By Keysha Drexel
When Nancy Gowens was charged with creating an in-home getaway for the man of the house in this year’s Inspiration Home, the operations manager at the Pelham Issis & Sons Furniture Gallery said she was faced with a “good” problem.
Gowens said the most challenging part of putting together the “man cave” for the Birmingham Home & Garden magazine showhouse was choosing from Issis & Sons’ extensive inventory of home furnishings and accessories.
“We can do everything from bedding and rugs to mattresses and chandeliers and everything in between,” she said. “When you have so many wonderful pieces to choose from, it can be difficult to decide between them.”
Last year, Issis & Sons opened its newest store in Vestavia Hills. The company, founded by Steve Issis and his father, Odeh, in 1983, now has four locations, with shops on Pelham Parkway, Greystone Boulevard, Cahaba Valley Road and U.S. 31 in Vestavia Hills.
“We’ve gone from that first 1,000-square-foot space to four stores equal to about 200,000 square feet, and we offer everything from carpet and flooring to furniture and accessories,” Steve Issis said.
Gowens has been with the company since 1999. She lives outside of Alabaster.
“We’ve been very blessed because Steve is an innovative thinker, and through his guidance and expertise and his vision, the business is what it is today,” Gowens said.
The room Issis & Sons outfitted is on the second level of the 2014 Inspiration Home, which is in The Preserve community in the heart of Hoover, minutes from churches, schools and shopping venues.
Gowens said her aim was to create a retreat from the hustle and bustle of suburbia for the gentleman of the house.
“We’re calling it a man cave, but really, the idea was to create a space just for dad, just for the man of the house–a place where he can go to be alone for some quiet time or a place he can hang out with his friends,” Gowens said.
The gentleman’s retreat upstairs is actually two different spaces.
The first is a study-like area with a plush, charcoal gray microfiber couch flanked by marble-topped accent tables and a trio of hexagon-shaped marble-topped tables that take the place of a traditional coffee table.
The room is carpeted in a low-pile gray carpeting with a subtle pattern of squares, offering a plush landing for work-weary feet.
Floor-to-ceiling gray draperies block out light and offer privacy or can be easily pulled back to flood the room with natural sunlight.
Two small white desks with bright orangey-red metal chairs offer places to do paperwork and keep reading materials.
“The idea was to give a guy a place for quiet time, like reading, and also a place to play, so to speak,” Gowens said.
To that end, the study area is outfitted with a gaming table that would function equally as well for a game of Texas Hold ‘em with the guys or a place to quietly work on a puzzle in solitude, Gowens said.
“It’s a great space where the possibilities for relaxing and having fun are endless,” she said.
The color scheme of the study room mostly reflects the neutral tones found throughout the 5,400-square foot Inspiration Home, designed by architect David Smelcer. Smelcer is a longtime collaborator with Marty and Colt Byrom of Byrom Building Corp., the home’s builders.
The study area of the gentleman’s retreat has gray walls and floors accented with vibrant colors found in a Tibetan rug in front of the sofa.
“It’s a wonderful rug with a graphic design that works well with the neutral colors of the room and pulls together the accent colors used in the accessories,” Gowens said.
When choosing decorative items and accessories for the study area, Gowens said she took a “less is more” approach.
“Guys don’t like of lot of junk, a lot of things cluttering up a room, but we added masculine touches here and there with items that were interesting,” she said.
The wall behind the sofa in the study area is accented with white-framed geometric prints in vibrant blues, oranges and reds that match the bold colors in the Tibetan rug.
Moving deeper into the “man cave,” visitors to the 2014 Inspiration Home will find a room that dad might not be able to keep to himself for very long.
The second area in the gentleman’s retreat features a deluxe home theater area, complete with top-grain leather reclining seats with handy built-in cup holders for movie-time beverages.
The walls in the home theater area are painted a dark, almost black, color, which Gowens said makes it perfect for home movie screenings. Wall sconces with metal accents provide accent lighting.
A framed oversized “Admit One” movie ticket adds a touch of whimsy to the room, Gowens said, which also features a vintage-style rolling popcorn machine.
“This has all the perks of a movie theater, but you never even have to leave your home,” she said.
The home theater will comfortably seat 10, Gowens said.
“There’s enough space for dad to invite all of his friends over to watch the game on the huge projection-screen television,” Gowens said.
And guests won’t have to go very far to find their very own cinema-style concessions.
The home theater area boasts a kitchenette with a small refrigerator and microwave. In keeping with the styles found throughout the house, the home theater’s kitchenette has high-end stone countertops and highly-polished plumbing fixtures.
“It’s possible that dad could come up here to his man cave and not be seen or heard from for hours, because he won’t even have to come downstairs to the kitchen to get a snack,” Gowens said.
And that’s the whole point behind the room Issis & Sons created at the 2014 Inspiration Home, Gowens said.
“In our busy world where we are all rushing around, it is more important than ever that we have personal spaces that invite us to just kick back and relax,” she said.
For more information on Issis & Sons, visit issisandsons.com.