house post

House Post: Dawn of the Man Cave

I don’t have anything like a coherent write-up for you, sorry. But I will share a before and an in-progress photo of the current project that is taking up all my free time: the conversion of a weird back room of the house to a man cave for my husband.

(I already have an office and a library/craft room, so it’s only fair!)

Here is the before, from the real estate listing.

Oh, yes.
What are you looking at?
Let me make you a list: a cardboard fake-drop ceiling, fluorescent shop lights, faux-wood particle board paneling, the ugliest curtains you have ever seen, a GIANT bar (5′ deep, 4′ tall, 10′ wide), asbestos tiles, and utility carpet.


It’s 12×20, so not a small space, and it’s the room by which we enter the house – the door you can see just at the right edge of this photograph goes out to the back deck and to the driveway. It has until recently served as a sort of dumping ground. My husband put a lot of his stuff back there but since it also had no heat source it wasn’t a terribly useful or comfortable room.

So, what have we done to it?

That’s pretty much the same view, just zoomed out a little more, and centered instead of aimed left.

We have:
– torn out the old paneling and the sheetrock underneath and the crappy fiberglass insulation underneath that
– torn out the old ceiling
– cut out all the old shelving and the weird bar thing
– pulled up the old carpet
– picked up the old tile (yes, it’s asbestos; they are all intact, not crumbling, and were no longer glued to the floor. I picked them up carefully with gloves and a respirator, double-bagged them, and consulted with the local waste management district on a hazardous waste disposal plan)
– pulled out the old fluorescent lighting
– replaced the old insulation with Roxul for a higher R-value, added an extra layer of insulation to the ceiling
– put up a vapor barrier (nonexistent before)
– dropped (most of) the outlets from the middle of the wall to the floor (you can see them if you squint)
– added recessed lighting to the ceiling
– replaced the old sheetrock with new

Still to do:
– finish sealing off the window & door frames with foam
– remove the staples from the ceiling strapping, put up vapor barrier, put up sheetrock
– mud and paint everything
– replace the flooring; currently deciding between carpet and tile w/ area rugs
– reframe windows & door
– decide on a heat source: space heater? baseboard electric? extend the radiator system?
– furnishing; we will need a pull out loveseat and a dry bar

LONG term still to do:
– insulate the floor; this is part of the godawful crawlspace project that I am trying to pretend doesn’t need to be done but really will have to be on the schedule for next summer, ugh.

Total time elapsed so far: about 4 weeks; maybe about 7 solid days of work within those weeks.

I have lots of process pictures so in weeks to come I’ll go into more details about the pieces of this project. I hope (?) that by January we will have a finished space.

2 thoughts on “House Post: Dawn of the Man Cave

  1. Aren't previous home owners weird? I'm so glad you get to re-do that space and make it work for you. When we moved in about 6 years ago there was literally a dirt pit in the middle of the floor, right underneath the skylight by the kitchen/family room. Apparently it was an atrium and had woodchips in it. So odd! And this is termite country! 6ish years later. . . we're still doing projects. It never ends.


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