Bear Down in Your Man Cave

It’s the season for the man cave. Today, it can be a traditional retreat for men or an entertainment hub for the entire family.

By Emily Baker

The colorfully named “man cave” immediately calls to mind the Idea of retreat-and-hibernate. In a refined world, they’re also known as gentlemen’s cellars. They come in as many styles, shapes and purposes as they have owners. A man cave could be a music room, a billiards room, a woodworking shop, an art studio, a library, the kitchen or the more traditionally stereotypical lounge chairs and big screen TV with a keg in one corner and a poker table in the other.

Man caves have been made famous throughout pop culture history as a space that men can go to do “man things.” Tim “the Toolman” Taylor furthered the concept on the popular television show “Home Improvement” with his garage filled with tools, pegboards, cars and manly bonding time. As his portrayer, Tim Allen, stated, “If every man had a shed, there would be no wars.”

Man caves have been around for decades, but popularity seems to have spiked recently. In the end, a man cave is cultural slang for creating a space dedicated to a personal pursuit of a hobby or simply a getaway space without leaving home, regardless of gender.

Architects have taken the man cave concept to a whole new level with modern and masculine designs. Here, a few professionals share their work with us.

The Family Cave

This design is a little different in that it was built for both the man and woman of the house as an entertainment space for family and friends. Some of the traditional man cave elements are flexible seating for sports games, a special pool table, a bar space and blackout windows to improve viewing for movies and TV shows.

Designer: Devon Tobin, Duet Design Group | 303.783.9327 |

Bowling Alley

A client’s passion for bowling drove the design of this man cave, custom designed to emulate a mineshaft. The central feature is the two-lane bowling alley made from reclaimed historic planks. At the far end of the alley is a trompe d’oeil painting — an art technique that creates a realistic illusion — making the bowling alley seem like an actual mineshaft continuing into the distance. The basement is finished with wood, stone and steel, and comes equipped with many other essential man cave elements such as “beer, fire and multiple TVs,” according to designer Matt Robertson.

Architect: Matt Robertson, Clutch Design Studios, 303.284.7012 |

Wood: Reclaimed DesignWorks, Denver, 720.220.6777 |

The Watering Hole

Designed around the concept of “the watering hole,” the focus of this room is the ThinkGlass desk, illuminated bya blue LED light beneath the surface. Though officially a desk, with computer jacks and wi-fi plugs underneath, it can serve many functions, including bar or dining table. In addition, the room features three flat screen TVs, a fireplace, a barreled ceiling with reclaimed beams and a garage set off by glass doors through which the owner can display his Ferrari, Porsche Boxster and Harley Davidson.

Designer: Bev Adams, Interior Intuitions, 303.883.5763 |

Aspen Contemporary

This sophisticated room was designed as a part of a bachelor’s ski retreat in downtown Aspen. Inspired by contemporary boutique-style homes in Las Vegas, the central feature of this man cave is the lighting and art. The coffered ceiling was designed to be one large light installation and create the illusion of space and volume in the lower level room. Not featured in the photo is an adjacent home theater, a traditional feature in many man caves.

Architect: Bob Schaerer, Schaerer Architextural Interiors, 248.874.0605 |