A Place of One’s Own by J.E.P.

Now more than ever, our homes have become our place of solace. As part of this migration, togetherness, as a family or housemates, is at an all-time high. It’s a good thing. But many of us will need an occasional break – the need to carve out space to make a place of one’s own is relevant now more than ever.

I have never been a fan of the term ‘Man Cave’. It connotes a certain machismo thought and leads to visions of bad dark paneling and overstuffed La-Z-Boy leather sectionals. It also sounds purposely exclusive, warding the sense that women do not belong. The reality is, it’s not so much that they are not allowed, as it is more that they do not want in, enjoying those moments we are out of their spaces. Calling it out as a ‘Man’ place simply means you gave up a token for something she has no interest in anyway.

Equally so, I hate the term ‘Home Office.’ Visions of fake wood, Formica furniture bought at big box office stores. I enjoy my career, but a home office just intertwines it too much with my personal life. If I work from home, it needs be in a space called out for other uses beyond work.

As a result, I’ve come to call my own personal space ‘The Clubhouse’. Equally a place to work as it is a place to socialize and includes plenty of room to tie a fly or relax with personal phone calls to my extended family and beyond. It truly is my ‘life’ room.

For my space, it’s not so much about the design as it is a collection of what I have acquired. Special Items I like, unique estate sale finds or cast offs with character simply because my wife was done with them in the main house. My personal Clubhouse was created in a previously unused space above our detached garage I like to refer to as a carriage house. We glued down seagrass, clad one wall in a whitewashed rough-cut ship lap and added a fresh coat of paint. Results were dramatic and life changing for all.

My desk is actually a dining table repurposed – a score from Craigslist. Other pieces are from tag sales and estate auctions. The sofa is classic blue ticking stripe with kilim pillows found on Etsy. And let’s not forget the bar! A faux leather trunk on casters, that opens up to a bar, also used for bourbon tastings at charity events or tailgates.

Like Will Kelly, who wrote a similar piece for RCS, this space is me both in function and form. It’s useful, purposeful and contains all that I love in the form of collections, aka stuff. You can like it or not, but the invites only go to those who will appreciate it. And those invitations don’t come easy. Just ask my boys who still need an invitation upon each entry.

JEP @the.jep.life

JEP is a friend and one of the most interesting men on the planet.  We are lucky to have him as a contributor to Red Clay Soul.



  1. Nem
    03/27/2020 / 7:48 AM

    I particularly like JEP’s “collection of things.” My sturdy is similar in that it has taken a decade of collecting an antique desk and a low side chair from a yard sale (re-upholstered), side table, interesting folding step-stool from the 30’s my wife found at Scott, and a ton of books for the built-ins. Hardwood floors with throw rugs make the space pretty unique and the walls are covered in weird framed things I’ve found over the years. Anyone in the house can use the space, but no one can deny it is all about things I love (hence anyone in the house can use…). Plus I have the desk facing the window out to the front yard and street. Watching families and kids moving by in the sleepy streets of my neighborhood is the change of pace I didn’t know I needed.

    My week at home working from this space is coming to an end this Monday. For how long, we’ll see.

    Great post and keep them coming!

  2. Tanner
    03/27/2020 / 9:27 AM

    These posts are great. My office/personal space is a work in progress but is coming a long nicely. A few favorite things: as a coffee table I have the large metal trunk my grandpa lived out of while in the Navy in WW2 (his uniforms are still folded inside), autograph pictures of Ryan Giggs holding the treble and Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter and some family artwork of family crests, etc. Also noticed your Pistol Pete. As a Cowboy gotta say Go Pokes!

    • Fritz
      03/27/2020 / 11:19 AM

      Enjoyed these posts as well and really liked the TCU regalia.

    • @the.jep.life
      03/29/2020 / 8:07 AM

      Sounds great! Yep…a Poke here!

  3. Trip
    03/27/2020 / 9:31 AM

    Just the kind of posted I needed. This will serve as great inspiration for when this crisis ends and I can convert an extra bedroom into my own “clubhouse.” I’ve been working from this room for two weeks now and the desire to really transform it is great.

  4. Brian
    03/27/2020 / 10:21 AM

    I am also a collector of massive amounts of ephemera, so much so that my house might qualify for the museum/arts relief funding in the recent Coronavirus economic package!

    I also don’t like the term “man cave”, as it suggests that the man, who probably signs the mortgage checks, has been exiled to a dungeon. I get frustrated to no end hearing men actively embrace being marginalized within the walls of their home.

    I have a well developed, traditional interior aesthetic, having studied interior design and historic interiors, and my wife and I both participate in selecting the decor of our home. Our home is a shared space where I feel welcome and comfortable in every room.

    Men should lay claim to more than a “cave” and actively engage in the development of their entire living environment.



  5. Matt Tyler
    03/28/2020 / 8:51 AM

    We just moved to a new house and I have been working on my “sanctuary.” This post was timely, and I could not agree more with the “by invite only” policy. “ Great work.

    • @the.jep.life
      03/29/2020 / 8:08 AM

      Good luck…policy is easy to make, enforcing with teenagers is the challenge.

  6. @the.jep.life
    03/29/2020 / 8:06 AM

    Thanks for the ink. Hope inspiring for all. -JEP

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