The Ultimate Man Cave
Written by Erica Holthausen
Photographed by Joseph St.Pierre
The next time you want to start a spirited discussion, bring up the subject of man caves. Women’s reactions to these male-dominated spaces are varied. But for many men, a man cave is the “holy grail” of home improvement projects. So, what is a man cave? And why is the status of those who have such a place instantly elevated in the eyes of his peers?
After speaking with several self-described experts, a common definition started to emerge. A man cave is an exclusive space reserved for men and their invited guests. It is a refuge where a man can enjoy whatever it is that he loves without unsolicited advice or interference.
Douglas Cosworth has the ultimate man cave. Designed and built by Bob Reed of Robert Reed Associates, the two-story shingle style carriage house features a three-bay garage with a professional car lift and space for entertaining guests. The second of three generations of amateur racecar drivers, Doug’s passion for classic cars is immediately apparent—and very contagious.
In the hallway leading to the garage, the walls are lined with photographs of Doug and his son Geoff at various racetracks. In several of the photographs, they are arm-in-arm with some of the greatest racecar drivers of our time, including Buck Baker, John Fitch and Richard Petty. But one photograph stands apart: a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette signed by Zora Arkus-Duntov, the man credited for transforming the Corvette into an American legend.
“When we were first married, Evelyn had a 1969 Corvette that her dad gave her for graduation from college,” Doug said. “We had to sell the car, but I promised her that someday, I’d replace it.” The fully restored 1961 Corvette convertible belongs to Evelyn. Would this jeopardize Doug’s status as a cave dweller?
Once inside the three-bay garage, however, it was clear that Doug had no reason to fear. The garage is a classic car enthusiast’s paradise. “This is the heart of the man cave,” said Doug.
Toolboxes, work benches, racing trophies and classic car memorabilia are neatly organized. But the cars really capture your attention. A 1967 Camaro RS sits next to a 1932 Ford Tudor, which was restored by three generations of Cosworth men. In the first bay is a 1967 Lotus Super Seven in traditional British racing green. “I built that a couple of years ago,” Doug smiled. “It’s only 1500 pounds and it’s as fast as a Ferrari or a Porsche. It goes from zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds.”
The third bay of the garage is where all the heavy lifting takes place. Cathedral ceilings, a professional car lift and natural light from a large bay of windows provide everything needed to repair and restore classic cars. But this serviceable space also has a very aesthetic function. “I knew the lift would be on this side, and that it would be oriented to the street,” Bob Reed explained. “I wanted them to be able to lift the car up so it could be displayed in this bank of windows.”
“This garage is my favorite place anywhere,” Doug said. “I need to use my hands. It’s therapeutic for me to come out here and tinker around.” Pointing to a 1970 Honda Mini Trail, he elaborated, “I needed something to do a few winters ago—something to keep my hands busy. That bike had been dismantled and was in a box of parts for more than 20 years. Putting it together was like working on a crossword puzzle, trying to make the pieces fit.”
Upstairs, the classic car theme continues with bold paint colors: a bright aqua blue paired with a deep red. “The colors of the room might be—well, probably are—pretty hideous,” Doug chuckled. “But to me they are symbolic. These are the colors of my first two cars."
“Evelyn and I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s,” Doug explained. “We wanted a space that represented what was going on in the world when we were growing up. We wanted guest quarters and entertaining space that was funky, fun and different. We wanted to capture the feeling of a 1950s soda shoppe.”
The space is decorated with framed vinyl albums and a guitar signed by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. A chrome table with soda fountain stools sits next to a vintage 1955 Seeburg 100 Jukebox, adding an authentic flair to the soda shoppe theme. Even the furniture—a black leather couch and iconic Ball Chair—is reminiscent of the time period.
Incorporated into the room are gifts from fellow racecar drivers, including a pair of racing gloves signed by Buck Baker and a glass-topped side table, fashioned from two racing tires signed by NASCAR legend Richard Petty.
Doug credits Evelyn for bringing the vision of a 1950s soda shoppe to life. “She figured out whether each piece would work in the space—I’m just helpless with that stuff,” he said. “But, you know, as far as having fun and enjoying it, I’m pretty good at that!”
“I didn’t really know what I was doing here,” Doug said. “It was really Evelyn and Bob who put this together. I described what I wanted, and these two artists made it happen.”
A stickler for rules might say that this space is not exclusively the domain of the man of the house. But Doug clearly views the space as a refuge, where he can enjoy the company of his friends and family. And isn’t that what a man cave is all about?