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Greeley Mancaves

4 Different Spaces Bringing People Together

Article by Susan McKenzie

Photography by Santora Photo Co.

Originally published in Greeley Lifestyle

In-House Recording Studio 

Socrates Garcia is a composer, arranger, producer, recording engineer, guitarist, and educator from the Dominican Republic. He is an Associate Professor and Director of Music Technology at University of Northern Colorado (UNC) and maintains an active music career. This passion inspired the setup of his mancave - an in-house recording studio. Since he was 19 years old, Garcia has worked in recording studios.. “We had our own professional recording studio in the Dominican Republic and I wanted to go back to having a place where I could easily record, compose, and produce,” Garcia said. He  stocked the studio with all the recording equipment he could ever need, and while there are space limitations in comparison to a large recording studio, it’s still in line with a commercial studio. “It’s in my house, but what I do here is as professional as what I do anywhere else,” Garcia said.

Garcia’s mancave wouldn’t be complete without one of his favorite additions - his guitar set. Housing 18 of them, the guitars are a main part of his inspiration. He also has a drum set, MIDIkeyboard, various computers, a collection of microphones, and other pieces of technology to aid in the recording process. Alongside all of his musical ‘toys’, he also has fun figurines that make the space more comfortable. “I’m a giant child,” Garcia laughed as he played with his Inigo Montoya talking figurine. “I spend so much time here that I need to make myself comfortable,”

While Garcia spends a lot of time alone in his recording studio, it’s also a space his entire family uses. Wanda, his wife, and his kids all use it. Astrid, his daughter, records there, and Liam, his son, is also a producer. This powerhouse family spends a lot of time fostering the music and arts culture in our community and all over the world. It’s no surprise that they all enjoy using this space to explore their creativity - both as a family and on their own.

Car Collection

Preston Berkheimer’s grandfather had hundreds of cars he collected through his life. When he passed away in 2014, Preston and his dad came together to carry on that legacy, culminating in a shop to house all of them. “My grandpa was adopted and was brought home in a ‘39 Plymouth,” said Preston. “We think the reason he got such a big collection was because that car saved him and he didn’t want to see any cars getting destroyed after that.” Preston is now a third-generation collector, and the shop currently has about 300 cars. He learned to love cars for the sentimental piece, not the value. “My favorite car is the ‘37 Plymouth my grandpa built.” Preston shared.  “It was a museum car for twenty years and we rebuilt all the mechanical aspects but preserved all the scratches and knicks.” 

Alongside the sentimental value, the shop provides a dedicated space for family and friends to come together and enjoy each other’s company. It is insulated and equipped with surround sound and also has an outdoor space with a fire pit and basketball court with plans to eventually put up a movie projector. “We just like to entertain, and it’s really a space that intertwines different generations,”Preston said. The idea behind the space was to create a ‘happy spot’ that everyone can enjoy. From small get-togethers to larger annual gatherings, the shop pays homage to Preston’s grandfather while simultaneously cultivating multigenerational relationships. 
 

Multipurpose Shop

Michael Gabriel, owner of Skynet Drone Services, needed a place to store his truck, boat, and Harley Davidson. So he built a large shop on his property. While the shop allows him to have a dedicated space to store and care for his ‘toys’, he also designed areas to entertain. With a pool table, ping pong table, poker tables, popcorn machine, and a full bar, the opportunities are endless. “It’s a really fun space,” he said. “The entire thing is a big shop so I can store everything, but then the mancave part allows us to just have fun.” The bar serves as a huge focal point and conversation piece with a large epoxy top and a vintage tin roof face. No detail was left to spare, including the starry sky pattern on the ceiling that provides a fun and intimate atmosphere. Gabriel also included a large garage door that opens up to the beautiful scenery of Colorado. “We are lucky enough to have open space behind us. There’s a ton of wildlife and birds that just come right up to our backyard. It’s just a fun and relaxing environment,” Michael’s wife, Lori Gama, stated. 

Casino night is a recurring favorite in the Gabriel mancave. “We have some good poker players and it’s a lot of fun,” Gabriel said. This one-of-a-kind space was built with entertaining and family and friends in mind. It’s also a fun place for Michael to enjoy during his retirement. When asked about the inspiration behind the space, he promptly replied, “my beautiful wife, of course!”

Home Bar

Leann Loghry has had a bar in her home for as long as she can remember. “I like the camaraderie of it. I just wanted a place where our family and friends could come and sit and hang out, have a cocktail, and have good conversation,” she said. She and her significant other, Dan Wheeler, have enjoyed hosting both spontaneous and planned parties in the basement of their condo. “It’s been a place where we can entertain. Dan and I enjoy that, and it's simple and people always want to come out and hang out! When you’re there, you just kind of step away from reality.”

The bar, aptly named ‘Nick’s Place’, pays homage to their good friend Nick, who built the condo in the 1970’s. The title dons the wall directly above the bar, serving as a constant reminder of their inspiration for the space. The central focal point is the hammered copper bar. Completely handcrafted, the base of the bar comes from Fort Collins, while the top was especially made in Mexico. There is always beer on tap, as well as Tommyknocker’s Root Beer for the grandkids.

Bicycling is a large part of Dan and Leann’s life, so it is fitting that the decor incorporates them. Leann employed her nephew to build tables out of authentic vintage bicycles that had traveled all over the place with her. “Now they have their forever home,” she said, referring to the cycles, her favorite piece in the space. They also incorporated a vintage safe, a turntable and vinyl collection, and fishing paraphernalia. “It’s a lot of nostalgia, and the culmination of all the things that both Dan and I enjoy.” Whether it’s entertaining friends and family, or relaxing with their dog Winner, Dan and Leann enjoy making memories in their basement bar.

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