House For Six

man cave

Man Cave Progress: All In The Details

Deme Crinion7 Comments
Our last project of 2012 (we're talking right down to the Christmas wire) was the Mister's man cave.   A series of small updates went a long way in changing the entire feel of the space. He (and I) couldn't be happier with the result!

Back here I talked about how the orange formica bar top and dark wood paneled walls of this room completely sold this house to my husband.  And how what once screamed "Man cave!" soon went to fam cave as we covered that dark paneling with a light grey/blue and the toys took over.  I started the process of turning this man cave turned fam cave, back into a man cave when the hubs was traveling.  I made decent progress, but there was a lot left undone.  My parents came out for Christmas this year and wanted to help get it to its full man cave glory.  I was totally on board!

We started, of course, with a fresh coat of paint.  I gave you this sneak peak a couple of weeks ago.
The new color is Ombre Grey by Valspar.  I had it lightened 12% and it instantly gave the room a rich, lux feel....without being too dark.

*A warning about dark paint (especially when painting over a lighter colored surface) - it will seem light as it goes on wet, then look incredibly dark as it dries only covering half of the walls, and then even out once the entire room is complete.  So don't give up or freak out in the middle ;)

I never liked our fireplace brick but the darker grey is a much better complement than the light blue.  It brings out more grey tones in the brick itself and the grout color.  Much more livable.  The wavy trim on the other hand - still on the to-do list.
[Hard to tell but that's a bunch of tinsel and our stocking holders on the's a merry man cave :)]

The darker grey also looks so much better with the gold and silver accents we have in the room, like the curtains and these frames.  They now pop instead of fading into the background.

In fact, it just works better with everything in the room....

We got rid of the random baskets that used to occupy these shelves and found some better media storage. 

One bin for adults, and one for kids of our most frequently watched videos.  The larger bin (pictured above) has small DVD binders and Xbox controllers.

I found this soft grey basket on clearance in the bath section at Target and it was perfect for the kids' stock pile of Lego's.  You never know where you'll find stylish storage options, so keep an open mind!
Normally I'm not a fan of the "dump storage" options.  A giant bin for all sorts of toys will attract anything and everything, but for a multitude of one like item, it's fantastic!  Easy storage, accessibility, and clean up!

Another nitty gritty detail that made a huge difference was not only switching out the old beige switch plates, but the outlets too.  Otherwise, you wouldn't even notice those great oil-rubbed bronze covers if the off-white switches and outlets were glaring through.  Brown outlets and light switches yielded a whole new look!



We even went the extra mile and spray painted the child safety outlet covers brown too.  My mom always teases me about obsessing over the tiniest details, but this one was all her idea.  I had to get it from somewhere, right?

We took down the picture of the Notre Dame stadium when we mounted the old school speed bag we scored on craigslist.  We finally found a new spot for the it on the opposite wall, adding some balance with the pic behind the bar.....although it still needs a few more things to really fill out the wall space.

Obviously we were in the full Christmas spirit here.  Once our merry candle holder is packed away, we'll need something with a little height to fill this space.  I'm thinking a silver tray with the Mister's Irish whiskey's. 

Another detailed job, was painting the hands on this clock.  They used to be the same gold as the rest of the numbers completely blending in.  The running joke was that we added a gigantic clock to the room and no one could tell what time it was.....not anymore!

I also found this rug on a Target clearance rack....the grey/white/gold colors worked perfectly with this room's color scheme.

The final change was to the overhead light.  We had your standard flush mount boob light in there before.  Not very nice and not very bright (sorry I don't have a pic!).  I was concerned that the smaller bulbs on the track light wouldn't be enough but these six bulbs are surprisingly bright and look great to boot!

Try to ignore the popcorn ceiling...

We still need to find a home for these items.....

I think the two framed pics will go on that blank wall next to the pub table....
These Christmas pillows on the couch were another sale steal.  At just $8 a pop they're a great quality pillow form and I plan to sew up a few envelope style pillow covers to toss over them year round.

We also need to mount a hook near the speed bag where the boxing gloves can hang at the ready.

 There's really just a few more things to do and this baby is done!   Honing in on the details...the right shade of grey, uniform outlets, balancing the accessories, stylish storage, better lighting.....all worked together to give this room a more sophisticated feel.  

We've gone from this....

To this.....

And now, this:

It's definitely looking a lot more manly around here! I'll be popping in later to show you some of the hidden storage we worked into the room.  It may finally be looking like a mancave but it's still a place the fam uses on a daily basis!

Some Man-Cave Updates

Deme Crinion3 Comments
If you missed the only other post this slacker blogger has done on this room in our house, you can check it out here.

A service call from Direct TV this weekend resulted in a little happy dance on my end.  Happy dance and Direct TV don't normally go in the same sentence, but sometimes pigs do fly.
The tech came by to service our dish but I asked him if it was safe for us to move this cable cord (yes - the one protruding from the picture frame like an 80's side pony tail), so that if fed through the built-in shelves.  He offered to "move it real quick".  I hugged him for an inappropriately long time and then let him get to work.  It was such a simple thing - just drilling a new hole. But drilling a hole from the outside of our house requires a huge drill bit that we didn't have. 

10 minutes later, our cord was run through it's new, discrete spot.

We also relocated the frame, which actually has a picture of the Notre Dame stadium, over to the bar area, and finally hung this speed bag in it's place.  James scored it from the same folks who sold us our antique dining table.  Who else loves craigslist?!

So, we have a new, old piece with a lot of character in place and no more unsightly cord to distract from it.  Hallelujah!

Sometimes, it's the smallest things that make a huge difference.  Maybe I'll be motivated to finally paint and finish this room now!

From Fam-Cave to Man-Cave: DIY Chalkboard!

Deme CrinionComment

There's a space in our home that I haven't shared with you in a post yet, and that's our family room.  This poor room has struggled to find it's identity since the day we moved in.  When we first walked into this space during our house hunt, the dark wood paneling and wooden bar with orange formica countertop just screamed "MAN CAVE!".   I'm convinced this room sold our house to my dear hubs.

But then we moved in.  And 3 kids under 4 years old have a knack for taking over a house room.  James noticed how quickly it went from man-cave to fam-cave, as the kids' toys and my aesthetic filled this family room.  Perhaps it was the paint color gone wrong (a "sterling silver" that was much more blue than a masculine grey) or my white shag rug (which is not considered suitable man-cave material by any standards).  Either way, we have an amazing husband/Daddy around these parts, who didn't complain about losing his man-space to Legos, puzzles and pretty striped drapes.

James works incredibly hard for our family as a govt contractor and high school football coach, and was also doing an intense one-year program to finish his master's degree.  So, on his trip out to PA for the final week of the course, I thought he deserved to have his man-cave back as a happy graduation gift and a thank you for all he does for us.  

My mom was in from CA helping me with the kids that week and she was my stealthy accomplice as we kicked off "Operation Fam-Cave {back} to Man-Cave"!   This is the only 'before' pic I could find as we began taking the room apart.  Obviously this covert op took place after the kids were in bed..hence the bad lighting.

We had already swapped out the blue/tan/cream striped drapes for these light gold ones (they are reading a little yellow here)...and everything going on behind the couch would change.

 I knew it wasn't realistic to expect the toys and all evidence of family to completely vanish...and James wouldn't have wanted that either.  But I did get busy stalking craigslist, browsing internet deals, and shopping sales for manly decor and concealed storage.

James graduated from Notre Dame and football runs through his blood, so needless to say, this household is all Irish!   He loves the tradition of both the game and his alma mater, so I wanted this room to pay tribute to those things.  I also wanted it to be a practical place for entertaining and those tactical football brainstorming sessions.  

We didn't quite finish it all by the time the hubs came home but we made enough progress to create a room that looked very different and felt a lot more like James.  And made for a pretty great surprise!

Here's how this same area looks today.

We took out the corner cabinet and added a pub table and chairs in it's place.

This gave us extra seating and another place for food/drinks.  It's easy to pull the chairs over to the chalkboard when that's in use, but more on that in a minute!  His boxing gloves from college gives us some interest in the vertical space.

This Four Horseman lamp just oozes Notre Dame tradition and was James' graduation gift from my parents.  It's always lit when the Irish are playing.

I found these glass coaster on sale at Michael's and we used the picture slots for black and white photos of a few of James' coaching hero's.

This wall was actually empty when the hubs returned from his trip.  We both served in the Marine Corps and I thought it might be a good place to display some of his favorite memorabilia from that time in our lives.  I wasn't sure what he would want to put up, so I left it up to him.  After tossing around a few ideas, he asked if I wouldn't mind going a different direction....and thus was born this chalkboard beast.

We just grabbed a 4x8 ft piece of plywood from the hardware store along with some trim, and a few steps later, we had a perfect place for chalk talk.  We sanded the wood then painted it with some leftover chalkboard paint I had from another project.  I stained the trim with the same stain we used on the bar top (I'll share that in another post) and we were done!  Well, almost.

I could tell you that we hung pics of James' top 4 inspirational football coaches just for fun, but here's the "let's keep it real" moment.  Our measurements were slightly off on the trim and we ended up with a gap in some of the corners.  Instead of ditching the wood to start over, we used the frames to hide our "oops" and ended up added a personal detail in the process. 

Of course, in addition to the coaching staff, Mia can reach the bottom of the board and likes to add her own input to the play book.

Read from the bottom up, that's "Mia's Octonaut Rescue Display Project".  We watch a bit of Octonaut's in this house :)

To encourage the kids to keep from too much of this very thing, we mounted a white board right at their level.  It's mounted off to the side here because we used to have a play tool bench next to it that was moved to the boys' room.  Having it off to the side actually works out because it gives the Coach a place to stand without the kids being under foot.

They love the white board...

 ...and since it's dry erase, it's not a big deal if ink gets on the wall.  It's easy cleanup with a damp cloth, so I love it too!

A small bronze tub sits on top of the mini fridge (along with some erasers) and holds chalk.

Ultimately we went from this (and just imagine it with dark wood paneling on the walls)...

To this...

We still have some work to do, both on this wall and in the rest of the room.  The biggest change will be in the paint color.  I already have two cans of deep grey waiting to cover those light blue walls.  This room gets a ton of light, so it can handle a darker color.  Now it's just a matter of picking a weekend to do it!

We also have plans for more art/decor, improvements to the bar area, an update to the fireplace and a few more personal touches.  Even with all that, we aren't waiting to use this space!  It's already hosted many family/friend get-togethers, coaches meetings, and even some playdates.

I'll share our updates over the next few weeks as we finish up those final projects...and I'll be sure to show you how we still manage to keep this a kid-friendly family zone without sacrificing an ounce of manliness!

How do you keep the kid-stuff from taking over?  Anyone else tackled a "manly" project or a room that does double-duty?