Man Cave Essentials: Does Your Man Cave Represent You?
Are you tired of all the sports mancaves diluting the integrity of design across the internet? Are you fresh out of cool man cave ideas to implement? Are you worried that the man cave of your dreams doesn’t represent who you are and your passions?
Just like a man cannot be described by what he does for work 8 hours a day, most men cannot be portrayed by a single sports team. While a room dedicated to your favorite sports team can be extremely awesome, not every guy wants to appear that one-dimensional. Tom Jelke is a man who cannot be represented by one single theme, so he decided to go against the grain and create the ultimate man cave that better describes the kind of guy he is.
It may be overwhelming at first with many different motifs, colors, and types of memorabilia, but if you check out our interview with Tom below, you will see there is a method to the madness. He gets very creative and is picky with the different pieces he juxtaposes together. We think it turned out AWESOME.
If you’re not purely a “sports guy”, hopefully you can score some design tips and cool man cave ideas from Tom and his man room that represents who he is.Part 1: Man Cave Essentials: Does Your Man Cave Represent You?
Part 2: The Build Process
Part 3: Interview with the Creator
Part 1: Man Cave Essentials: Does Your Man Cave Represent You?
Part 2: The Build Process
Since Tom’s man cave was built from scratch, there wasn’t any major infrastructure work that needed to be done. He was able to focus on the creative design and décor of his man cave, and the results really show. He owned most of the items in the beginning of the process; the real challenge was putting the all different pieces together and have it look both logical and artistic.
Part 3: Interview with the Creator
1) We love the overarching retro theme to your cave that contains subthemes around the room. Did this start because of a passion of yours and how did you decide where to put your myriad of decorations?
It is funny that you see the theme as “retro”. I never really envisioned a retro man cave. I really just wanted a man cave that reflected who I am through stages of my life, things I like, places I’ve been, and connections I’ve had. In a way, that does end up taking on a retro theme and that word ties up the place quite nicely. The inspiration for the look and feel of the man cave came from one of my favorite places to eat when I was in college: TGI Fridays. I always thought it was cool how they had so many different things hanging on the wall and I used to spend time checking out all the decorations. I wanted people to walk around my man cave and spend time looking at everything and wonder what everything meant or find some kind of connection to the items themselves. I even included some “easter eggs” on the walls: decorations that can be deciphered if the person looking at them is also a passionate fan. One example is a snapshot of the partygoers in that last scene of one of my favorite movies, The Shining. Another one is a King County, Georgia Sheriff’s badge which only real fans of The Walking Dead would recognize. My two favorites, though, are the Durham Bulls #37 jersey and the Tardis door that leads to the bathroom.
As for how I decided to place the myriad of items, I started by placing the larger items (pogo stick, unicycle, etc.) in prominent places on the walls. Then I just let it organically grow from there. I tried to keep some things that were similarly themed (sports, entertainment, alcohol) near each other, but didn’t feel like I had to always stick to that rule. I wanted a three-dimensional feel to the decor on the walls, so I made sure there weren’t too many flat items clumped together, and hung up some clear display shelves to add volume in certain places. I wasn’t too concerned with line precision since part of the charm of the place is “organized chaos”. Nothing is too orderly on the side and back walls. I did give some more structure to how I hung things on the front wall since that would be where most of the attention went during a ballgame or movie. I purposefully left some wall space open so that I could add things over time.
2) There is a little bit of everything in your man cave. Is this a reflection of who you are as a person?
I am a complicated and passionate person. I love many different things: sports, movies, TV shows, video games, travel, etc. The room is meant to be a reflection of my passion for all of those things. I love man caves that are focused on just one team or a single theme, but that just wasn’t me. So, I decided to not limit myself and let my personality be reflected on the walls. Even the main colors (purple and red) are my fraternity colors. The room is a representation of my stream of consciousness if you will.
3) Where did you find all of the signs, memorabilia, and sports gear? Are there boutique stores out there that specialize in these items or did you need to scour estate sales to find these gems?
The beauty of this man cave and its theme was that I had many of those items already. They were in my attic, or collecting dust on a shelf in the garage. The TRS-80 computer manual was something I kept for a long time because it was the first computer I had as a kid. The Marlins bobbleheads were ones I’ve collected over time as a season-ticket holder. Some of the other things, like the unicycle, I actually found online at discount stores like shopgoodwill.com and auction sites like eBay. I even found a few TGI Friday’s restaurant decor auctions online. About halfway through the project, I posted pictures of the man cave on Facebook and something cool happened: friends and family started sending me things to add to the man cave. Most of those fit the theme and made it to the wall.
4) In the midst of everything, you have re-created a home theater/sports bar look with seating for all your friends. Are you typically the host in the group, because of your awesome man cave?
We actually just built this home recently and moved in 2 weeks ago. That being said, my wife and I are typically the hosts for dinners, parties, and get-togethers for friends and family. For example, we host the annual Super Bowl party every year for my friends and family. Now, we have the perfect room in which to host it. We had a housewarming party a few days ago, and the man cave was the topic of discussion amongst the partygoers and the place where most of the men decided to hang out. I take pride in that and know it is going to be well utilized when we have people over. But it is also a great place when we are by ourselves. My boys and I have watched a few ballgames and cartoons in there. My wife and I watch movies when the kids go to bed. I also pop in there for some relaxation time and play Xbox after work. It really is a versatile room.
5) Every guy wishes he could have a man cave like yours, but you obviously put time & effort into it. What is one tip you would give aspiring man cavers looking to just get started on their projects?
I have two pieces of advice for anyone thinking of creating a man cave:
1. If you let the theme reflect who you are, it becomes a labor of love. It took me a while to put it all together, but it never became a chore because I loved everything that was going onto the walls.
2. If you are having trouble nailing down just one theme, think creatively about how to incorporate more than one. Once I made the jump from just a baseball theme to more of a hodge-podge theme, the concept took flight and the room practically made itself.