My Version of a Trophy Room & Garage Build, Circa 2017, Now Filling up

BryceM

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@Green Chile recently started a thread asking about trophy room ideas. I've seen many good ones posted here over the years. Also, a few that are truly epic in scope, planning, and execution. I learned a few things along the way, and maybe what I did will provide some good and bad ideas for others.

The plan:

For me, the decision to build a standalone addition came gradually, a few years after building the house. At first, my small man-cave in the house was home to my trophies, but after my second or third trip, it was obviously not going to work. Besides, my wife has always been perfectly content with plenty of hunting, but she has an intense desire to eat dinner without the animals looking at her. ;) We had always planned to add a shop, and it seemed logical to combine the two. The want list included:

- A hangout trophy room that was big enough to host a small party, meeting, or watch movies.
- A two car garage, with doors tall enough to house a camper. I don't have one, but you never know......
- A bathroom
- A reloading room
- A space to keep some woodworking tools
- A ceiling mount for a hoist capable of easily lifting a moose or car engine
- A place to debone, grind, and package game
- An overhang on the back to house the bird dogs
- A small loft for exercise equipment or perhaps a billiards table
- In-wall, surround speakers
- Heat and AC
- 3/4" plywood backing in the trophy room

What we did not include:

- A walk-in vault
- A formal bar
- A built-in dust collection system for the wood shop tools

I poked around here and other places for quite a while to get a feel for what I might need in terms of size, wall space, and height. I was originally planning on 12' ceilings, but after talking it over with the contractor, it really wasn't that much more to go up a full 16'. That decision, I've never regretted. There was a finite budget for the building, but I certainly didn't want to be out of room immediately.

The final building dimensions came it at 62'x34' with a 10' covered overhang on the back for the dogs. The trophy room size was 19x33', finished, with a staircase leading up to a small loft, and a sink with small cabinet. The floorplan came out like this. The 2 car garage is on the left, with the larger bay providing room for a table saw, jointer, workbench, and a few other tools.

The small office in the middle became a reloading room, and the bigger open room is on the right. The loft is over the reloading room/bathroom area. The roof hoist is located just in front of the depicted truck, and there is also a restaurant-style stainless steel sink/table for meat processing in front of the truck. I wired it with plenty of 120V and 240 outlets. Do NOT skimp on those. They're cheap up front, but even a ridiculous number of those is never enough. A big freezer is next to the sink/table which is rather convenient.

An architect drew up the plans, added some truss reinforcement for the lift/hoist, and I was lucky enough to find a contractor who spends plenty of his own time hunting.

shop-floor - Copy.jpg
 
The build:

The actual construction went pretty smoothly. We were able to tie in to the existing water and sewer pretty easily. We came in on-time, and exactly on budget. The contractor left the trophy room with bare floors and basic textured beige walls. I considered other colors and backgrounds, but decides to let the animals have center stage.

I added some wainscoting from reclaimed redwood snow fence, installed the floor, and put in the top rail and floorboards. I wired everything for in-wall speakers, wireless TV installation, and all of that turned out pretty nicely. The 3/4" plywood sheets under the drywall is a 100% must-do and permits considerable flexibility when it comes to hanging the mounts. I still locate a stud for the heavy ones (elk, eland) but smaller critters do just fine on a smaller screw or nail. Decent-size lag bolts are a must, as I did have a failure once with a smaller one and dropped an eland about 5'. Nothing got hurt, but if it drops from 10 or 12', it could really make a mess.

Soon after the build, it started filling up. You know..... "If you build it, they will come......"

Shop05.jpg
Shop06.jpg
 
A few comments on the taxidermy:

- A Hartman zebra flatskin is huge!
- Yes, the one waterbuck has a skew horn. I like it!
- Yes, the baboon looks a little odd
- Giraffes take up a lot of space!
- There is still room for much, much more!
- Eventually, if it all works out, there will be a tree in one corner with a leopard in it.
- The open space above the TV is for the buffalo, which should be here in a year or so.
- The Burchell zebra pedestal is a 5-sided creation of mine with backskin panels. It turned out OK, I think.
- Giraffe skulls and carved leg bones are really, really cool.
- I just can't stop shooting nice kudu!

Things I would have done differently:
- I would have added a reinforced concrete room with a vault door. There wasn't budget for it at the time, but it would have been sooooo nice.
- A dust collection system for the wood tools would have been pretty easy to build in. I just didn't think about it at the time..... and the shape/size of all of that wasn't worked out in my head yet.
- A bar would have been nice, but it's probably not something we would have used all that often. The house fills that role.
- I considered track lighting, or spots, or something similar, but recessed can lights do the job, and the animals show well enough, I think.

Still to arrive:
- Klipspringer
- Sable pedestal
- A pair of elephant ivory and other sundry pachyderm parts.

I'm sure glad we did this in 2017, as building costs now would have made it much more difficult. If in doubt, just do it! Spend some time thinking about it, and don't make it too small. :)

Hanging the mounts up by the ceiling requires that I rent a hoist. I try to batch that process to once a year or so.
 
Thats Awesome! Nice work:D Beers:
 
Very Nice.
Gotta ask, How tall is your giraffe?
I'm considering hunting a giraffe and haven't decided whether to have a mount or full hide tanned for furniture projects.
 
Bravo, good sir. Bravo!! That looks awesome. Thanks for sharing.
 
Very nice. Lots of trophy rooms on AH are bigger then our house.
 
Very nice and thanks for posting the topic. It will help many of us.

I really like your wainscoting idea. Flooring is a tough decision I think...so many good options.

Can we see a photo of how the back overhang turned out? That's a great idea. Also can we see the loft area and bathroom?
 
Very nice work! Great job placing the African mounts on the wall. The overall pattern should flow just like any other design and follow the Golden Ratio. What you have done is so much more attractive than hanging them in straight lines.

Well, maybe you could put that zebra on the floor wear it belongs. It and oriental rugs work great on hardwood. ;)

The Golden Ratio 1 to 1.618
golden ratio.jpg
 
Well done, nice finish out and multipurpose use of space.
 
Looks great and thank you for sharing. Now, if I can get my wife to sell our current house so we can buy a lot where I can replicate your build as it has everything I would want. Of course, it require building her a new home - might bust the budget for hunting.

John
 
Very nice trophy room build and thanks for sharing all of the ideas
 
@Ridge Runner, the giraffe is 10'-5" from floor to ceiling. I originally wanted a flatskin. I've seen one and they're epically enormous. The taxidermy shop in Windhoek have done several, but many of them didn't turn out well. Hair slip, uneven coloration, etc. As with all things giraffe, the sheer size of it poses certain problems. Just skinning and butchering the thing took 6 people, 2 tractors and many hours, not including prep work for the meat trailer the day prior. My bull provided over 1000 kg of deboned meat. I did a dip & pack for the cape and a finished ottoman with the backskin. It's pretty cool by itself.

There are some taxidermy forms that show less shoulder and sit a bit differently. These end up lower overall, but I never really cared for the way they look - sort of like the neck springs right up out of the floor. Height is the very essence of a giraffe, after all. There are other considerations too. Be sure you get a local taxidermy quote. Everything with giraffe is harder. The form comes to the shop via freight, not UPS. Moving it from the shop to my home required a large trailer and 4 guys to move it around. My granddaughter spent 2 years being scared to death of it. I've seen some guys put them on casters so they're easier to move around. The finished thing weighs at least 250 pounds. Shipping from Africa for the cape, ottoman, skull, and 2 leg bones was ghastly expensive. Much more than anticipated. But, I have a giraffe in my room..... so I've got that going for me. ;)

@Red Leg, when I started laying the trophies out, I took a photo of each mount and sort of moved them around on the computer to figure out where each looked best. Others have been worked in betwixt and between since then. Mostly it's OK. There are a couple of mounts here that will be moving on once my kids have a big enough place. The kudu on the left side is one. You never really know what comes next, so it's a bit of a moving target.

@Green Chile, here's the back overhang (pay no attention to the weeds. The weed-whacker has been sick). The kennels are in the lee of prevailing winds. It seems to work out.



back-dogs.jpg


Here's the loft, currently serving as an exercise room. I didn't get the pool table quicky enough!

exercise-room.jpg


The view from the loft is pretty cool. Again, excuse the mess. Really, I should button all that up before sharing this, but such as it is:

from-loft.jpg


As requested, a view of the glorious bathroom. It's pretty minimalist, but it's crazy nice when you've been afield and are just too bloody or dusty to clean up in the main house. It's nice for guests too. The sofa in the room makes into a bed, and kids don't mind camping on the floor.

bathroom.jpg


@thi9elsp, funny you should mention that. My wife jokes that we live together in her house and my man cave is my house. Suits me just fine. :)

@Spearhead, the eland is most certainly on a big lag bolt which extends into a stud. As far as mounting it, piece of cake. With the right equipment, and a bit of planning, it's not too bad. Here's the most recent addition. A Colorado muzzleloader elk:

hoist.jpg


Thanks for all the kind words everyone. Everyone does it differently, and on a different budget, but this has been a work of love. Just before my last safari I sat out there and reminisced about each and every hunt. It's amazing the details that come flooding back.
 

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