Bygone Relics

1900 0

Filled with artifacts and gadgets that could earn a spot on American Pickers, Steve Olson’s garage would be a haven for Mike and Frank to pick through. This Leawood homeowner is a regular at auctions and flea markets, bringing home treasures that are full of history.

Story by Ann Butenas   |   Photos by Matt Kocourek

Steve Olson of Leawood has the kind of garage in which he can simultaneously lose himself and find himself. This is the space that invites him to roll up his sleeves and fully immerse himself in whatever hobbies intoxicate his spirit.

When general contractor Jay Brooks of Built By Leisure began this job for Olson, he knew it would be born of a unique vision. This is not just a man cave; it is a 1,350 square foot space that fully caters to Olson’s love of antiques.




“Steve had been dreaming of having a space to do his antique work for years,” said Brooks. “He has a passion for buying and selling antiques and needed a place in which to keep and display all of his things.”

Brooks and his team created this two-car garage space that sits contiguous to the existing three-car garage that originally came with the home. Carriage style cedar garage doors give way to an antique lovers’ dream within. (Think: American Pickers meets Pawn Stars but with a fun pop of local personality!)

“I enjoyed the whole process of taking a vision and turning it into a reality,” conveyed Brooks. “Steve would find interesting pieces, such as old barn wood and tin, and tell us to make it work, appealing to his taste for the rustic look.”

Besides the obvious collection of all things antique, this man cave is home to a cornucopia of goodies and perks that are as unique as the products Steve fashions out of his antique treasures. (An entrepreneur at heart, one of his businesses is Uniquities, which operates out of the Mission Road Antique Mall.)

The stained concrete floor is durable and low maintenance. Surround sound stereo allows Steve to pipe in whatever music he desires to nurture his creative side. The stairs, counter and end tables are crafted from old bowling alley sections. There is a custom-built vacuum system that easily allows him to clean up any mess, and sleeves for tubing run to the basement where an air compressor sits out of sight and out of earshot. Steve did not want any cords or air hoses on the floor. They had to come from overhead.



“I wanted this to look like a living room when it was done,” he said.

The garage is also wired for a future generator. A host of outlets are always within reach, even in the ceiling, and ample lighting abounds, some of which is encased in chicken feeders! Steve also has an indoor golf range with laser screen.

Not to be overlooked is the elevator, which takes Steve down to the lower walkout 1,350 square foot basement level used for storage.

“I bought that off Craigslist,” he smiled. “We trimmed it out with rusty trim.”

A sink stands next to the elevator and hot and cold spigots are in the basement so he can fill up his mop bucket.

The ample 15-foot ceiling allows for those special projects.

“I may work on a boat from time to time,” Steve noted. “The scissor truss vaulted ceiling allows for this and I can put something on a lift when needed.”

And when he is done with his work for the day, Steve can relax on the couch and watch a bit of TV with his wife Carrie before the next wave of inspiration hits.

“My mind is always going,” he laughed.



contractor: Built By Leisure   |   electrical: Teague Electric   |   plumbing: Action Plumbing Inc.   |   foundation: Paul Dusselier Basement Company   |   flatwork: Downey Construction   |   concrete staining: Insideout Concrete Creations   |   garage doors: Clopay / Builders Overhead Door   |   stucco: Stucco Inspection & Repair

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