Some men have man caves, but this man has a “Gentleman’s Cave.”
Conveniently hidden behind a fake bookcase façade, Connor Chambers’ secret “smoking room” awaits him, decorated with vintage maps, a faux leather high-back chair perfect for lounging, an oil lamp, a wooden ship replica and, of course, an electric fireplace, which, he wrote on Reddit, “will be great in winter since it gets cold in a room with six sides of concrete under the front porch.”
Chambers was inspired to create his hidden room three years ago when he moved into his Louisville, Kentucky, home and discovered the random, somewhat useless small space.
“When I first went through the house, there was a random wooden door in the corner of my basement that led to this 5-foot-by-12-foot room, concrete on all sides,” Chambers, 26, told ABC News. “It was dark, and dirty because its original purpose was to literally just hold coal to heat the house when it was first built. It still had soot on the floor.
“Because it's so small and tucked away, no one looks at my floorplan and thinks, ‘Huh, there should be a room here.’ So I immediately realized the potential for being a secret room. Plus, I know that having this kind of space is a universal dream but almost no one has the chance to actually make it reality.”
But Chambers was determined to make it his reality. He started scavenging his dad’s basement, scouring Craigslist for “just the right item,” and searching at estate sales to find decorations to fit his ideal vision for the hidden room.
“I knew because of its size I had to come up with a narrative for the room, otherwise it would end up looking just pieced-together,” he explained. “My lounge theme was based on this narrative that I made up in my head, that my house is much older than it actually is and the room was built around the turn of the century.”
Chambers also intentionally chose lamps that were not electric ones, but instead looked like lamps from an earlier era because no electricity would have ever been run into the room.
“Basically, the reason for having a Victorian smoking lounge versus a typical ‘man cave’ was because I knew I didn't have the room for a poker table, or a home theater, and why go through the trouble of building another room to hold a TV or stereo,” he said.
The entire secret smoking room cost Chambers around $600, he said, with the fireplace being the most expensive purchase.
Chambers does occasionally use the room for smoking a pipe, but more often he’s sipping on some bourbon.
“I do go in there every few days to read a book, or just stretch out with a glass of good bourbon,” he said. “Being from Louisville, I have developed a real love for bourbon and whisky in all its forms.”
His advice to anyone looking to build their own secret room is simple: “Just... DO IT. Don't let your dreams be dreams,” he wrote on Reddit.
Although he says he didn’t set out to impress anyone with his design, he certainly has. The photos of his hidden room have amassed more than 1 million views.
“On a superficial level, it's just plain cool to have a secret door,” Chambers said. “On a personal level, it's an escape that everyone desires.”