Man caves come in all shapes and sizes

Darts are one more addition to the man cave Nikole Evon helped put together with her fiance, Jeremy.

At the end of a long, hard day’s work, every man needs that someplace special to unwind; a place set aside just for him, a place where all the things a man loves are within easy reach — a man cave.

You can call it “manland,” the “mantuay,” or “manspace.” It all adds up to the same thing — a sanctuary, a sanctus sanctorum, an inviolable space in which a man can relax and enjoy the fruits of his labors.

The ingredients for building the perfect man cave vary from person to person. One man’s idea of relaxation differs from another’s, naturally. The key thing is to fill the space with things you love and enjoy. If that includes a significant other, there’s no shame in that.

Jeremy’s (last name withheld by request) man cave in Vestaburg, for instance, was a joint effort between himself and his fiancee, Nikole Evon. She was instrumental in both the basic design and decorating of the room.

“It is the first thing you see as you’re walking into our home,” Nikole said. “We have a full-size American Heritage pool table that we purchased from Watson’s in Grand

Rapids about six years ago, a poker table, foosball table, flat screen TV, and an enclosed dart board. My fiancé, Jeremy, is an avid sports fan, so of course we have the expected decor on the walls.”

That decor includes an autographed photo of Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, a birthday present to Jeremy from Nikole. The rest of the art in the room also focuses on sports; basketball, football, even poker (one of C. M. Coolidge’s ubiquitous “Poker Playing Dogs” prints).

The man cave was part of a house-wide remodeling project the couple undertook about eight years ago. The lakeside house is a 1950s era ranch, and according to Nikole, was in desperate need of upgrading.

“We did all the work ourselves,” Nikole said. “Jeremy even built the poker table himself. He had the design in his head and we just went to Joanne’s Fabrics in Mount Pleasant to buy the materials.”

Mike Ulman’s “2-Cent Saloon” is a man cave big enough to share with friends and family on a regular basis.

Despite all the tempting activities offered by Jeremy’s man cave, Nikole admits they don’t use the room much unless company’s over.

Mike Ulman’s man cave, set up in the family’s barn, is extensive, to say the least, and seats up to 25 “customers.”

“It’s a nice little bar room set up in the barn,” Mike explains. “It will comfortably fit 20 to 25 people and we regularly have large gatherings there. It is equipped with a 16-foot bar made from two entertainment centers with two hollow core doors as a top. We encourage our guests to carve into the top of the bar with supplied nails and leave their 2 cents. Hence the name of the bar, The 2 Cent Saloon.”

Adding to the ambience, Mike has repurposed an old waterbed headboard and mounted it behind the bar to give the place the feel of an old-fashioned saloon.

He keeps an extensive collection of Michigan craft beer on hand and has craft beer bottle lining the walls for visitors to admire.

Mike has kept costs down by outfitting his man cave with materials and furnishings gathered at auctions, garage sales and elsewhere. With TV, stereo, refrigerator and wood stove and wifi, however, the surroundings are anything but rustic.

That’s if you don’t take the next door neighbors into account.

“(The barn) makes quite the cozy man cave,” Mike noted. “You wouldn’t even know there are two 1000-pound pigs on the other side of the wall.”

Whether your man cave is elegant, rustic or just a small, converted space in the attic, the options for building that perfect “home within a home” are limitless. With a little imagination and effort, almost any place can serve.

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