It's Valentine's month! you Love your man? / by Paula Henry

Ladies, if you love your men, you will listen to their pleas, some silent, and some not so silent.  If Cupid were to pay your better half a visit to make his fantasy a reality in your home, what would it be?  Bets are it would be a “man cave.”  A room all his own where he is comfortable, surrounded by his special collections, trophies, memorabilia and “stuff.”  A room that is by invitation only and no one tells him the piles are getting too high and it is time to clean up.  A personal retreat where he doesn’t feel judged, knows where things are and simply kicking back and relaxing is possible.  Maybe it is a room he (& even you) loves to show off because it is filled with all of his favorite bells and whistles including a big screen TV and a well-stocked bar. 
My husband used to be very vocal about not having his “own space.” I learned his love language and gave him what he desired.  He has his very own home office and a finished basement (or lower level if you want it to sound fancy,) two areas in our home that I rarely enter.  Although I was not able to accommodate his much desired pool table in my design due to space restrictions, the lower level is complete with a comfortable area for game time and a wet bar stocked with many of his favorite Scotches.  He is very proud to show it off.
If you don’t have the space in your home to create a man cave, don’t frown upon the idea of a shed.  They come in lots of sizes and can be wired with electricity and plumbing.  If you have followed any of the press surrounding“tiny houses” you will see that many are much like sheds.  One of my clients recently purchased a shed for her husband.  You may think that doesn’t sound very romantic but he was ecstatic.  In just a matter of weeks, that shed was tricked out with his favorite toys (tools) and turned into a very functional wood shop.  The man couldn’t be happier in his new retreat.
A number of years ago, I was asked to design a “Man Cave” for the Maryland Home and Garden Show.  My task was to transform a 12’ X 20’ shed into a Man Cave inspired by a famous Maryland man.  My man was the infamous number 8, Cal Ripkin.  As a nod to the baseball field, I installed large orange & gold diamonds over walls that were painted black.  Ripkin memorabilia adorned the walls.  In what would seem impossible for a space that small, I created two zones.  One was for seating and TV and the other housed a bar and a poker table.  It was the hit of the show and landed me a spot on live TV.

Ladies, for this Valentine’s Day, show your men a little love and give them a little “space.”  Oh and guys, don’t forget to inspire your women to show you that love.  Start with a bouquet of beautiful flowers and some chocolate!  And perhaps say YES to hire a designer to help her create something beautiful for herself!