Despite being inducted into the Merriam-Webster dictionary this year, the term "man cave" is a divisive one. Critics imagine a smoky suburban basement, riddled with sports memorabilia and neon beer signs. Enthusiasts imagine pretty much the same scenario, plus a pinball machine. Joe Chiaccio saw only one thing when he set out to renovate his own basement: the potential to make quite a bit of money.
"A couple years ago, I inherited my great grandfather's pool table, and I started to look around online for things that I'd use to decorate and finish my man cave," he remembers. "A lot of places left a lot to be desired. It almost seemed like people were treating it as a joke. But it's a really serious thing: Guys, if they have the means, will spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on their man caves."
Chiaccio's New Jersey-based online store and design service, Man Cave Kingdom, does offer some of the kitsch we've come to expect. But along with the requisite "Live Nudes" sign, the site also offers designer furniture and custom-built kegerators that would look right at home in an upscale kitchen (and, with some going for more than $2,000, they should).
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For the man with a cave but no design sense, Chiaccio and his team (which, yes, includes women) will custom-build a space, from a small shed to the 10,000-square-foot airplane hangar they converted just outside Boston.
No matter your restrictions, Chiaccio says that creating the perfect space is actually pretty simple. "There's kind of a holy trinity of the man cave: the bar, the TV setup and the kegerator. That's really all you need right there."