There is a term in design occurring more frequently. It’s called Masculine Design. Now, what does that evoke culturally? Man Caves? Sports Memorabilia? Hunting conquests? I have become intrigued with Masculine Design and designing for men, but women are also drawn to the sensual feeling Masculine Design evokes. For example, the simplicity and history of a sexy, worn leather chair can spark interest and conversation, as well as comfort and relaxation. I spoke with experts on Masculine Design, one female designer and one male. Here’s what they expressed.
What Men Want
Matt Pierce, of Wood & Faulk, who runs a unique and visually appealing website offering a line of home and fashion accessories, enlightened me from a man’s design perspective. When asked the three elements that prevail in masculine design he explained that “nostalgia, comfort and choice of materials” are what men gravitate towards naturally because most men like things that are “well used and have some history.”
He went on to share that “societal mores about how guys are supposed to be indifferent about design and style in their home is pretty sad. Who wants to live in a place that doesn’t feel comfortable to them? Fellas shouldn’t be timid about giving a damn about what their house looks like. Start with a favorite chair. Additionally, a great sounding hi-fi is crucial to a man’s space.”
How to Design a Masculine Space
Kyla Ray of Port & Quarter feels that masculine design is very similar to men’s fashion: timeless and classic with a dose of personality. Kyla recently designed a home for a client in the medical profession so she installed a gallery wall of medical charts. See image below.
When I asked Pierce about trends in masculine design he said, “Don’t look for trends. Look for timeless, look for classic, look for elements that speak to your past. Look at other cultures, in other continents, in societies that are much older than our own. One way to jumpstart this look is to flip through some old Terence Conran books. Get a 70’s edition of The House Book and you’re set. Most of those spaces look like they could’ve happened today, the only clue they happened 40+ years ago is the look of the electronics. If you go for trends 2016, you’re likely to be sick of the space come 2018.” Kyla Ray, of Port & Quarter, feels similarly by stating that “there is never a huge shift in trends for masculine design because of the repeat of classic lines and timeless materials (subway tiles, smoky woods, wools, knits, grey tones and texture) but she also concurs that there is a huge shift toward the integration of technology with smart homes. It’s becoming more widely available and affordable.
Masculine and Feminine Unite
When asked about combining both masculine and feminine design elements both Pierce and Ray agrees that classic elements appeal to both men and women. Ray states that most female like the masculine materials such as wool, leather and metals as long as they are “softened up.” Generally speaking, in the world of home design, less is more, so make a statement with a great piece of art collected on an exotic adventure but don’t clutter a space with unnecessary accessories. Love the pieces in your space.
What I loved most about my interview with Kyla was her assertion that men are are also gravitating toward a woman’s historical domain: the kitchen. Men are “experimenting in their home kitchens and love the feel of the industrial kitchen.” They want to be able to create with the industrial elements of commercial faucets, concrete and stainless surfaces, as well as, large ranges and refrigerators. Yeah, I think we can all agree that men and women can find a mutual love of design combining the best of both worlds: masculine tradition softened with feminine elements. As Matt Pierce so poetically stated, “just steer away from anything that has the word ‘cottage’ in the description.”
Conran, Terence. The House Book. New York: Crown, 1976