The Ultimate Man Cave

Where: Lake of the Isles — Designer: Gary Aulik

  • Photo by Karen Melvin
    Raise the Roof — A tray ceiling enhances the sound from the room’s 18 speakers.
  • Photo by Karen Melvin
    Wallflowers — The perimeter is lined in metallic Stardust sparkling wallpaper, made by Innovations.
  • Photo by Karen Melvin
    Memorabilia — Photos of musicians (including Flo Rida backstage with Higgins), concert tickets, and receipts line the walls.
  • Photo by Karen Melvin
    Go-Go Table — Higgins designed the coffee table, which splits in half to become dance platforms under the windows.
  • Photo by Karen Melvin
    Disco Fever — Get the look with a leather dance floor, laser lights, a fog machine, and a rotating disco ball.
  • Photo by Karen Melvin
    Multi-Task — The office desk tucked away in the back doubles as a makeshift DJ stand.

Great party music is full of rich, deep sound,” shouts John Higgins over Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling in Love,” which is thumping through 18 speakers in the upper-level man cave of his classic Minneapolis home. Higgins, who commutes to California as the CEO of Ligand Pharmaceuticals, knew he needed a home office, but he didn’t want the traditional library look. “This is an office by day, Monday night football with the guys, movies with the kids, and a lounge at night, whether it’s after a dinner party or a 40th birthday extravaganza.”

Channeling a Las Vegas club aesthetic, Gary Aulik, owner of Aulik Design Build, created one room to function as a home theater, bar, and dance floor. Together he and Higgins transformed the former two-bedroom space, maintaining the bathroom and walkout porch—which cigar smokers love. They literally raised the roof to put in an acoustic, indented tray ceiling and soundproofed all the other doors and walls.

“John had a definite vision,” says Aulik. “This kind of project doesn’t get done without a client who is fully engaged—he really had it dialed in.”

With 7,000 watts of power, amps, subs, and a 16-channel mixing board, DJs and live bands can plug right into Higgins’s home equipment. So whether it’s a few couples listening to opera or 100 people on the floor, this is where the party’s at.

—Jennifer Blaise Kramer