In the high-end property sector, there has been a marked increase in demand for experiential home amenities for collectors and connoisseurs. And men are shaping these trends as never before: from intimate retreats for smoking cigars, playing poker, or enjoying a prized rifle collection to vintage car galleries and elaborate rooms with billiards as the centerpiece. Here, Luxury Defined reports on the in-demand home amenities for the gentleman connoisseur.
To dismiss these showcases as a garage is like saying a Tesla is energy efficient. While true, the definitions veer wide of the mark, failing to fully capture the innovation, the luxury engineering, and the elegant presentation.
Infused with inspiration and artistry, high-end car galleries pay homage to the automotive art form. Upscale garages may house a handful of vintage autos or up to as many as 60 cars. Some are functional (with lifts, bays, and a full workshop) or serve solely as a display venue. In most, however, the car collection doubles as an art installation.
These ultimate garages include rotating turntables, state-of-the-art lighting to show off the exquisite chrome and paint jobs, not to mention a fully appointed décor. Common motifs are retro, with vintage gas pumps and diners, to the ultra-modern, rivaling any new-car showroom.
There is art to hang on the wall and art that you can drive.
Walt Danley of Walt Danley Real Estate, Paradise Valley, Arizona
Entertainment centers are increasingly de rigueur—with wet bars, screens, and other upscale appointments that allow owners and guests to enjoy an evening of camaraderie in the presence of four-wheeled masterpieces.
Add Walt Danley of Walt Danley Real Estate in Paradise Valley, Arizona, “These gentlemen’s retreats can be quite elaborate. I have seen a poker room with the air pulled out and refreshed every 90 seconds. An office/ theater with free seating and a desk facing the screen, pin lights in the ceiling subtly illuminating it. There was a 12-car underground garage with an elevator to take one car up onto the main level of the house for display on a large stage behind glass. As a car collector myself, I understand this. There is art to hang on the wall and art that you can drive.”
A pool or billiards table can be a work of art. Little wonder, then, that they now command prime space in an estate’s main living areas.
The same cannot be said for other fraternal nooks, which are happily relegated to intimate spots on the estate property, rather than a main living area. Take the cigar room, for instance.
One person’s “perfume” can wrinkle another family member’s nose. A cigar’s aroma is often an acquired taste. That’s why cigar rooms are intentionally located in an estate’s out-of-the-way corners and are equipped with elaborate filtering systems to scrub the smoke before extracting it outside. These smoking dens are designed with rich paneling, leather furnishings, wooden blinds, and stone fireplaces—stereotypically male materials that don’t absorb smoke in the same way cloth and upholstery does. In cigar rooms, upscale humidors, cutters, lighters, and ashtrays are, of course, de rigueur.
Says Helen Geer of William Means Real Estate in Charleston, South Carolina, “Even in historic homes, men are more involved in the restorations as like never before, carving out space for themselves—whether it’s a car room, a library, or an office. A client of mine is a volunteer football coach. He transformed his office into a tribute of winning seasons with trophies, photos and paintings with multiple TV screens to watch sports with his friends. The room flows to the pool area for great entertaining. Meanwhile his wife, whose passion is art, claimed the space above the three-bay garage to create a beautiful studio."
Likewise, masculine enclaves such as poker rooms (with sports memorabilia front and center) or rooms showcasing, say, a rifle or hunting collection, are frequently tucked away on the estate.
“It is no longer about storage, but rather entertainment and enjoying your collection with like-minded friends. My client is passionate about his guns. You wind down a fantastic staircase with walls of stone to an area with the wine cellar, a wet bar, and the secure and paneled gun room with a seating area. At this level of high-end real estate, individuals create the environment that reflects their personality,” says Tom Drougas of Sun Valley Real Estate, Sun Valley, Idaho.