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The Man Cave is Kaput – But What’s Next?

“The Dudeplex” by Brookfield Residential / Supplied
“The Dudeplex” by Brookfield Residential / Supplied

It’s hard to be sentimental about the proverbial man cave, with its cracked hand-me-down leather couches, 10-year old movie posters and beer kegs, all housed in a dank basement suite. In an age where interior design is more accessible than ever and peers are sharing almost every aspect of their lives on social media, one can’t help but wonder why a younger male who is just starting out would choose to live in spaces that look like caves, not homes.

The jury’s still out on whether the man cave is over for good. Luckily, there’s plenty of design elements that can make a place feel like a prideful first home—not an outdated bachelor pad.

Bloomberg design writer James Tarmy minced no words when he said “’bachelor pad’ is a nice way of saying ‘house that is very comfortable and very ugly.” And based on recent trends from this generation, man caves might not just be ugly to the trained eye—they may be out of step with what men actually want.

Experts agree that first-time home buyers don’t all share one preferred interior design aesthetic. What many of them do want, though, is a space that reflects their individuality. The Instagram-worthy minimalist and mid-century modern aesthetic treasures clean, organized space—the near-antithesis to the traditional, lazily designed bachelor pad.

Others agree that young men are changing the face of masculinity, valuing self-awareness over cookie-cutter ideals of what a man should be. Ditching their dad’s brand of man caves, then, might be part of a larger shift towards a new male culture altogether.

Raegan Sather, marketing manager at Brookfield Residential, maintains that male dwellings and bad interior design don’t have to be synonymous. She says that men often leave their parents’ places or dank basement suites looking for a change in aesthetic. “Living in your own place comes with a sort of pride. You want to have people over, but you don’t want it to look like a bachelor pad,” she says.

This West Edmonton duplex was designed with first-time buyers in mind / Supplied

This West Edmonton duplex was designed with first-time buyers in mind / Supplied

Sather says the Dudeplex—Brookfield’s decidedly man-cave-less West Edmonton duplex—is just one option for men looking to upgrade their digs. Brookfield designed the home with their 20-something and 30-something male homebuyers in mind.

The home is outfitted with subtly masculine design elements, like matte black finishing on all hardware like sink faucets and door knobs, granite and stainless steel in the kitchen and a smart-tech package—including features that let the homebuyer adjust the thermostat, security cameras and open the garage door all from their smartphone.

The floorplan is customizable, too, depending on whether the buyer is living on their own, with a roommate, or a partner. The upstairs can be customized to fit two master bathrooms (each with their own ensuite bathroom), or one master suite and two regular bedrooms—perfect for transforming into office space and guest rooms. The basement comes unfinished, leaving the buyer the option to upgrade it themselves into a home gym or extra entertainment space.

First-time home buyers are coming to recognize customizability as one of benefits of owning a home. But another sometimes-overlooked perk of home ownership is its long-term affordability when compared to renting. Townhouses and duplexes in Edmonton often boast monthly mortgage payments similar to (or, sometimes even cheaper) than what the buyer would be paying for rent.

Like Brookfield’s other homes in the West Edmonton Edgemont neighbourhood, the Dudeplex comes with the option of biweekly mortgage payments. This allows the buyer to build equity all while enjoying a low-barrier first step to the security of home ownership.

Plus, Sather says the neighbourhood leaves the city at its residents’ fingertips, all while being stacked with activities in their own neighbourhood.

“In Edgemont, we like to say that you have the city in your front yard and activities in your backyard,” Sather explains. Edgemont is a half-hour drive downtown and just outside the Anthony Henday ring road, making it easy to get to work or events at Rogers Place and Jasper Ave. There’s plenty to do in the neighbourhood itself, with a bevy of walking and running paths, not to mention easy access to the sprawling Whitemud Ravine.

And while the Dudeplex may be many things that suit the up-and-coming generations, Sather is clear on one thing it’s not: a man cave.

“It’s redefining the man cave in a more sophisticated way.”

Brookfield is hosting the Dudeplex Open Haus on Wednesday, February 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (with beer, bratwursts and hot pretzels). Learn more and sign up at thedudeplex.com.


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