A Room of His Own
When the hit movie He Said, She Said was released in 1991, baby boomers were in their 40s and focused on luring their husbands into the bedroom. Twenty years later, those boomers are snoring more and sleeping less, often waking up several times throughout the night. As a result, lots of Sarasota boomer women and their designers share a little secret: They’re furnishing guest rooms to entice the man of the house out of the master suite.
Always discreet, local realtors and interior designers know a Sarasota man-cave when they see one. They’re just not talking about them publicly. Far from the stereotypical, humid basement decorated with floppy old sectional sofas and tattered recliner chairs, the Sarasota man-cave is a bright, airy fortress of solitude that can be commandeered by guests when needed. The trend to anti-frill master bedrooms has also been growing nationally. Clean, contemporary-lined furniture is popular from locally available sources like Tommy Bahama and Global Views. Hickory Chair, a favorite of local ASID designers, offers customizable finishes for its wood pieces and a handsome upholstered quilted headboard from its Thomas O’Brien collection.
One trick, says a Sarasota designer, is to let your man wear the decorating pants in the family—at least when it comes to his private quarters. “Men tend to hate shag carpet,” says Gail Emmott of Rugs As Art. “They go for subdued designs; they don’t walk on the wild side.”
A subtle masculine touch is textured wall covering, says Jonathan Slentz of the Wallpaper Store in Sarasota. “Men love textures because they’re casual and comfortable,” he says. “Grass cloths are an obvious choice, but we’re seeing a trend to more complex woven textures and burlaps from Ronald Redding, a great-looking natural fiber alternative to trade-only designer grass cloth.”
Paints in beige tones with hints of gold provide an updated neutral shell, as do the chic new platinum grays. Designers like Patricia Morrison opt for a mix of textures and colors on furniture and various woods to create an eclectic, collected look. She layers substantial pieces—comfortable chairs, an important coffee table—with functional accents like ottomans or benches and lots of reading light. For one boomer husband, Morrison organized touch pads for thermostats, security and TV in one spot within easy reach from the bed—all low-voltage electronics of his dreams.
As mattress ads constantly remind us, one-third of our lives is devoted to sleep. But many couples aren’t getting their fair share, with women reporting more stress than men because of their mate’s sleeping habits, according to a 2011 National Sleep Foundation (NSF) poll. Sarasota couples are not the only ones sleeping alone: 12 percent of all married couples nationwide reported separate bedrooms, according to the poll. With cleverly designed rooms, they’re sleeping like European aristocrats have for centuries—and no one but their decorator knows for sure.