POSTED ON OCTOBER 17, 2012:
Pride in Your Pad
Bachelor spaces for grownups
The term "bachelor pad" is a vague one. The phrase can conjure up any number of images. Perhaps for some it brings about visions of loft-like spaces with James Bond sleekness, dark minimal furnishings, original abstract art and high-tech gadgets. Others may think of a garage apartment furnished with a hand-me-down sofa, rugby equipment piled up in the corner, and an Animal House poster tacked to the wall.
What exactly is a bachelor pad and what exactly does it look like?
The very reputable urbandictionary.com defines bachelor pad as "a Japanese futon for one."
That fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, will tell you that "In the United States, it generally refers to small houses or apartments where unmarried men, often college/university students, live until they obtain larger or more luxurious houses or apartments, are married, or generally 'move up' in standards of living and taste."
And what does a bachelor pad communicate about the man who inhabits it?
Such a space could either scream "cultured" or "clueless." It most definitely whispers very clearly "No woman, gay man or artist lives here." James Bond surely had a decorator and a smokin' hot one at that.
Whether it be a launching pad or a landing pad, across the board the phrase "bachelor pad" tends to communicate, "somewhere in between." But it doesn't mean that it has to look and feel that way.
The Idea in Action
When young professional Ian Mitevski looked to purchase his first home, he quickly saw the potential in the midcentury condo complex The Olympian. With the help of friend and interior decorator Kristin Jacobs, Ian's space was quickly transformed from a nondescript concrete block to a very personalized home of glass, steel, concrete, leather and well-placed zebra wood.
"Less is more," Mitevski said. "I prefer less junk. I didn't want clutter to take away from the metro environment, so I've kept it very minimal. The great thing about a bachelor pad is that it can be completely tailored to your own tastes. I live alone, I entertain adults and my home needs to be suited to that." Given, sometimes discovering just how to achieve the communication of those tastes requires a bit of creative assistance.
A Girl's Touch
Bachelor Marcus Abernathy still recalls his embarrassment when a girlfriend first inspected his apartment back in 2007.
"One evening at my apartment, she started really looking around," Abernathy said. "I was more embarrassed the more corners she turned. I had laundry everywhere, I hadn't done the dishes, and who knows what the bathroom looked and smelled like."
Abernathy thought that surely this visit would be the last.
"As she circled back through to the living room, all I could do was shrug my shoulders and was throw up the best grin I could as if to say 'yeah, I really live here,'" he said. "She sat down next to me, put her hand on my leg and said 'It's fine, you just need a girl's touch.' That was that."
Mitevski and Abernathy are not alone in their desire to create dwellings that are entertainment friendly and that don't send visitors running for the nearest Pottery Barn in disgust and horror.
Interior decorator Victoria Dickinson started decorating as a hobby but quickly turned it into a business when she noticed that her single and divorced male friends were often calling her for aesthetic guidance. "Most of my clients are newly divorced men that want to make their home have a sense of style, but have no idea how to get the look they desire," Dickinson said.
Dickinson often encounters men's homes that fall somewhere on the spectrum between no particular or deliberate style to rooms that look straight out of a furnishing showroom.
For a bit of improvement, Dickenson offers a few tips for making a bachelor pad, dare I say, more female friendly for those who should feel so inclined.
Don't Be Afraid to Personalize
"Men usually start shopping at the furniture store," Dickenson said. "They tend to succumb to the temptation to buy everything from the same store at the same time. I recommend that my clients spend some time looking at magazines and on the internet to find a style they like and also will feel comfortable living with. This also helps a client avoid the tendency to play it too safe."
Helping them past the floral couch and brass lamp is a first step, she said. "I am always looking at flea markets, garage sales and used furniture stores for interesting table bases, light fixtures and chairs. Using one of a kind pieces like these make a home look unique and also deter a man's tendency to make everything too matchy matchy."
Ditch the Shot Glasses
Yes, the shot glass collection, and the Mardi Gras beads, fraternity memorabilia, and other leftovers from post-pubescence. Instead, man up and invest in a few comforts.
"Bachelors can improve their living space immensely by keeping their home simple," Dickenson said. "Women are not usually impressed by clutter. If they have some attention to a few details, such as nice linens and a couple of interesting pieces of art, it conveys pride without spending a ton of money. Most women I know do check out a man's living space, maybe not on the first date but at some point."
Pick up every now and then or hire a housekeeper.
"If a man's home screams that he needs a woman to pick up after him, they will usually run," Dickenson said. "If a man is not inclined to be tidy on his own, I help my clients with simple ways to keep clutter to a minimum without a lot of effort."
Also out are pieces of dirty furniture, piles of clothes on the floor, and even the favorite old neon beer sign.
"Beer signs have a place in a man cave," Dickenson said, "but definitely not in the main living space. All these things seem to convey an attitude that men just don't care about their home which makes women who date them think they don't have long term potential."
Which is maybe just how you want it.
Just be sure to send the message you really mean to send. Live on purpose. Your living space communicates much about who you are, where you've been, and also where you're headed.
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