The term “masculine design” conjures up images of everything from gentlemen’s clubs — of both kinds — to game hunters’ trophy rooms to Dean Martin’s 007 knock off, Matt Helm, and his rotating lovenest.  With decades of wince-inducing cliches like those to live down, masculine design has spent the current century coming into its own through the work of designers like Thom Filicia — who renovated more nasty bachelor pads than anyone wants to remember as part of the Fab Five on “Queer Eye” — to Roman and Williams, with their use of every day materials like Pendleton blankets to fashion relaxed sophistication. The unsung heroes of masculine design in the past decade, however, have been quiet journeymen who have created their own spaces by hand: Blake Dollahite being the prime example. His self-made work restoring a house and creating many of the pieces within it set the bar for any number of folks currently doing the daily work of masculine design.

Given that many of us have neither the skills nor the freedom to craft our own spaces, here’s a very brief primer on masculine design to help you through the sea of choices out there when you’re looking to update your quarters.

1. Color. It’s time to say goodbye to stark white rooms filled with glass and chrome. In fact, it’s about 30 years past time to say goodbye. Masculine design is all about relaxed sophistication and that means allowing warmth through color. Take a look at the rooms pictured below to see how color plays a key role.

2. Texture. Texture provides interest; a break from whatever else might be otherwise filling your space. Be it on a wall, your choice of flooring, or in the pieces you collect, texture is a key component for masculine design.

3. Using simple materials well. Confidence is the key to masculine design and nothing expresses confidence more than choosing simple items and using them with restraint. Your place (probably) ain’t Southfork, and you don’t need to follow the old rule that if a little of something is good then a lot of it must be great. Selecting and being selective with the use of quality materials is my final tenant (for now) of masculine design.

3 Responses to What is Masculine Design?

  1. mim eckerman says:

    Hi Dave,
    Love your site and have been looking at it for the last 2 years and got loads of great ideas from the images. My husband and I embarked on a new build a year ago and just moved in 2 months ago. I am drawn to the images you post and feel it has influenced what we wanted in our new house which was architecturally designed. If you want to have a look – The Buderim House 2013
    I am very proud of it and love living in our new house.
    Big Hi from Queensland Australia.

    • Dave says:

      Mim, thank you SO much for your very kind comment! You must be immensely proud of your new home — it looks like a masterpiece! It was the experience of building my own home 8 years ago that brought me to start thinking about design–if only I’d had a resource like Japanese Trash at the time, it would have made a world of difference. So, thinking I might build again some day (or redo this house), I started the site as my own little reference library for the future. And I’m really glad it was able to be of help to you. Welcome to Japanese Trash!

  2. […] glimpse of a bathroom has been on my “What is Masculine Design?” page for a couple of years now–it was one of the first images I gravitated to when […]

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