The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of people to turn to at-home hobbies in 2020; filling the unexpected downtime by learning to bake bread, taking up knitting, or trying their hand at a new language. But Brantley Gilbert‘s quarantine project might just be the most useful one of all: He’s been using the time at home to renovate his garage into a decked-out man cave with all the amenities.
The singer recently told People that he’s been wanting a renovated garage for nine years, but never had time to actually put the work in — until now.
“It’s been a long process and it’s evolved a lot,” he admitted. “I’m a little bit OCD, and I like to be very organized, so I really just wanted a place of my own where I knew where everything was and I’m out of my wife’s hair.”
Gilbert’s wife, Amber, typically takes the lead on home design — in fact, he jokes that she’s turned their home “into Southern Living magazine.” However, while Amber’s tastes fall more in line with a rustic, modern farmhouse design, Gilbert’s renovated space is all his own aesthetic: an open-concept design with lots of black and silver tones; a checkerboard floor pattern; and a fleet of motorcycles, dirt bikes and trucks on display.
“Up here, it’s biker, hot rod racing,” he explained. “It’s a man cave-slash-showroom-slash-anything you can think of.”
Post-pandemic, Gilbert’s envisioning using the space as an all-purpose gathering spot for music-making, partying, or just hanging out and watching sports. He named his new man cave the “Dawg House” after his favorite football team, the Georgia Bulldogs.
“I thought the Dawg House was a cool name, but also some of the guys will say, ‘Well, if you do screw up and get kicked out of the house of a minute …'” Gilbert jokingly recounted. “In the South, we call that ‘getting put in the dog house,’ so now there is an actual Dawg House where they can come stay.”
That goes for more than just the singer himself. He built bunk beds into his renovated project so that his buddies can come and crash at the Dawg House, too. It’s only fair, after all, since Gilbert says his friends pitched in to help make the space a reality.
“I drew this place out on little grid paper, and before I knew it, all the guys came down and they brought it to life with their spin on things,” he said. “Looking up at everything, I remember who did the trim around the bathroom door, who helped hang up the entertainment system — and any time one of the guys comes over, if they see something that’s not right, they go over to the tool cabinet and they fix it. It’s an ongoing project, but I’m more proud of it than anything because it’s something we built together.”
It should come as no surprise that Gilbert put himself (and all his friends) to work during quarantine. He previously admitted that he gets antsy when he has nothing to do. Working on his Dawg House — as well as spending time with his wife and children, of course — is what “kept me from completely losing my marbles,” he shared in September.
These Are the Top 10 Country Songs of 2020: