest must-haves in home décor and you’ll see the new rage is for hematite-coloured walls and furnishings. Hematite is a mineral said to have healing powers. Hematite varies in colour but is most often grey or silver with pearlescent highlights – much like the latest designs in the showhomes that grace St. Albert’s newest subdivisions.

Grey may be in. Metallic is really in. And hematite is to die for.


About Author

Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.