Bachelors design their 'pads' to express who they are

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Real Estate,Merlisa Lawrence Corbett

The U.S. Census Bureau reported the median age at first marriage for men increased to 28.2 in 2010, from 26.8 in 2000. That means more guys are nesting and rethinking the bachelor pad.

No longer satisfied with disposable furniture or "Animal House" decor, today's bachelor seeks style and function in his home, said interior designer H. Alex Sanchez of Renaissance Design.

"Bachelors are taking better care of their spaces," Sanchez said. "Before guys used to use passed down furniture from their college days - just rag tag pieces they found and put together. Now their interiors are part of their brand. Now more than ever bachelors are really trying to make their spaces appealing."

Furniture manufacturers and interior designers are noticing. "The home design industry used to just focus on appealing to women and families," Sanchez said. "They just didn't think guys were interested."

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Today men can find sofas in masculine tweed, suede, charcoal gray and cobalt blue. Sanchez said pieces are more simple, with tailored edges.

"You have more pieces that are higher quality, but with less fuss," he said.

Rick Jacobs, a designer at Vatsu furniture store, said bachelors seek spaces reflective of who they are. They are staging their homes using "curation."

"A driving force within almost every facet of our daily lives as well as in home furnishings and decor can be attributed to curation," Jacobs said. "Much like a museum exhibition and punctuated by the increasing popularity of websites like Pinterest, the curation of a home allows for the development of a personally reflective collection of many disparate found objects and materials that combine to create a unique narrative."

Unlike the married man's "Man Cave," relegated to a "far-removed space of the home," Jacobs said the new bachelor pad results from "the freedom to blur the lines of such distinctions, even expand the idea from a room into concept for the entire home."

It is all about using colors, fabrics, lighting, materials and furnishings to tell a story about who lives there, Jacobs said. He sees more monochromatic color palettes, classic neutrals paired with pops of brights, mixtures of textures that create interest and depth and what he calls "sophistication of aesthetic and materials to reflect the individual."

Incorporating interests and hobbies is essential, Sanchez said, because bachelors are essentially big boys with large toys. Sanchez has one client who enjoys biking. In his office/guest bedroom Sanchez put up wallpaper featuring a scene from one of his biking trails.

"I'm taking up a whole wall and mounting all three of his bikes on one wall," Sanchez said. "It will actually look like part of the design and not just some random place to hide his bikes."

One of the biggest mistakes men make when decorating their homes, he said, is doing a cookie-cutter, stereotypical bachelor pad.

"They have the black leather furniture and "Scarface" pictures on the wall. No color anywhere," Sanchez said. "It's important to show who you are, to show your personality. Make your space unique."

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