Make It Masculine: Bathroom Design Ideas for Bachelors (and Marrieds!)

ID-10069973 Couple in bathtub
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whether you are designing a bathroom for a male client or you are a man overseeing your own bathroom décor, rest assured you have many more design options today than the traditional “stark minimalist masculine” bathroom of years past. The truth is some of the world’s most innovative, creative and popular interior designers are men. It’s possible that you can have very masculine bathroom décor while enjoying luxury and style in your personal bathroom space. You may enjoy one or more of these popular styles for masculine bathrooms — or you may choose to incorporate ideas from each style to create a hybrid décor distinctly yours.

Theme Color

Often the best place to start — before even selecting your overall décor concept — is with simple elements such as color. For instance, if you favor a traditionally masculine dark or earth-toned color palette, add in a splash of a “theme color” such as red, forest green, bright blue or yellow. You may want to use this theme color just once — such as with a piece of wall art — or several times, such as with accent towels and area rugs.

Innovation Meets Function

One way designers are currently approaching bathroom décor for men is to incorporate innovation with functionality. For instance, if you love having the latest gadgets, why not create the most modern bathroom imaginable — complete with flat-screen television embedded into the wall space, a European sauna that includes a shower and seating area, a surround sound stereo speaker system that connects to your iPod and similar elements? For best results, choose a black-and-white or neutral-tone theme that is easy to maintain so you can spend maximum time enjoying all your gadgets in your ultra-modern bathroom.

Earthy and Sustainable

One new bathroom trend that is gender-neutral is the sustainable bathroom. You can install eco-friendly options for the bathroom vanity, the fixtures and furnishings and the lighting. If you have kids, this is a great way to teach them about what the planet needs and how each person can help. If you are single, it just feels great — and makes for interesting conversation with guests. You can select certain sustainable pieces (such as a low-flow toilet or “green” light bulbs) or go all out and completely “green up” your bathroom space with recycled materials and bamboo storage cabinets. Either way, the result will be a bathroom space that you can feel great about.

Classic Rustic

With the classic rustic bathroom style, you can incorporate elements like reclaimed wood, an original iron stove (for heating the bathroom in winter), natural stone instead of a traditional counter and floor tiles and lanterns rather than modern light fixtures. This gives your bathroom an early American log cabin look and feel that combines well with the more masculine décor overall.

Combination Styles

There are several popular combination styles that maintain a masculine atmosphere while incorporating elements of decadent luxury.

Art deco with minimalist modern. Incorporate the traditionally masculine minimalist (or functional) bathroom space with a few art deco touches — a cubist painting, a stained glass window (also helpful if you want more privacy), bolder tile or wallpaper designs, or an innovative light source.

Renaissance with Early American. If you love early American and European clawfoot tubs, Renaissance torches and period oil lamps yet also enjoy the simple living of early American settlers, try adding a signature piece from each period — such as lighting your bathroom with a series of electric wall-sconce torches and putting a clawfoot tub in the room’s center as the design focal point.

Zen with sustainable. With this décor theme, combine open shelving made of sustainable bamboo materials with the elements of a traditional Zen space — running water, natural stones, clear glass paneling in the shower. Use black with neutral tones for the color palette.

These five bathroom décor concepts easily reflect masculinity while still adding in all the luxury, creativity, innovation, beauty and enjoyment a well-designed bathroom space has to offer.

About the Author: Matthew Long lives in a penthouse with two full baths. During a renovation last year, he decided to go with a luxury-meets-minimalist approach that earns him rave reviews from house guests.

  

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Ford continues to push further

Alan Mulally and Steve Wozniak

We’ve seen many large companies, particularly automakers, rest on their laurels and become insular organizations. It’s easy to get into this rut when you measure profits in the billions and you have a huge bureaucracy.

But we’ve also seen how this attitude can lead to disaster, with the auto industry being just one example. Remember Atari? The flip side to measuring profits in the billions is measuring losses in the billions as well when things go wrong.

The culture at Ford seems very different today as the company tries to demonstrate each year in its Further with Ford conferences, where media members, bloggers and social media influencers from a wide variety of backgrounds are invited to hear from company officials, attend panel discussions from thought leaders, and of course get introduced to new Ford products and initiatives.

We were happy to attend the Further with Ford conference again this year, and CEO Alan Mulally kicked things off with an address on Monday night and was joined on stage by tech icon Steve Wozniak who would join the technology panel the next day.

Along with Chairman Bill Ford who spoke to us the next morning, Mulally has set the tone for the new Ford. The company is fiercely competing in the marketplace, while also trying to identify and adopt to trends in our fast-changing world that can impact their products on how consumers use them. Bill Ford repeated the example of car-sharing service ZipCar and how companies like that are challenging past assumptions about the auto market. Rather than ignore this development, Ford persuaded his skeptical executive team and decided to partner with ZipCar, which then ended up being an effective platform to promote Ford vehicles.

What’s most impressive about these conferences is Ford’s willingness to have real discussions with independent thought leaders who will speak their mind about the topics at hand. In one panel called “Returning to Your Senses,” the panel addressed how gadgets are infiltrating every waking moment of our lives. While Ford executive Gary Strumolo was touting new ways to interact with Ford vehicles to monitor health, MIT professor Sherry Turkle was explaining how our addition to devices was potentially harming our children, our relationships and our ability to have much needed moments of solitude. The resulting discussion was a very good one, but it showed that Ford was less interested in a scrubbed-over PR message as opposed to generating a real conversation. This willingness to address the ideas that challenge company priorities is critical to having a dynamic culture that will make a company thrive, as opposed to an insular culture where the executive team’s decisions are treated like dogma. By listening to concerns of thought leaders like Ms. Turkle, hopefully Ford can make better and informed decisions as they add more technology and interactivity to our vehicles.

The same dynamic was present in the technology panel. Ford unveiled a series of videos showing the Ford Evos concept car and how it might interact with a driver in the future. Some of the ideas were interesting, while others seemed to be trying to find a driver need or desire to fit a technology. The personalization features prompted a series of privacy questions and concerns from the media, and Steve Wozniak didn’t hesitate to emphasize that concern, pointing out that Ford and other large companies couldn’t just rely on acceptance of terms and conditions when someone starts using new features, because we always say yes in order to proceed. Instead, a real system that lets users know how their information is used with easy opt-out options for each feature is critical. That discussion probably wasn’t at the top of the Ford representative’s list as he wanted to focus on the cool new features, but again the panel was able to have a real discussion about privacy along with the technology.

The best panel by far covered design and included author Seth Godin, Jay Ward from Pixar, retailing entrepreneur Rachel Shechtman and Ford design chief J Mays. Godin touched on one of his favorite topics, as the concept of “normal” is fading away as society becomes more interconnected, making it easier for like-minded people to interact. With that in mind, companies who try to please everyone by aiming at the middle are having less success, while targeting groups who were once considered weird, or outside the mainstream, with excellent products can now lead to greater success. We’re seeing that thankfully in the auto industry as we’re seeing far fewer vehicles that seem to have been designed by committee. In trying to please everyone, you please no one.

Seth Godin

Another interesting story came from Jay Ward, who explained how Pixar approached one unnamed Detroit automaker about collaborating when Pixar was making “Cars” but was turned down. But J Mays and Ford gladly accepted the invitation. It may seem like an obvious decision now, but in old Detroit it’s not surprising that wouldn’t consider such a partnership.

Lastly, I got to drive some great cars as well and I’ll be following up with reports on each of them. The one that stands out was the Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid, which is just one example of Ford’s push into electric vehicles. In this hybrid Fusion, the braking system helps to recharge the battery, and each time you brake the dashboard will let you know how efficient you were in terms of transferring energy to the battery as a percentage all the way up to 100%.

Innovation requires a culture that is willing to challenge established beliefs. It can be difficult for large companies to develop and then maintain such a culture, but it appears Ford has found a formula that works.

Ford Fusion plug in hybrid

  

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