Tag Archives: Ebay

Manterior

September 11, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article appears in the Sept./Oct. issue of Omaha Home.

On a small acreage nestled in the rolling sine-wave hills outside Springfield, Nebraska, Todd Middleton set the gold standard for the man cave. This husband and father of two built a manly oasis in his barn—decorated with old duck decoys, John Deere curios, barbed wire, a rusty raccoon trap, and cow-skull art made of washers—reflecting the family’s passions for antiques and the outdoor life. The taxidermied duck, forever flying off the wall, looks perfect.

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Middleton, owner of Double T Lawn and Landscape, first conceived the idea for the project when he built an office in a different barn on his property. “I said if I ever build another barn, I’m gonna build me something that I can actually sit down in and kinda get away from the wifey.”

“It’s okay, the feeling’s mutual,” says Todd’s wife, Aimee, who directs the marketing and clerical side of the family business. “It gives me time in my kingdom. By myself!”

(“She sheds” are fast becoming the counterbalance to the man cave. If men have their private dens, it’s only logical that women should have a space of their own as well.)

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Plenty of beer, wine, and Hawaiian Punch await Todd and his buddies; a Yoder barbecue smoker just outside the entrance gives off a faint whiff of pulled pork. Inside is a masterpiece of craft and masculine attention, including a bar, two Frigidaires, a  Shaquille-O’Neal-sized-couch, a 60-inch flat-screen, a bathroom with repurposed galvanized tubs for sink basins—even an old watering can for a showerhead. Cedar and knotty pine panel the walls, giving a fresh-from-the-forest look. Whereas most builders worry out every little knot and kink in the wood, Todd purposely let imperfections remain in order to give the place an outdoorsy feel.

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You don’t want anything perfect,” he explains. “You don’t want anything straight, clean. When you do stuff like this, you want it a little rough.”

In keeping with the theme of roughness and wilderness, the bar, made of fieldstones, supports a syrup-colored, knotty pine countertop that is lacquered on the sides and topped with a self-leveling epoxy mix to give it a glassy, uncanny sheen. He wanted to go his own way on its design. “Everybody’s got granite, onyx, whatever. This is something different.”

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Working alone, Todd built his cave a little bit at a time. Aimee says the antique collecting actually took the longest. The family enjoys hunting for rare finds at flea markets and auctions like Rural Route Rust in western Nebraska and Junkstock, and on websites like eBay. It’s an impressive collection, a mini-museum devoted to the rustic life.

In fact, their one-of-a-kind endeavor could serve as a valuable homegrown marketing tool, introducing the concept of manterior design to Nebraska.

“We’re putting this on our website,” Aimee admits. Todd has already been offered a few renovation jobs because of influence from social media sites like Pintrest.

“She put it on Facebook, a lot of people were kinda going nuts,” Todd adds. “There’s just so many cool things out there that people think of and that you can do.”

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The Big Move-In

March 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

So you and your partner have decided to take your relationship to the next step by moving in together. Holy cow, you say, where do we start?

Before even beginning the home hunt, ask yourself if this is something you truly want. If you feel unsure or pressured, now is the time to speak up. Do not use moving in as an excuse to save an already troubled relationship. Think on it for a few weeks, or even a few months, if you can. Make sure you both legitimately enjoy each others’ company and have as many overnights as possible so he gets used to your natural beauty (i.e., sans makeup), and you get used to his cleaning rituals—or lack thereof.

As Laura Drucker for The Daily Muse puts it, “It’s okay to feel scared—big changes can potentially equal big disasters,” but if you two are in a serious, committed relationship, cohabitation may allow you two to continue your life together and get to know each other on a newer, deeper level.

Consolidating Your Inventories

Downsizing your own inventory first will help you to decide what stays and what goes. Maybe it’s time to let go of the 20 socks with no mates (even though the plaid one is super cute), or the coffee maker since you’re a tea drinker now. This could even be a lucrative decision, as lightly worn clothing or older, unmatched furniture can easily be sold on Ebay or Craigslist. Next, make a list of everything you are moving with and everything else you are putting into storage. When consolidating the big items, choose the newer, nicer pieces. Rosemary Brennan’s “5 Conversations You Must Have Before Moving In Together” in Glamour suggests, “keeping the most comfortable bed, better television, and newer living room furniture.”

The Sit-Down

The distribution of bills and chores is incredibly important. First, it helps if both of you are financially stable with steady incomes. Split bills down the middle if you make about the same, or split them based on ratio if one of you has a higher-paying position than the other. Have a sit-down before signing the lease to discuss chores, scheduling, budgeting, and even who is (and is not) allowed over when one of you is not home. Starting with a plan you can actually stick to will help soften the blow when these issues arise in the future.

Communication is Key

Know how to argue successfully with your partner without being hurtful. Make sure there is a definite end to an argument, and, most importantly, a resolution. This is when Mom’s advice on knowing when to pick your battles really starts coming into play. Be open to compromise. For example, agree to keep his shot glass collection in exchange for more room in the closet. Be diplomatic, not demanding about what stays and what goes. By making the effort, the process of you and your partner moving in together will be easier and more successful.