The owner of this amazing mancave holds a passion for railroad with his favorite being the Great Northern Railroad (GNRR) that ran just south of the Glacier National Park. The GNRR serviced the tourism trade from the inception of the park in 1910. Rocky the Goat, the mascot of the GNRR, became an icon among railfans receiving fan letters in his heyday.
The garage is one of a just a handful in this small development, with all of the neighboring space occupied by exotic sportscars. And when we say “sports, ” we really mean it. Revology, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes and an F-1 car (trust us, this is a sport that requires phenomenal physical and mental endurance). There’s even a set of Ducati bikes showing the evolution of the brand from the 80s to the 90’s, 2000’s and 2010’s.
The space we had the privilege to work in was originally conceived as a museum for the wildlife sculptures the owner collects. A huge fan of T.D. Kelsey - famous for his western-themed bronze sculptures, those works will dot the various tables and shelves developed for the space. Rams, bison, elk and cattle skulls make up just a small portion of the wildlife that punctuate the sculptor’s works will grace the tabletops crafted from reclaimed wood boxcar floors and steel coil car decking.
This project began with a 22-foot shuffleboard, a desk, a dining table and a handful of other furniture for the space. We pointed the owner to Buffalo Collection to add some softer surfaces in the form of a massive L-shaped sofa and recliner along with some bison hide rug and other southwestern style rugs. To marry the railroad and western them, they offered the only truly authentic option.
The project grew.
The list of furniture expanded to include coffee tables, benches, ping pong tables and a bar.
A God Steps In
With two massive walls on either side of the space, the owner entertained different thoughts on what to do with the 100-foot-long and 24-foot-high canvases. Original thoughts of photo realistic images of Glacier National Park gave way to a more exotic connection to the railroad when the owner became enamored with the work of Rail Yard Studios friend and famed YME Crew co-founder ICHABOD.
Ultimately, the owner wanted to commission ICHABOD to do the two walls. Secretive and elusive as the legendary writer is, it would be no small feat to develop a relationship where he gained a level of trust and willingness to undertake such a commission.
The owner dove into researching and understanding more about freight graffiti, and came to realize the stature of the rail god among the graff community. He watched documentaries on the YME crew, and soaked in all of the information he could about freight graff.
We even managed to sneak in a panel with a #jeatmix on it after we requested permission from the artist to feature their work on the panel in the bar. The prolific moniker writer seems to find a spot alongside many pieces from ICHABOD.
But the space needed its deity, and the Rail God was the only one that would satisfy the owner.
It took months of positioning and assurances. Certain requests had to be honored. Boundaries had to be established. Bear in mind, ICHABOD will walk away from a spot if someone he is with so much as opens a cell phone or flicks a lighter along a darkened railway. ICH warmed to the idea slowly, but had reservations. He worried that the exposure was too much.
He backed away.
We talked him back.
He hesitated, and reasserted his boundaries.
We were ready to give up, when he got back in touch.
The rail god was in.
But a more powerful God was about to enter the scene.
Ian ravaged the southwestern coast of Florida and delayed the project by several months. While the garage weathered the storm unscathed, the strain on the infrastructure rebuild for the rest of the area led to a more prudent approach from all of us involved, and we erred on the side of caution to be sure things could be completed and lined up logistically.
Finally the project was coming to fruition.
Stage 1 after construction was complete was the murals.
The rail god landed on the job site.
“There are no trains here,” he said. The absence of the iron beasts made the rail god uncomfortable. The need for that constant fix of autoracks, hoppers, boxcar and the sound of squealing steel on steel became all too apparent.
ICH had planned on being on site for a certain amount of time, but wound up there nearly twice as long. He got stalled at one point. With no fire at his back as there is in a train yard, motivation waned.
He traveled a short distance and found a rail yard. He needed the fix to recharge his batteries.
The second mural was to be far more involved, but a true landmark of his work.
With the walls covered in the bright colors of the legendary freight writer, it was time for Rail Yard Studios to enter the scene.
We added a number of commissioned works from ICHABOD to the mix.
Luxuriously crafted buffalo hide chairs and sofas from our friends at Buffalo Collection dotted the room. The mane of a majestic buffalo served as a rug in the office portion of the space. Of course, all of the buffalo hide remains sustainably sourced with a focus on carefully rebuilding the herds that once roamed the great countryside of the western United States.
The office took possession of our iconic Hopper Desk bookended by sets of our Ladder Track Shelves. A pair of custom credenza side tables from autorack doors and one of our our Sleepers Coffee Tables finished out the office mezzanine.
Downstairs, the fun began. Our ping pong table with oak boxcar flooring game surface got flanked by an autorack panel credenzas that ICHABOD put a hand to. Next to that stood the massive 6-foot tall Goat sculpture , and homage to Rocky the Goat from the Great Northern Railroad – a silhouette crafted from autorack panels salvaged from decommissioned cars used for transporting automobiles.
A massive dining table with railcar base and boxcar flooring eating surface filled the center of the room directly across from one of our Trestle Bars. The buffalo hide bar stools from Buffalo Collection softened the steel panel harvested from a decommissioned boxcar.
At 22-feet in length, the largest size shuffleboard table we offer through our partners at Olhausen fit the room perfectly! We rounded out the space with one of our Flatcar Coffee Tables, an Elevated Bench and a Switchpoint Credenza.
The look defies description.
Awesome, Amazing, Stunning.
But there’s more.
Yes, there is a round 2 coming up to finish things off – lighting, sculptures and a few more odds and ends will complete the look and feel of the ultimate man cave.
Stay tuned for the completed project!