Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Fun: Man Caves

Last week, we featured the installation of my model train layout. Friday, the Wall Street Journal had an article about a Chicago-area layout built by a third party as part of a story about "man caves." I thought it would be fun to compare. My comments are in brackets.
Tom Frattinger with his model train set, spread over 500 square feet in his Wheaton, Ill., home. ENLARGE
Tom Frattinger with his model train set, spread over 500 square feet in his Wheaton, Ill., home. PHOTO: CALLIE LIPKIN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
The Haute Hobby Room
Men who like to tinker with old radios, model trains or antique toy cars have traditionally been banished to a worktable in the corner of the basement [attic room]. But for Chicago-area retiree Tom Frattinger, 69, the hobby room is a point of pride. 
Mr. Frattinger’s model-train room occupies about 500 square feet in the basement of his Wheaton, Ill., home—and was almost 60 years in the making. “My parents gave me my first train [mine, too], which I still have, in 1955,” he says. “And I’ve had a couple of trains for years, but I always wanted a nicer layout than what I had.” [me, too]
The space is decorated with blue walls and blond-wood wainscoting with recessed lighting above the track. [clouds and sky]
In late 2012, Mr. Frattinger contacted Elaine Silets, president of North Barrington, Ill.-based model-railroad design company Huff & Puff Industries. [Dallas' T W Trainworx] A year later, he found himself the owner of an extensive three-train railroad layout, [four train] which he enjoys with his five grandchildren. His wife of 41 years hasn’t shown an interest in his hobby to date, he says. [Kathleen is proud of the layout but shows little inclination to running the trains]
Mr. Frattinger declined to say how much the setup cost, but according to Mrs. Silets, her company’s model railroads start at about $35,000. 
Sprawling atop a large raised platform, Mr. Frattinger’s train set combines a rural small-town tableau and mountain scenery with a Chicago-inspired urban [Kansas-inspired] setting that includes replicas of Wrigley Field [the Keeper of the Plains], a model carwash [my family's Ford dealership] and a McDonald’s restaurant [yes!], as well a stretch of elevated track running in loops around a mountain peak complete with a waterfall. 
“It actually got to be a little bit more than I thought it was going to be,” he says. Ms. Silets “doesn’t do anything very simple, so its more elaborate than I expected. But it came out very nice.” [very, very pleased]

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