‘Man caves’ get popular as oases of guy stuff
Suzanne Overholt has a dream in which all her husband’s Denver Broncos paraphernalia goes in a room that has nothing to do with her home.
To turn the dream into reality, Suzanne designed the family’s new garage with an upstairs floor dedicated entirely to the Broncos. When the garage is done, her husband, Dennis Overholt, will have an orange and blue Man Cave.
“It is the best gift I could give him,” Suzanne said.
According to the self-proclaimed official Man Cave Web site, http://www.mancavesite.org, a Man Cave is “a dedicated area of a house, such as a basement, workshop or garage, where a man can be alone or socialize with his friends.”
The way Suzanne sees it, the opportunity to give her husband a Man Cave is a win-win situation for the Mesa couple.
“I’d love to have a three-bedroom house and have it be a three-bedroom house, and not have it be two bedrooms and one room full of his stuff,” she said.
The Overholts aren’t the only area residents clued into the Man Cave concept. In fact, two other Mesa County men — Bud Preuss and Ben Miller — have Man Caves that look nothing like the room the Overholts designed.
Preuss of Grand Junction built his Man Cave in the mid-1990s out of necessity as much as anything else. An avid hunter, the father of an avid hunter and a friend of other avid hunters, Preuss needed a space to display some 40 animal mounts, including a full-size bobcat, two trophy elk and a 475-pound male black bear shot on Glade Park.
“You feel like you’re being watched?” Preuss asked after leading a guest into his Man Cave.
Although the constant stare of a dead bobcat may seem unnerving to some, it isn’t to Preuss. The Man Cave above his garage is exactly what he wanted. The only semblance of a feminine touch are the window valences his mother-in-law made him years ago. But she made them from camouflage material.
The room doesn’t end with the animal mounts. Preuss added a poker table, a wooden bar and bunk beds in case visitors can’t make it home after a night of poker. An old surfboard and several of his grandfather’s belongings round out the room.
“It’s probably my favorite place in the world,” Preuss admitted. “You can come and sit and go back in time. Everything in here is a good moment.”
A Man Cave is typically designed with good moments in mind because a Man Cave is “anything your wife wouldn’t let you put in a room in the house,” said Jared Cooper.
Cooper is a sales associate at US Tech and has helped local men select audio and video components to put in Man Caves.
Cooper had a lengthy list of items he thought should go in every Man Cave. First, he and fellow sales associate Forrest Smith agreed that a Man Cave should have a flat-screen TV with surround sound. But make sure to get a subwoofer for the audio system “that lets you feel the noise,” Smith said.
From there, Cooper thought men could build their man caves around a recliner, a microwave to make those unhealthy frozen burritos, neon lights and a collection of 1970s rock albums by Black Sabbath.
“You want to impress your friends,” Cooper said.
At least one Fruita man isn’t using his Man Cave to impress friends as much as he is using it to live his life.
Miller, who grew up in the county, loves to road bike and mountain bike, so his Man Cave is entirely dedicated to building, repairing and tuning bicycles. He has seven bikes hanging in his garage and four “kinda bikes” under construction. Miller keeps everything in one corner of the garage next to a wall of broken bicycle parts he collects that cannot be hung in his home.
Miller admits his need to hang out in a Man Cave may be genetic.
“My grandpa in Michigan had the world’s greatest Man Cave,” he said. “You had to duck to walk in because everything hung from the ceiling. You could make anything in my grandpa’s Man Cave. When you visited, we always made something or took something apart.”
So, maybe what’s in a Man Cave isn’t as important as how it makes a man feel.
Then again, when asked if he would put a TV in his Man Cave, Miller said, “Oh totally. If I had an extra one, this is where it would be.”