It’s masculine, and it’s dressed to impress

What do you think of when you hear the words “interior design?” For many, it’s brightly colored throw pillows, creamy white furnishings or decadent greenery, but Minhnuyet Hardy of Atlanta’s Minhnuyet Hardy Interiors is making dark-colored, masculine designs look glamorous. According to her, it’s a design trend quickly on the rise.

When tasked with designing an entertainment space for an approximately 8,000 square foot Milton home for a stay-at-home artist and the owner of a fitness marketing firm, the expert designer decided to turn the often stigmatized term “man-cave” on its head.

“We tackled redoing the main level living, dining, breakfast, and master bedroom,” Hardy told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Once it was completed, the clients were so pleased with the result that they proceeded to promptly ask us to do the terrace level for a masculine entertaining space. The space was finished but was pretty sparse, with pool table, shuffleboard, bed, and framed signed baseball jerseys.”

The space no longer conjures up images of neon beer signs and tipsy games of ping pong. Instead, it’s sleek, elegant and glamorous — and undeniably masculine.

“We do a lot of masculine interiors and so, for us, masculinity plays a large role in our designs,” Hardy said. “Masculine design is my signature style. We tend to favor clean design, darker colors, natural elements, functional accessories and mixed metals, which most men like. However, I also incorporate elements that make masculine spaces feel inviting to women, such as pillows and throws. We use smart home components in our designs and try to utilize the latest technology while making the space cozy and beautiful.”

Credit: Mali Azima

Credit: Mali Azima

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“I would say yes, the last few years we see more and more interior designers painting rooms darker colors and even black rooms have become in vogue,” she said when asked if more homeowners are looking for masculine design. “Contrary to popular belief, darker colors don’t necessarily make a room smaller, they make a space cozy and more intimate.”

When it came time to transform the space, Hardy said that it was all about the bar.

“Gosh, it’s so hard to choose a particular element that I’m pleased with because everything works so well together,” she said. “However, If I must choose, I would say I loved how widening the cased openings between the pool table area to the bar and lounge made the space feel so much larger. The jerseys were previously framed on the basement wall; I thought showcasing them on the mannequins in the cabinet was a better way to display the collectables.

“In the bar, the backlit Cristallo countertop is just stunning in person. We used a backlit product that evenly lit the stone so there were no dark or overly bright areas. It was very cool to see in the space. We also incorporated a custom recessed refrigerated wine cabinet in the bar area. It was designed to be a walk in style, floor to ceiling glass with metal pegs to hold the bottles and lit from within.”

Another major improvement to the space came when Hardy decided to upgrade the lighting.

“I love to incorporate multiple layers of lighting in my design and sconces can help a space feel more cozy and intimate,” she said. “I love how the light from the sconces directly shines on the wood veneer wallpaper and highlights the metal accents in the wallpaper.

“The double barn doors were designed to open the poker/lounge room (previously a guest bedroom) when entertaining. The sectional selected was a sleeper and the large side tables with drawers could function as smaller dressers. The doors can be fully closed for privacy when my clients have guests spend the night.”

Credit: Mali Azima

Credit: Mali Azima

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For those looking to mimic the masculine lounge, Hardy suggested calling a professional.

“I would advise clients to order everything and have those items on hand before starting any construction project, especially with COVID delays still going on,” she said.

“I would advise hiring the right interior designer to help guide you. My clients were blown away with the design of the terrace level of their home, telling me that when they told me they wanted a bar in the basement, they imagined a small corner bar would be sufficient. The right designer can not only provide you with a fabulous design, but also help save you costly mistakes. They can also manage a project to ensure everything goes smoothly.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many decision go into renovating a space, from which way to lay the tile and flooring to where to install the light switches and what style dimmers to use. We work with several really wonderful general contractors but if left to their own decisions, things would not be installed to our preferences and standards.”

Credit: Mali Azima

Credit: Mali Azima

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As the economy continues to constrict homeowners’ budgets, some are choosing to revisit their old renovation projects rather than purchase new homes. Hardy said that getting a professional designer to renovate your space can lead to big bucks.

“I would say that any home that we have done a renovation or design for our clients has sold for top dollar,” she said. “Most people can’t visualize so if your home can look amazing, you WILL get top dollar when you go to sell. If you are considering renovating and have the funds to do so, there is not better time to start than the present. So many people renovate or refresh their home before they sell and then they do not get to enjoy the end result for very long.”