From a sleek spot in nature to state-of-the-art suites kitted out with every fine accessory imaginable, He Rooms fit for a king are being created as an escape from the rest of the home.
Seventy years ago many an average suburban man’s garden shed was his castle. It’s where he might have retreated to after a day’s work to potter among his tools and tinker with his latest projects, perhaps check in on his seedlings for the veggie garden and even have a cheeky cigarette, even though he didn’t really smoke. But now, the He Room is a phenomenon that’s growing – whether as a standalone entity on a property or taking up a significant portion of a home’s footprint.
It’s not simply a place where the men can retire to for a post-prandial cigar – it’s a state-of-the-art, very carefully constructed luxury space (and not of the Hugh Hefner variety, either). And many living areas are now being designed specifically with a He Room in mind.
Wired for sound
The foundation of any successful He Room is the quality of the sound. In fact, before the furnishings have been discussed, any serious He Room owner or designer will have called in the expertise of a home-entertainment specialist to work with the acoustics in the space. Surround sound that’s Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-controlled and accessible (on and off-site) via a central remote are an essential. It goes without saying that a He Room needs to be sufficiently sound-proofed and this is best discussed prior to the build phase of its development.
TV library and streaming
‘Cutting the cord’ is essential to ensuring your He Room is a 21st-century space. This means access to the very latest in video- and TV-streaming services, with cloud movie-library maintenance a must. A smart TV is the most obvious place to start for accessing Showmax and Netflix – from there, devices like Apple TV or Google’s Chromecast throw the net wider for content. For gamers, the jury is out on whether Sony’s PlayStation 4 or Microsoft’s Xbox One is best for streaming games – either way, some form of gaming device is an essential for the en flique He Room.
Whisky and gin bar
Want to sort the men from the boys? Aside from a temperature-controlled wine fridge, a kitted-out gin or whisky bar is a definite must-have in a luxury He Room. Whether you choose a built-in unit or an on-trend trolley, it’s essential that it’s stocked with all the accoutrements needed to enjoy a fine tipple or a perfectly made martini. For whiskies, ensure a selection of fine single malts from some of the iconic Scottish and Irish distilleries and a handful of ‘interesting’ offerings collected over time. Good glassware and ice and water ensure you and your guests will be suitably sorted. For your gin bar, South Africa now has close to 100 independent producers so you’re spoilt for a choice of local product to mix in with the big-name international brands. Don’t forget a shaker for those who like their martinis ‘not stirred’, green olives for dirty martinis, lemons, quality tonic water and vermouth.
Lighting up isn’t to everyone’s taste but for those who equate their ultimate He Room with cigars, make sure you have a decent extraction system in place and, of course, decent cigars. Subscribe to www.cigars.co.za and they will send you a pick of their best – they have an excellent selection of supreme cigars and all the accessories you need to enjoy them. For storage, you may want to invest in a stand-up humidor, but a table humidor will do nicely, too.
An extension of state-of-the-art He Rooms is the rise of the luxe lockdown room – often, a He Room will double up as one. More and more, these ‘billionaire bunkers’ are becoming the stuff of movies – biometric key systems, ballistic-proof construction and an independent air and water supply are just some of the five-star safety features one can expect from these James Bond-esque spaces.
While men used to hide behind their newspapers in a comfy chair in the corner of the living room, 21st-century mores mean they can retire to a space that’s all about them.
Original article by Justine Hewitt shortened for online publication