17 March 2011

House and Home: Hiding Under the Stairs

These days we have the "man cave", a garage or basement all set up for guy stuff. But what if you don't have a garage or basement to commandeer? What if you're idea of "guy stuff" doesn't involve tools and sports so much as liquor and jazz? You may have to resort to hiding under the stairs:
This little nook of unused space comes equipped with killer hi-fi equipment, record storage, a wall mounted phone and a bar complete with refrigeration and a sink, all encased in nice wood. I don't know about you, but I'd be under the stairs every night for hours in a nook like this.

Courtesy of Sir Terence Orby Conran's "The House Book"

First published in 1974, my copy is vintage 1982. Find it, study it. We tend to think of the 1970s as an ugly age, and mostly it was, but I'll be damned if there wasn't some murderous home design going on back then. I've had this book for years, but I still enjoy perusing it periodically. You will too.

p.s. an eclectic mix of new stuff has just hit "the shop", including vintage Brooks Brothers and J. Press, along with Italian police surplus, Allen Edmonds shoes, and old denim for the denim nerds. Check it.


Young Fogey said...

Great post, but I must object to the derogatory term "man cave." It reduces us to animals, delegitimizes based on the fact of our differences from women, and is yet another assault upon men and masculinity.

I do not blame you for picking up on a common term in popular culture, and I am not dumping on you, my friend. I am dumping on those who created this awful term, and on its propagation.

So what to say instead? How about den? Yes, a den can also be an animal's home, but at least den has a legitimate history as a certain kind of cozy room in a house. Depending on the man and his room, words like office, library, and study are also nice. My favorite term is rumpus room, but rec room and home bar are also excellent alternatives.

Just not "man cave," please. It's offensive to men.

And I do not take offense easily.

Cyclo2000 said...

For years I lusted after the deigns here,
great stuff, 1970-s, cool as fek.

brandon sargent said...

I laughed when I saw this post - my parents have that book too; I can remember reading as a young kid and can't help but thinking it had something to do with my career path...


Gregorius Mercator said...

I think that's why he put it in quotes. Personally, I think den has a nice, respectable ring to it, but we're certainly deep in the territory of semantics.

Anyway, as to the post - I love the built in hi-fi/bar combo. There's definitely some good design inspiration to be drawn from there.

Cheap Twills said...

I agree that it is easy to be rude about the 1970s: the decade that taste forgot; a truly dreary time in British politics; Jimmy Carter; the brown decade. Flares, platform soles and velvet. However, arguably (and I will argue) the best decade for popular music ever: the best of Dylan, the Stones, the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, the Faces, Paul Simon, the Clash, Patti Smith and so on...

T said...

I assume there's an Eames Lounge chair that we don't see in that top picture, because there is no way in hell I'm going to stand while nursing the Bunnahabhain and listening to Bill and Jim's "Undercurrent."

Giuseppe said...

Or at least an orange Steelcase conference room chair.

JimW said...

Hi, Giuseppe - long-time listener, first-time caller (so to speak).

I dig what you've done with limited space - let me guess: Marantz tuner, KLH speakers?

Anyway, keep the inspiration coming - I like the cut of your jib!