Since paleolithic men started painting pictures of hunting antelope on cave walls, men have sought a space of their own to call home. Enter: The Man Cave.
When we first toured our house with our realtor last April, we were impressed. However, when we walked into the four (yes, four!) car garage, Chris’ jaw dropped. The previous owners had been using one of the garage bays as what the real estate listing called a “giant hang-out space.”
It was as if a cartoon thought bubble appeared over his head: MAN CAVE!!
A frugal Dutchman, Chris has spent the last year collecting and organizing and building and arranging. He is typically pretty private, but he agreed to let me photograph his territory. Chris’ main advice for creating a Man Cave on a budget? “Be patient and creative.” You’ll see what he means when I take you on the tour.
Here is what the Man Cave looks like now:
Chris describes his design aesthetic (yes, those were his words) as “a tapestry of what I like and where I’ve been.” Also his words, hence the quotation marks.
Everything in the room has a story.
Childhood trophies and a wooden replica of a Washington State Ferry from his grandpa’s cabin take center stage on the media shelf.
Chris built the bar, which he identifies as his favorite item in the Man Cave, from a set of bunk beds the previous owner of our house left at the corner with a “FREE!” sign. Pretty clever! The Carlsberg glass (a thrift store find I take credit for!) is a nod to my family’s Danish heritage.
Whenever Chris tries a new type of beer, the cap gets nailed to the side of the bar. No repeats allowed! I found the On Tap sign at an antique shop and gave it to Chris for Valentine’s Day. Romantic. I know.
The artwork above the bar is a gift from Chris’ mom. We’re not sure of the origin of the second-hand soldiers. If anyone recognizes the uniform, we’d love to know the story behind them. We’ve never seen those types of hats on American soldiers, so perhaps they are European? The one on the right says 1822 on it. A year? A print number? The piece above the soldiers contains framed cigar labels.
Chris built this ping pong table as a labor of love before 6 of his college friends came out to visit us in Arizona one fall. Many, many, many games of ping pong have been played on this table. Fun fact: Chris is uncannily good at ping pong. As I was writing that sentence, he brought me a medal from The Cave to prove it.
Seahawks fans, don’t hate on us for the Cardinals bucket. The Cards are our #2 team, which gets a little awkward on Hawks vs. Cards day. Sometimes, I layer my team shirts. Not even kidding.
Chris built his brewing station from two pallets we found on the side of the road. Are you catching a theme here? If you abandon wood on the side of the road, Chris will probably pick it up and make something awesome. The Montana Grizzlies (Chris’s alma mater) blanket provides a large backdrop.
Throw pillows need not apply for a job in The Cave, unless, of course, you are an oversized 1980s-era Seahawks throw pillow in perfect condition at Goodwill for $4.99. In that case, Chris will snap you right up!
The couch was a garage sale find on a rare 90+ degree day. Desperate to get to the air conditioned indoors, the seller asked Chris what he’d be willing to pay. $15 ? Sold! Bizarrely, the seller insisted on throwing in a matching pair of black patent leather shoes. Whatever floats your boat, sir. The shoes have since been re-homed.
What would a man cave be without man’s best friend? This little lady loves The Cave because it contains her favorite piece of furniture: Chris’ lap (on the rare occasion that he actually sits down and relaxes!). Although I was the one who wanted her, Chris is our pup’s “person.” I am just the annoying interloper who feeds her and gives her water and takes her to the vet and takes her on walks.
Aside from the electronics, weightlifting equipment, and snowboard, Chris estimates that everything in here cost him less than $200. He salvages, buys used, and makes things. Occasionally, he’ll get a gift (or a cast-off) from a family member or friend. That’s creativity and patience.
Hope you enjoyed the tour!