Interior Thinking: No Girls Allowed


No Girls Allowed – Interior Thinking – Robin Meyer

Did you ever live in a neighborhood growing up that had a clubhouse all the boys built that had a giant sign on it that read, “NO GIRLS ALLOWED”? Brothers have been posting those on their bedroom doors for years. Yes, as these boys grew into men they started allowing girls to share their spaces. There is actually a term to describe the science behind the need for one’s own space; proxemics: the study of human use of space and how this space relates to environmental and cultural factors. Edward T Hall, a cultural anthropologist, specializing in proxemics, explains that we each need our own space to help us define who we are and how we fit into society. So, it’s not surprising that those boys grew into men who still like to have spaces of their own, just like women like to have areas of their own to rest and relax and chat with other girls.

What exactly does a man’s space look like? Most of the spaces I’ve ever created for a man scream “masculine.” Darker colors, heavier textiles and dark wood, or any kind of wood for that matter, is an optimum choice for materials. I have never met a man who told me he wants his space to feel light and airy. When I think of a man’s space, I think of a “man cave,” home office, bar, garage, or a grill with an outdoor kitchen. They want to display items of sentimental importance, such as awards, sports memorabilia, armed service mementos or taxidermy trophies. A lot of the items the women in their life may not want to display.

With modern technology, many in the work force find themselves working remotely. In this case, it is important for a man to have a home office that functions properly and is aesthetically pleasing. The same rules apply for gathering information to make this a space he will enjoy. What kind of lighting does he like – task, overhead or both? Does he prefer a traditional wood desk, or something a little more industrial? Most men choose to incorporate wood, leather or metal somewhere. This room can be as handsome as he likes. However, some men may prefer a more modern twist on the space and will still want to use a mixture of wood, leather and metal, but add some glass and you’ve added a modern twist.

The label “man cave” sounds so barbaric. It’s just a word-play away from being a cave man, and it sounds like a small dark hole where women fear to go. Actually, I think of it as a home theater room where the remote is all theirs. Recliners are a must and they can be quite attractive if they’re not too overstuffed and they all match. Frame some nice posters of his favorite movies, put in a popcorn machine, a working bar and you have one happy man.

Ah, the outdoor grilling area. I love a good steak from the grill and men usually love grilling. This space should be thought out carefully. If your man does most of the grilling, then let him be involved with the layout. How much room does he need to prep? Does he have the counter space to layout all of the different items he wants to grill?  Sinks, under counter refrigerator, or even a beer tap can make his outdoor cooking a pleasure.

Another space we often refer to as a man’s space is the garage or workshop. If you don’t want power tools, screw drivers, nuts and bolts and hammers lying everywhere, invest in a modular garage system. Make sure a work bench is included in the design. Keep in mind the type of work he enjoys doing. The space should be tailored to the work being done and customized accordingly.

So, whether it’s an outdoor garage, a grilling area, an indoor office, or a “man cave,” make sure you communicate and have a clear understanding of his needs, as well as the purpose for the space. Creating individual spaces for everyone is important for a happy, healthy family environment.

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