The Man Cave

Hey, friends!  I’ve got an extra special treat today.  Mark is going to share his man cave and not only that, he’s going to write the post about the man cave and how it came to be.

Let me tell you a bit about my special man.  These are the traits that make him so endearing to me and why I fell in love with him. He’s very sentimental, witty and sarcastic, keeps me laughing all the time, and has a wonderful sense of family and how important family is to both of us.  That’s one reason why we are such a great fit for each other, we both have a deep appreciation for our family and where we came from.

He’s stable and steady, neat and (mostly) organized, he loves and appreciates our home and making it feel a certain way. Another reason why we are such a good fit. He doesn’t thrive on mediocre surroundings and wants to make our home the best it can be for us. So that means personalizing our home to fit our needs and preferences are key for us to enjoy our home to the max.  And we are doing that.  Mark has created his man cave to fit his needs and preferences, surrounding himself with things that feel good to him and he designed and decorated this room all on his own.

Welcome Mark to my blog and I’m hoping he’ll write more posts in the future.  Hopefully, Mark will be retiring by the end of next year and I would love for him to be more involved with me here on the blog, as we continue to beautify our house and personalize all the spaces to fit US.

I shared his man cave last October as he was working on it and now finally sharing the finished room, complete with Plantation shutters.  He loves his man cave!  I enjoy being in there too, it’s so cozy and we do watch football during the Fall as well as movies and Netflix in here very often.

Take it away, Mark! 

For quite some time now, my beautiful wife has been asking if I would allow her to do a blog on my man cave, or as I call it, “the brown room.”  I have been hesitant to let her as I did not know if I wanted it out there for all the world to see, but since everything we do is out there anyway, I thought, why not?  She then asked if I would write the blog myself!!!  Well, if that is what she wants, okay, cool…here goes.

I grew up in the Cascade Heights / Ben Hill area in southwest Atlanta in the early 60’s.  The homes in that area were large brick structures built in the early 20th century with high ceilings, beautiful mill work, big earthen basements and large walk in attics.  It was the attics where we would play on rainy days, with their high ceilings, angled walls, dormers and windows looking out into the huge oak trees that captured my imagination.  I never forgot them and was determined that someday I would have one.

Unfortunately, walk-in attic rooms pretty much disappeared from modern houses in Atlanta from the late 1950’s onward, as did high ceilings, elaborate millwork and unique floor plans.  Houses essentially became what I call, “boxes in a box.”  Boring and bland.  Then, around the 1980’s, builders began to build more unique floor plans, and something called, unfinished bonus rooms.  Then, things began to get a little more interesting as the boxes in the box were replaced by craftsman style homes and house designs began to once again resemble the houses I grew up in and around.

{notice the chair and loveseat?  Loveseat was mine, chair and ottoman was Mark’s….good fit together, huh?}

When we started our search for a house over a year ago, there were a few things I considered must haves.  They probably made our search more difficult than it had to be, but I was determined to have them.  I wanted a house with an interesting floor plan, a basement and a room I could turn into a man cave.

There is no telling how many houses we looked at and Rhoda patiently (most times), put up with me turning up my nose at house after house.  When we found our home in Acworth, we both knew it was the one.  It did not have a walk-in attic, but it did have a great bonus room over the garage (with a dormer) and it met all of my conditions.

{See The Making of a Man Cave for the before pics of this room!}

After we moved in, I began several projects which had to be completed before I could start on the cave, but my goal was to have it finished before the beginning of football season.  Now, if you are from the south you know there is only one kind of football…SEC football.  I know they play a type of football in other regions of the country, but God created the SEC on the 6th day according to Genesis and it is sacrilege to watch anything else…Roll Tide!!!

So, with the other projects completed and football nearly here, it was time to begin work on the cave.  I started by stripping all the molding off the windows and door frames, the kickboards (it’s what I call baseboards), removed the carpet, the closet door and the electrical switches.  After patching the sheetrock, I spent several hours laying on the wood sub-floor and planning out how I wanted it to look, what issues I could see would be a problem and where I should start.

I had already chosen a color for the room (I had used it before) and even though Rhoda was not quite on board with my selection, she let me have my way as this room was to be totally designed by me.  The color was a Khaki by Sherwin Williams and I like it because it seems to change colors as the light changes in the room, from a golden Khaki to a darker brown.

We then had our Shaw wood floors installed, and while it would have been nice to paint the room before they were put down, I did not have the chance to get in there first.  After covering the new floors, I began by painting the ceiling which would be the same color as the walls.  Now I do not mind painting (you just have to ignore all the cussing and complaining – it’s a man thing), but I detest painting ceilings as it kills my shoulders.  Once that job was completed and after a couple Advils, I moved onto the walls.

I then began cutting the bulkier trim molding to frame the windows and the doors.  Once that was done I cut the 6” kickboards.  I have never liked quarter round molding, so I used cove molding on the baseboards to match the woodwork I did downstairs.  Since I could not put my miter saw in the room (because of all the dust which I didn’t want to clean up later), I made scores of trips up and down the stairs and out to the garage.  I ended up with legs like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After the pieces were cut and numbered (so I could remember where they went), Rhoda would then put them on the sawhorses and give them all two coats of the white trim paint she had matched with the wood work downstairs.

After I installed the trim and filled the nail holes, they received one last coat of white paint and I took a long nap.

{long awaited Plantation shutters are finally up}

{Mark’s 4 daughters artwork from when they were children, oldest to youngest, bottom to top.  Told you he’s sentimental! And that’s another of his restored/rebuilt vintage lamps that Mark builds out of Art Deco lamp parts.}

I do not need a closet in this room, so I had already removed the door and took all the metal shelving down, patched the holes and then painted the walls and ceiling the same color as the rest of the room.  Rhoda was having some electrical work done in the kitchen by an electrician (I wasn’t touching those newly painted cabinets), so while he was here I had him install an outlet so I could use LED lights in my lawyer’s shelves (when I get the time to install them).  I then installed the same baseboard, cove moldings and door trim.  After much searching, we found a ceiling light that I like a lot at Home Depot and I installed it and a dimmer switch.  Dimmer switches are the bomb and I think every light should have one!

After searching on line for days, I finally found the ceiling fan I was looking for at Lowes and installed it along with new white switches.  Now to refresh the receptacles.

A little trick I learned a long time ago after removing and rewiring a whole house of yellowish receptacles, was to use wall plate covers that cover the complete socket from Home Depot.  You just remove the old plate and put the new one over the sockets and viola, brand new white sockets… no rewiring!  They carry them at Home Depot, saving me a lot of time and trips to the basement to switch the circuit breaker on and off.

{Here’s a link to the wall plates, you can click on the pictures to see how they install.}

{inside the closet}

Once the room was finished, I re-installed the blinds (it would be a while before I got the plantation shutters I wanted) and began to move my furniture in.  The crown jewel was the 70” flat screen television.  Now Rhoda was concerned that the tv was too big for the room…uh-uh…no way.  There is an old saying among men, “You can’t have too much horsepower and you can’t ever have a big enough tv screen.”  After the first game, she quickly became a convert.

{rug from Shaw Floors, Total Effects in Truffle.  I was a brand ambassador with them last year and they sponsored all our new engineered hardwood flooring, including stair runner and this rug.}

Oh, did anyone notice the really nice, herringbone carpet from Shaw (I like herringbone)?  Initially, I wanted the room carpeted because I like to lay on the floor, but Rhoda persuaded me it would be better to put wood down in every room and she would get the herringbone carpet as a rug instead.  Shaw graciously agreed to have it bound for me and boy, was she right again.

{part of Mark’s watercolor collection in his man cave, his two favorite buildings in NYC and yes, they are Art Deco inspired as well.}

So, I now have a place for all my collectibles and doodads, including the Art Deco lamps I make and of course, my glass.  Now Rhoda wanted me to mention that I collect glass vases and chargers.

This, for some reason, being “unusual” for a man!  What…why…I don’t get it?  Nevertheless, I began collecting them because of my fondness for Art Deco which I acquired from furnishings in my grandparents’ houses.

I ran across a vase by Val Saint Lambert on Ebay years ago, from the Luxval series, that was only produced in the 1930’s in Belgium.  After I purchased one and began to research the line more closely, I was hooked and began to collect them, as well as, other manufacturers from that period.  They are not expensive or rare, but are beautifully designed and very pleasing to the eye.

We found an old style cabinet to house them in and I upgraded it with LED lights and finished the back with beadboard and molding to make it look not so rustic.  Farmhouse is definitely not my style.  I also collect original water color paintings thanks to my late cousin Keith, who was an incredibly gifted artist with water colors.  I prefer winter scenes by unknown artists, that seem to capture the feeling of winter (my favorite season).

The Beatles poster was given to me by my mother the week The Beatles came to Atlanta. She saw it at Walgreens for a dollar. It hung on my bedroom door for years before I rolled it up and put it away. Several years ago I dug it out of the closet and had it framed. I still enjoy looking at it!

Rhoda has been incredibly accommodating in incorporating my eclectic collection into her decorating schemes in the rest of the house, but the man cave is where they really shine.  With the addition of the leather love seat, chair and ottoman (and now I finally have my Plantation Shutters installed), the room is complete.

She is an incredibly gifted decorator/designer and all ‘round wonderful person and every room in our house reflects her gifts.  I am so blessed to have her in my life and to be a part of hers and I LOVE HER.  And, she knows how to use tools, and she knows how to paint…wow!  What’s not to love?

So, that ends the tale of the Man Cave and my foray into blogdom.  Hope you enjoyed it and now I return control of your screen to Rhoda.

Didn’t you love that??  I knew you all would love hearing from Mark and I hope I can convince him to do more blog posts with me, so please leave lots of comments and tell him how much you enjoyed this post! 

- Rhoda


  1. Karen Pilie says:

    Hey, Rhoda and Mark! I love the room, especially the cabinet displaying the glass. Very nice! There is only one little thing I see that could be changed! It should be War Eagle!!! 😉😄 I see Parker is having a wonderful time with you two!

  2. I’m catching up on my blog reading and just read your post.

    Love your man cave Mark. Thanks to your lovely bride, I am in the process of dyeing my tan/caramel living room furniture dark brown. Will be very similar to your man cave furniture. Ha
    We have plantation shutters throughout our house here in Tuscaloosa AL!
    You are correct, Nothing beats SEC football and the Crimson Tide!
    Roll Tide!

  3. I can’t believe I didn’t know about the wall plate covers – what a great solution to covering off-color outlets!!! Definitely going to look for these – thanks for the tip. The room looks comfy and inviting, although Big Ten football reigns haha (Go Blue).

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