Redecorating The Study, Rebranding The Man Cave

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.

The Glasses and Bar Ware Shelf

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?

About Me: Five Favourite Paintings

I’ve been writing this blog seriously for well over a year now, so maybe its time we got to know each other a little better, as I have said before, I don’t know a lot about art but I do know what I like, so here are some of my favourite paintings

The Lady Of Shalott – John William Waterhouse

The Lady of Shalott 1888 by John William Waterhouse 1849-1917

The Scream- Edvard Munch


Flagellation of Christ- Piero della Francesca


Whaam!- Roy Lichtenstien


The Birth Of Venus- Sandro Botticelli


30 Before Thirty (Comics & Graphic Novels)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the Comics and Graphic Novels that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

Grant Morrison’s 18 Days


Camelot 3000


Miracle Man: A Dream Of Flying


All Star Superman 


Preacher: Gone To Texas


The Crow


Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes


Alan Moore’s: Saga of The Swamp Thing


Marvel 1602


Saga: Volume 1


 The Order: Die Mensch Machine

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The Complete Scarlet Traces 

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Button Man




Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow 


The Infinity Gauntlet 


Amazing Spider-man: Kravens Last Hunt


Promethea Book 1 


Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus 




Son Of Superman 


Hellblazer: Original Sins 


The Authority: Relentless 

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Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction 


Doctor Who: Emperor Of The Daleks

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Death: The High Cost Of Living  


JSA The Liberty Files 


Alice In Sunderland 


Daredevil Yellow


The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch


How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

30 Before I’m Thirty (Films)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the films that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

How Green Was My Valley 


Gentleman’s Agreement


From Here to Eternity


Gone With The Wind


Cat On A Hot Tin Roof


West Side Story


Lawrence of Arabia


Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf


Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner


Funny Girl


Fiddler On The Roof


All The Presidents Men




Kramer Vs Kramer


Terms of Endearment 


The Cider House Rules


An Education


The Wolf Of Wall Street


Guardians of the Galaxy 2


Moonrise Kingdom


Saving Private Ryan


Going In Style 


Wall Street


King Ralph


Planes Trains and Automobiles


O Brother, Where Art Thou?


The Monuments Men


Good Will Hunting


Good Morning Vietnam 


This Is Spinal Tap


How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

I Don’t Know A Lot About Art, But I Know How To Bluff: Part Three

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Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s. Arguably the most famous of impressionist painters is Claude Monet.

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Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau  is an international style of art and architecture a that was most popular between 1890 and 1910 A reaction to the academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers.

La tournee du chat noir avec rodolphe salis by Theophile Steinlen 


Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. This gave way to artists such as Edvard Munch,  Matthias Grünewald and El Greco.

The Scream By Edvard Munch

Pop Art 

Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s in Britain and the late 1950s in the United States. Among the early artists that shaped the pop art movement were Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton in Britain, and Larry Rivers, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns among others in the United States. Pop art presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as advertising and news. In pop art, material is sometimes visually removed from its known context, isolated, and/or combined with unrelated material. Some of the more popular artists of the movement include Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein

Whaam! By Roy Lichtenstein

Hopefully this little guide will help you bluff your way through countless conversations about art, because this is literally all I know, I’m the only person I know to get an F in GCSE art, but that could be because the teacher didn’t like me, and god knows the feeling was mutual.

I Don’t Know A Lot About Art, But I Know How To Bluff: Part Two

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In the visual arts, Romanticism first showed itself in landscape painting, where from as early as the 1760s British artists began to turn to wilder landscapes and storms, and Gothic architecture, this movement began to fade out by the 1850’s and gave us artists like Francisco Goya, Eugène Delacroix, J. M. W. Turner

Modern Rome- JMW Turner


Realism is the precise, detailed and accurate representation in art of the visual appearance of scenes and objects it was popular from the 1830’s-1870’s artists of the style include: Jules Breton, Édouard Manet, Gustave Courbet.

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Luncheon In The Studio- Edouard Manet



The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (later known as the Pre-Raphaelites) was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The three founders were joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner to form the seven-member “brotherhood”. Their principles were shared by other artists, including Marie Spartali Stillman and Ford Madox Brown. A later, medievalising strain inspired by Rossetti included Edward Burne-Jones and extended into the twentieth century with artists such as John William Waterhouse.

John William Waterhouse- The Lady Of Shalott

Stay tuned for more of what I don’t know about Art. Part Three tomorrow.

I Don’t Know A Lot About Art, But I Know How To Bluff: Part One

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Late 13th-Late 16th centuries: Coming out of central Europe it gave us artists such as  Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, men who inspired the term “Renaissance man”.

Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa


Ranged from the 1500’s to the 1800’s and was responsible for artists such as Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Angelica Kauffman and  Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

Ingres- Oedipus and the Sphinx


Rococo was more of a design movement than an artistic one, it came about in France around about 1720-1780, its influence can be felt on the art world through artists such as Thomas Gainsborough and Antoine Watteau.

The Embarkation For Cythera By Antoine Watteau

Stay tuned for more of what I don’t know about Art. Part two tomorrow.