Just exactly what is a Man Cave?
Most of you may have already read about one or heard about one, chances are good nowadays that you either own one yourself or know someone that has one but just exactly what is a Man Cave?
The earliest anyone can trace the term “Man Cave” was an article that appeared in The Toronto Star written by Joanne Lovering on March 21, 1992 called “Hers and hers closet is far more precise.”
Evidently, basements are equipped with various power tools and an assortment of sharp bits of hardware that take men hours to examine and the knowledge of which they feel women should not share in. This ensures that on those Saturday afternoons during which there is no televised football, he can slip the surly bonds of day-to-day chatter and chores and disappear into the basement with the simple statement “I have to do a few things around the house.”
He can stay submerged for hours, emerging with a satisfied look on his face (which now sports new growth), claiming success in that he “finally got the dang thing working,” when really, all he did was plug it in. But with his cave of solitude secured against wife intrusion by cold floors, musty smells and a few strategic cobwebs, he will stay down there for hours nestled in very manly magazines and open boxes of tools. Let’s call the basement, man cave. —-Joanne Lovering
I had to dig a little to find that little history lesson but for those of you that have asked, “Why does it have to be Man Cave, what about the women?” all I can say is I suggest you talk to Joanne, she started it; so it shall now be known that the term “Man Cave” was coined by a woman.
My Cave didn’t really start off as one, what I mean is mine just sort of happened. My wife and I had a space in the house that really we didn’t have a plan for. It was a catch all storage area for construction materials we bought as we remodeled the house room by room. I also had a growing collection of Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. memorabilia and she actually had the idea of turning it into a room so I could display my collection; to say that I am an Earnhardt fan is a huge understatement. I guess she thought it was better than my idea of using the entire house and believe me, that’s not a stretch form the truth, I not only have enough to fill a house but the thought did cross my mind. Now that I think about it, she out smarted me since I got so excited about remodeling that room it motivated me to finish the rest of the house so I could start on it. Women are devious little creatures sometimes.
The space is an addition to the main part of the house and constructed of brick, so that helped by being solid, sound deadening and a decent insulation factor. First thing was to rip out the Brady Bunch, 1970′s shag carpetand paneling. We also planned for removal of the sliding glass door, replacing it with new metal door, framed in the second exterior door and 4 windows so I would end up with more wall space inside.
Prior to installing the dry wall, I used ¾” Styrofoam in between the furring strips for additional sound deadening and what ever R-value, if any, I can get out of it. Once the dry wall went up, I taped and mudded the joints and shot the texture, I could see things really coming together. At this point I was thankful for having a construction background because money saved on the remodel in labor would go towards other cool stuff.
Things were moving along pretty fast so having an idea or vision of what I wanted way ahead of time really helped. I am an “Out of the box” type collector (I invented that phrase by the way) so I wanted all my stuff to be on display as my collection is private and will never be for sale so I could care less how much the value of this or that went down when I tossed the boxes. I knew the when I “engineered” the Cave (because guys don’t decorate) I wanted to make sure to pay attention to all 6 sides of a room, ceiling and floors a like. The look I was going after had a Hard Rock Cafe, T.G.I. Friday’s, Smithsonian Institute, NASCAR Hall of Fame kinda feel to it. I wanted a room that would bitch slap all 5 senses and maybe even expose the 6th. Items like the Dale Jr. cardboard cut out made much better sense to put on the ceiling to draw your eyes up instead of left standing in the corner and the diamond plate flooring from Race Deck garage flooring to draw your eyes down.
I chose mirrored gel case to display the 1/24 scale diecast cars, the mirrored back not only reflect light but also make the room feel bigger by creating the illusion of being more open than what it is. Then I ran across a guy in Slinger, Wisconsin that hand makes bookshelf displays to look like sections of a racetrack. He sold them in 18”, 24” and 4 ft. sections….. So naturally I bought 16 feet worth to cover the one wall with plans to fill it with a full field of NASCAR Cup cars featuring legendary drivers and paint schemes from days gone by creating a pretty cool Diorama .
It wasn’t long and I figured out that I didn’t have as much as I thought I did, cool….. BUY MORE STUFF. My wife has been bitten by the Man Cave bug too, she has purchased several items for the Earnhardt Room; she even sewed the curtains for me. The level of detail I built into the room is what people notice the most when they see it in person and I’m glad that gets noticed, I took pipe insulation and wrapped it around the exposed shelf struts that are holding up the 16 foot race track, I used two box end wrenches as door pulls on the French doors (by the way, kudos to Husky tools found at Home Depot, it took 4 carbide bits to drill 4 holes through those things) I used a Craftsman Workbench as a bar to stay consistent with the racing theme. I didn’t like the idea of everything being symmetrical and flat on the walls or ceiling and I wanted stuff to stick out in 3D fashion to grab your attention even if it meant mounting a 1/6 scale #8 Dale Jr. Budweiser Chevy and the Dale Earnhardt Monopoly game glue together so it looks like it’s being played mounted on the ceiling. And last but not least, believe it or not…. Dale Earnhardt Sr’s baby pictures…. Rabid fan or addicted to detail, you be the judge.
The great thing about the Earnhardt Room is it’s ever changing, as every time Dale Earnhardt Jr. changes a paint scheme Action diecast makes a “raced version” replica car. For a while it seems like anytime Junior sneezes in the racecar they come out with a raced version. But I buy them all and I’m not complaining one bit, it’s been a lot of fun collecting and I learned things about the Earnhardt family along the way.
At “The Winston” in 1995 Dale Earnhardt Sr. and car owner Richard Childress are credited with starting the special paint schemes in what was then Winston Cup as he revealed the now famous Silver #3 Goodwrench Chevy commemorating the 25th year Winston sponsored the premier NASCAR series and subsequently blew the doors open for marketing NASCAR collectibles. Most of my diecast were purchased through White’s Pit Stop and they are an awesome bunch of guys with fair prices and no hassles but I also have many that were hand painted by Todd Card at Tec3 Customs. Todd recreates NASCAR Cup cars and they truly are works of art. Dale Sr. drove many cars and paint schemes throughout his career that you simply won’t find from the big diecast companies. Todd Card’s customers will send him pics of cars Dale may have only drove one time, sounds silly but it means a lot to a private collector like myself. He uses the correct paint codes and decals used are not only era correct but also correct for that car, a lot of times mass production diecast don’t capture things correctly, the level of detail is incredible. There is one car in particular that Dale drove back in the 70’s and Action Diecast really screwed up the paint scheme and it’s not correct at all. Todd knows it means a lot to a true blue Earnhardt fan so I had him redo the car and make it correct.
My Cave has taken a life of it’s own over the past couple years, especially since I first put it on the internet when I joined Tim Repass’s www.mancavegroup.com and www.mancavesite.org where web site owner Mike Yost created the site so guys could showcase their creations, sharing ideas and concepts, battle plans and homemade kegerator designs. He has amassed one heck of a collection of man caves where he’ll post your images for nothing and membership is only $15. (See the website for more details if you’re interested) Since then my Man Cave has gotten some pretty neat attention, a production company from California used pics of my Man Cave as part of a presentation they made for a software company, recently I was interviewed by a publisher out of New York doing a book about Man Caves and I still chuckle with pride when I find The Earnhardt Room on websites like these below that pay special attention to a Caves that are around…..
Many “How To” articles written on them in magazines and the internet, there are a couple cable TV shows dedicated to Man Cave designs and the men who own them such as Man Caves hosted by Jason Cameron and Tony Siragusa as well as The Man Cave Television Show. Guys all over the place are turning their basements, garages, converting storage sheds, attics and spare rooms into Man Caves. You are only limited to their imagination and budget but I have seen some great creations out there that cost very little as there are some pretty good deals to be had if you look hard enough. It’s really all about you and your passions and favorite things; it could be a collection of sports memorabilia, movies, guns, antique commercial advertisements what ever you want. The freedom of design engineering is encased around what you want to create, a nice place for your friends and family to watch movies, watch your favorite sport or play a game of billiards or that antique pinball game you bought at a great price from eBay.
As I round out this post, I wanted to share a few details or stats about my Man Cave.
Robert Butterfield - Butterfield Photography - Sierra Vista, Arizona