5 Must-Haves for Bachelors' Homes
By Jerold Leslie
Attention, single guys: Don't expect to get many girls if your idea of "decorating" your bachelor pad involves highlighting your bong collection or displaying a beer-can pyramid sculpture.
"Ladies like guys that are a little cool and interesting," says California interior decorator Kari Whitman, whose clients have ranged from actors Don Johnson and Emilio Estevez to rocker Don Henley of the Eagles. "Empty pizza boxes aren't that interesting unless you're going to paint them and hang them on a wall."
Whitman says creating a well-designed bachelor pad doesn't require lots of money, just a little effort to make a place reflect your individual style.
"The reason so many men hire me is that I get to know their personality and create a space around that," she says. "The nightstands in your place don't have to match, but they do have to reflect your personality. That's what's interesting and sexy to women."
Of course, a well-designed bachelor place has to impress your buddies, too.
"A bachelor pad has to be a chick magnet, but it has to be a man cave too," says Stephen Fanuka, host of the DIY Network's upcoming reality TV show Million Dollar Contractor and a New York builder who's done work for Tony Bennett, Michael J. Fox and other celebrities.
Here's a look at five improvements single guys can make in different price brackets to make sure they have the coolest pads in town:
Price: $50 to $100
Fanuka recommends bachelors on a budget simply install dimmer switches on all lights, costing only about $10 per switch.
"This gives you a mood-lighting system for your whole apartment, so you can set the right mood whether it's your boys or your girlfriend who are coming over," he says.
Price: $400 to $1,000
This is a must-have these days for the stylish bachelor, whether your date is coming over to watch a chick flick or your homies are swinging by to catch the game.
Fanuka warns that bigger isn't always better when it comes to screen size.
"You don't want to cram an 8-foot projection TV into a small room," he says. "You've got to get the proportions right."
The contractor recommends a good-quality 50-inch Samsung TV, which should set you back less than $1,000.
Price: $1,000 to $3,000
Sure, you drink Sam Adams with your buddies, but you want to show a little class when a special friend drops by.
A quick way to do so: Put an upscale wine cooler in your kitchen, dining room or pantry closet.
"You can store red and white wines at different temperatures in a good-quality wine cooler and be ready to entertain from the moment a business associate or a date arrives," Fanuka says.
Wine coolers don't require any special plumbing or installation -- you just buy one, take it out of the box and plug it into any standard 110-volt electrical outlet.
Fanuka personally recommends the Marvel brand for wine coolers. He also likes shopping on WineEnthusiast.com, even though it doesn't carry Marvels. If you buy a wine cooler there, Fanuka suggests picking up a few barstools at the same time so your pals have somewhere to sit when they stop by for a drink.
Integrated audio/video/lighting/security system
Price: $5,000 to $15,000
A home-automation system can let you to control all of your bachelor pad's audio, video, lighting, thermostats and security cameras with a few taps on an Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) iPad.
"It's all about impressing people once you get to this price point," Fanuka says. "What could be more impressive than automating all of the cool gadgets in your home?"
The contractor recommends tying your home's hardware into a Savant Systems home-integration unit, which start at around $2,000 but typically cost about $10,000 for a decent-sized apartment or condo.
Fanuka also suggests a $600 to $1,000 Bose surround-sound system for your TV area, plus two Bose speakers (about $160-$1,400 each) in every other room.
Assuming you already have a flat-screen TV, the only other things you'll need are a $500 iPad, an iPad remote-control app (about $5) and a $100 Apple TV device to connect your TV to the Internet.
Put it all together with a professional's help and you'll turn your iPad into a one-stop, whole-house remote control.
Price: The sky's the limit
Contractors can outfit your bachelor pad with pretty much anything you want if you've got enough money to spend.
Fanuka's favorite project is a 15-foot-by-15-foot putting green he installed -- complete with eight inches of real turf -- on the terrace of a Wall Street financier's Central Park West penthouse. Cost: About $15,000.
"The client wanted it so that when he and his buddies were having beers on the terrace, they could grab golf clubs and do a little putting," the contractor says.
Alas, the putting green -- and the $1.5 million in other upgrades Fanuka added -- were a little too impressive.
Fanuka says the place looked so cool that the customer's lady friend "thought he'd have other girls up there, so she gave him an ultimatum: 'Propose to me or sell the apartment.'"
The man opted to keep the place and get married, so his million-dollar bachelor pad is a bachelor pad no more.