When John Morgan and his wife Natasha bought their two bedroom bungalow in Austin, TX, they had never seen the inside of the carriage house in the backyard. John knew he had to move fast so his wife wouldn't come up with any ideas of her own about how to use the space.

Once the carriage house was cleared, he quietly put a bar in the corner of the room and plugged in a small refrigerator behind it. Later he managed to add a dart board, some Christmas lights and a few other odds and ends before Natasha realized something was going on. She confronted Morgan, saying “what do you think this is, a manhouse?” The name stuck.

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From ManSpace: A Primal Guide to Marking Your Territory

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By Sam Martin

F or some men, getting a space for themselves requires quick thinking. When John Morgan and his wife Natasha bought their two bedroom bungalow in Austin, Texas, in October of 2000 they had never seen the inside of the carriage house in the backyard. As the previous owner’s storage shed, the space had been so stuffed with junk that the doors wouldn’t open and the windows were too dirty to see through. Their realtor told them that it had been built by a cabine t maker in the late 70s as a workshop to restore old pianos; that it was wired and had a bathroom. Since the house was too good to pass up, the Morgans signed the mortgage papers never having seen the inside of the carriage house.

ManSpace: A Primal Guide to Marking Your Territory

After the closing, Morgan and a friend decided to find out just what shape the mystery space was in. As the building was filled to the rafters with trash, old appliances and unsalvageable furniture, they struggled to get the doors open. Slowly, they were able to gain inches by reaching inside and pulling out whatever they could touch. As Morgan and his friend got farther inside the 200 sq ft building and the space began to clear, Morgan realized he had something special. “I felt like an archeologist discovering an old pyramid,” he says. The lights were all burned out but he could see that the interior, while only a basic frame, was constructed by a professional. On both sides of the roof, two dormers with operable casement windows (that matched the ones in the end gable), had been installed to add plenty of natural light.

Plus, there were electrical outlets fastened to the studs almost every 3 ft.

Morgan knew he had to move fast so his wife wouldn’t come up with any ideas of her own about how to use the space. Once the carriage house was cleared, he quietly put a bar in the corner of the room and plugged in a small refrigerator behind it. Later he managed to add a dart board, some Christmas lights and a few other odds and ends before Natasha realized something was going on. She confronted Morgan, saying “what do you think this is, a manhouse?” The name stuck.

In a few months the place was filled with neon signs, ash trays, beer cans and music posters for local bands, and the couple had worked out a détente. Fillin the space with furniture from garage sales, they began doing most of their entertaining in the Manhouse. Natasha’s brothers spend time out there playing cards. Her father enjoys having a place to smoke his cigars.

As word of the backyard bar spread among the Morgan’s group of friends, people began donating everything from old radios to manikins. Now the Morgans have a three year old son, Luke, and the bar has turned into something of a toy store. “You can’t break anything in there,” says Morgan. But rarely a weekend night goes by where Morgan and a few buddies don’t have a beer and play pinball or darts.

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The Manhouse

The Manhouse

John Morgan acted fast to claim the carriage house as his own in the house he had just bought with his wife. A very wise move.

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