So with today being pretty much exactly twenty years since we started dating, I’m singing the praises of my lovely husband Mark, and his contribution to the project.
He’s always been great at layouts and it was his design for our original loft conversion that took the neighbourhood by storm, but he really got into his decorating stride with the man cave.
We stole the idea of the cave, which takes up half of our extended coal cellar, from friends who’d turned their cellar into a games/ home cinema room. We loved that idea, and also had a fair volume of drums and guitars to deal with. In the old house they’d lived in the back half of the sitting room, where I’d never been fully convinced of their decorative merit. (Although they look much nicer against this Little Greene Hicks Blue wall than they ever did against the off white walls in the old house).
Planning the layout took a while and there were several hiccups along the way when various structural elements and building reg requirements meant we couldn’t divide up the space quite as we’d anticipated (the other half is our utility room).
The instruments fit neatly into the excavated front bay, but we also needed to house a rather large collection of vinyl and CDs, a tv and several amps. As everyone knows, the only sensible way to house your records is in an IKEA Kallax unit, and one bonus of the build changes was that we were able to recess it into the wall (Second time lucky – the first set of stud work was an agonising two centimetres too narrow).
I had a white 4 x 4 Kallax sitting in the garage ready for installation but as you can see that’s not what we ended up with. I’d fallen into the default assumption that we’d want to make the space as bright as possible, whereas Mark’s, correct, judgement, was that a cosy club-like feel would bring the best out of the room. Luckily for me, Mark’s interpretation of clubland is more Hackney than Highlands so we were spared the stags heads and tartan of a typical Pinterest ‘man cave’.
We pressed our old kitchen sofa into service and brought a brass ceiling plate on line to combine two bargain Anglepoise lamps from the John Lewis clearance sale into an overhead light fitting. (We re-used their original enameled metal roses for our vintage desk and downstairs loo lights).
So far so lovely, but Mark really excelled himself when it came to designing the CD storage. His concept of custom made ply shelves hidden behind sliding doors was beautifully executed by our joiner Jan.
I especially like Mark’s design for the shelf joints, and the fact that the doors also hide the ugly but necessary cellar-y and man cave stuff like electricity meters and amp cables. We’d originally intended to paint the doors, but fell in love with the seventies executive office vibe of the green/grey fireproof MDF.
Two months later I found the finishing touch at the Olympia House & Garden show, a vintage poster featuring Mark’s favourite city and one of his favourite bands. (Spot the Fab Four).