When Chris and his family bought their home in 2018, the basement seemed completely normal. But there’s more to that story than meets the eye.
Chris’s 1960s ranch home was a fixer-upper—it needed to be gutted and recreated from scratch. “There was a lot of unaddressed water damage, about five layers of stacked carpets in every room of the house, and overall in a pretty awful mess,” Chris said. It was a completely blank slate. After knocking out some walls and fixing the major issues, he began working to fulfill his artistic vision for the space.
Luckily, Chris creates art out of thin air all the time. He’s a Nashville-based cinematographer who has worked on a wide variety of film projects. “I’m inspired by human stories,” he shares. “I love the way we use film to tell those stories and weave the threads that connect us to one another in common understanding.” His film style tends toward a dark aesthetic with heavy, raw emotions. So, naturally, as he began to decorate the basement space, he chose dark undertones.
“I’m inspired by human stories. I love the way we use film to tell those stories and weave the threads that connect us to one another in common understanding.”Chris Haggerty, Host of Hawkins Hideaway
Turns out, the Netflix show Stranger Things was the perfect inspiration for the space. It’s dark and shadowy, yet fun and nostalgic. And the theme combines Chris’s love of storytelling with his penchant for retro design. “I love antiques, board game nights, and retro designs, so it was obvious to me I wanted it to be a basement inspired by the Wheeler Home,” he said. The wood paneling was a perfect match. He added in some vintage film equipment, his board game collection, old records, and antique furniture to complete the look.
In 2022, Chris listed the finished space on AVVAY. “I was using AVVAY for my own personal jobs and it hit me that this would be a great place for shoots,” he said. He has already done a few 35mm shoots of his own in the basement. “I literally built a place that inspires me so it’s great to be able to use it for my own passions,” he shared. In addition to personal film projects in the space, and encouraging others to do the same, he loves to host board game nights and parties there.
Chris hopes that people who rent Hawkins Hideaway will feel creatively inspired by the nostalgia of the space. His dream guest is Taylor Swift, as her latest record Midnights had a fun, throwback vibe. Regardless of who the next renter is, the location has so much potential. It can be a television set, a music video backdrop, or a photoshoot setting.
Or maybe it’s a portal to another world? You’ll have to visit and see for yourself.