One of my big projects for this year has been the redecoration of the man cave which I’m looking to rebrand as the study. Why the rebrand you ask? Well I don’t know why but lately I’ve began to feel as though the term man cave is a little childish, it reeks of someone who hasn’t outgrown the frat house and is a bit reminiscent of a child’s play room, at least in connotation.
It was a much bigger task than I originally envisioned, to begin with I thought I would just put a lick of paint on the walls, get some new chairs and then maybe tart up the bookcases a bit. Whilst I did all of these things it all involved a lot more work than I ever imagined.
Firstly lets have a look at the before pictures:
As you can see some pretty basic billy bookcases from Ikea, pretty uninspired, just literally there to hold books, and a few nick knacks. But basically lacking in an real flair, and as for the rest of the room, there was hideous brown carpet, and an even more hideous and somehow more brown lamp shade, and four years and a few different sofa’s later I was sick of the sight of the room. So this was one of the goals that I had for the year was to redecorate it in a style that truly reflected my personality and the things I like.
It may not surprise anyone who knows me, but I drew a lot of inspiration for the new study from Downton Abbey, and the gentlemen’s clubs of the 1920’s the red, gold and white colour scheme was taken from the Octagon Drawing Room and the library at Basildon Park.
I also took a fair pinch of inspiration from the National Library of the Czech Republic in Prague.
In order to get the colour scheme I wanted I took a trip to B & Q and came out with 12 cans of Rustoleum Gold Spray Paint to take care of the book cases, the radiator and the panelling on the doors, I also got a can of white Dulex Gloss to do all the woodwork, skirting boards and to paint the coving on the ceiling. and last but not least I managed to paint the room with a single tin of B & Q’s own Fulham emulsion. After getting all this painting done the bookcases still didn’t quite look the way that I had pictured so I used 12 rolls of D-C-Fix’s self adhesive vinyl to coat (both sides) of each individual shelf on 8 bookcases (thats 72 shelves top and bottom, coated with fiddly sticky vinyl). Once the painting and vinyl was done and my back had recovered from sitting on the floor applying all that vinyl, it was time to star with the soft furnishings.
I Went straight to Ebay to buy 2 oxblood wing back fire side chairs, in the style of a gentlemen’s club, and globe shaped drinks trolley of the kind that I’ve always wanted. This was complimented by not one but two rugs as I didn’t want the hassle of recarpeting completely and couldn’t decide which one to go for.
This was all complimented by a few other little touches like mouldings and hanging one of my prize possessions.
And then topped off with a new light shade, this is actually one of the things I paid no heed to at all until my wife said to me, “are you going to replace that light shade”, at which point I think I looked at the light shade for the first time ever and couldn’t unsee this hideous brown thing. So given that the my ceiling is far too low for the chandelier that I’ve always wanted, and having been hit in the head with a chandelier before (during a production of the phantom of the opera no less), so this is why I settled for something red and vintage looking from B and M bargains.
Its pretty much done now, I have a few other minor things to do to the place, like fitting some Venetian blinds, some new door handles and a light switch, maybe getting some drawers fitted on the bookcases and a frame for that picture of me and Marianna. The other slightly more ambitious thing that I may try at a later date is fixing a false front onto the shelf being used for glasses, made to look like a bookcase full of books.
Of course the other thing that the room is apparently missing is an ornate ceiling fresco, this was made apparent to me this afternoon, when finding pictures of Basildon Park and the National Museum in Prague, Marianna asked why doesn’t my man cave (she hasn’t gotten into the habit of calling the room a study), why doesn’t my man cave have a pretty picture on the ceiling, so apparently now I have to commission a renaissance painter to put something up there. Anyone have Michelangelo’s mobile number?