The mancave has been around as long as there have been men and caves. In recent years, however, this tendency for guys to take otherwise little used space and transform it into their own personal Fortress of Solitude has received a lot of press and spawned entire industries dedicated to the practice. Below we’re going to take a close look at the steps required to transform your garage into the kind of place where beards are grown, laundry is not a priority and there’s always a game on the big screen TV.
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Sociologists, philosophers and therapists all have their carefully worded explanations about the phenomenon of the mancave. If you’re a real man, however, you couldn’t care less. What you care about is cold beer, fat chairs and 24 hour sports. The following steps to creating the perfect mancave assume that you’ve already decided how you want the finished product to look.
- Step 1: Roughing it in - The first step in creating the ultimate mancave is roughing in the space. This means any unfinished walls need to be finished, the drop ceiling needs to be installed, the walls and ceiling need to be insulated and wiring has to be extended to the new outlets and the site of any new light fixtures. While most guys appreciate the awesome utility of the concrete slab in the garage, it’s probably not going to be good enough for your new mancave. Flooring solutions range from wall to wall carpeting to creating a new floor over the slab and installing radiant heat.
- Step 2: Lighting - Most garages fall pitifully short when it comes to lighting. They have one light on the garage door opener and that’s about it. So now’s the time to add the lights and switches you ran all of those wires for. This means your recessed lights, mood lights and pendants for over the poker table and the bar. And for the love of God man don’t forget the dimmer switches!
- Step 3: Painting - Once the walls, floor and ceiling are finished and the lights, outlets and switches are in place it’s time to paint. Whatever you do though don’t put too much stock in what professionals say about the right color. This is your mancave after all. The right color is the color you want to see. So if you want to paint your mancave Celtic green or the purple and gold of the Lakers go for it. Your buds will be awestruck and that’s all that matters.
- Step 4: The Bar - The bar is as important to the mancave as light and air. Ideally it should be long enough to seat at least 3 and be oriented so that when your buddies are seated at the bar they don’t have to swivel more than 90 degrees this way or that to see the big screen TV. You should have installed outlets in the wall behind the bar to accommodate the fridge and any other appliances and there should be shelving next to the fridge to house your selection of adult beverages. Glasses can be stored on the shelves under the bar.
- Step 5: TV and Music - The wide screen TV is the one non-negotiable item in a mancave and must be placed so that it can be viewed by anyone seated anywhere within the cave. There’s no excuse for missing a walk-off homer in the playoffs because you couldn’t see the TV from where you were. You’ll want a state of the art satellite or cable system jacked into that TV with as many sports channels as current technology will allow. A movie channel or two might be fun too. You’ll also want to install an ear-splitting surround sound audio system, though you may have to dial back on the ear-splitting part to mollify the neighbors.
- Step 6: Furnishings - Finally, you’ll need at least 1 fat recliner along with as many other ultra-comfortable chairs as space will allow. If there’s room you should seriously consider a pool table as well. All chairs in the mancave should face the TV so you can howl with delight or despair when your team makes or misses that field goal to win the Super Bowl or Grey Cup. The walls should also have plenty of art. And by that we mean things like a framed photo of Jordan’s winning shot over Utah in ‘98, The Great One hoisting the Cup, LeBron hoisting the O’Brien Trophy or an autographed picture of David Ortiz. Don’t forget the memorabilia either. And cars. Lots of posters of high performance autos.
Your mancave is your birthright. Even a stodgy old blue blood like Bruce Wayne understood that. Keep in mind that the only rule to follow when building out your mancave is that it should reflect your tastes, likes and ambitions. Good luck!