Who would have thought that my man is so susceptible to advertising? When I picked up a paint swatch for our basement accent wall that was called “Man Cave”, he was all of a sudden so set on using that color even though it was way darker and brownish than what we were looking for. He also bought dog snacks for his parent’s dogs just because they are called “Milo’s Kitchen”. Just name things something that are meaningful to him, and he will buy them.

But side notes aside – this post is about the preliminary finished status of our big basement makeover. Here is a quick reminder of what it used to look like and the plans we had for it:

And here is the for-now-final result:

This project was really more Lincoln’s than mine, since I was getting too pregnant to help with any laborious work, he spends way more time down there anyway, and wanted it to become his very own man cave. A space where he can make the manlier design choices and that is totally technically geared up. So all I had to do was motivating him to get things done before baby arrives, help to strip down some wall paper, and moderate his design just a little bit.

 

Preparation

The wall paper removal and painting was the more tedious and painful part, but we had a pretty good system down (learned from the guest room makeover) and managed to finish it within two weeks (working on it almost every evening). For the walls we chose a light grey that was supposed to be color-matched to the guest bedroom walls, but turned out a little darker and blueish. Oh well, close enough for now. Therefore the darker accent wall also had to have a blueish grey undertone. We chose “Iron Frame” from Valspar and had it successfully color matched to Olympic No-VOC.

Before painting however, we had to add some more outlets to the room. There had been only three accessible outlets so far and they were both overloaded by numerous computer and TV components. This required Lincoln to take down the bottom half of one basement wall board, but the good news was that this extra step enabled us to inspect insulation levels and we were also relieved to find no mold or other moistures issues in the basement even though both our neighbors’ basement had been flooded recently.

Lincoln also added wiring for the future surround sound movie theater setup he has envisioned and laid the cables for that behind the baseboards around the room.

 

Furniture and Features

We bought all new furniture (except for the desk) from IKEA and the couch was a sale item from a local furniture store.

  • This couch was a total score and is super comfy with memory foam, dual recliners, and all.

 

  • We also concealed our messy storage shelf for all office and hobby related items. Considering the limited time and energy we had for this project we did not create a real built in closet as originally planned, but hung up a simple curtain solution from IKEA to make the mess disappear when needed.

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  • Lincoln bought himself this long-wanted dart board cabinet. I am still trying to convince Lincoln to paint this thing the same blue-grey color as the accent wall to make it look less country.

 

  • This vintage red Vinyl chair was a find at Goodwill. It even has a storage compartment in the seat – just to my liking. You can never have enough storage space.

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  • One of the long IKEA Expedit book cases with boxes to house Milo’s toys. They are now organized by similarity and the labels I cut out of sticky felt indicate even to illiterate little toddlers which toys to find in which box and in which one they need to be put back in. Eventually I might add some cushions on top of it for additional seating.

 

  • A smaller play table. Yes, that’s right, I finally sold that big hunk of ugly orange laminate train table. This little one provides enough space for drawing, building block houses, and driving cars on it while fitting in much nicer. Whenever I get to it I will add some table toppings for different activities. Maybe a thin chalk board, a lego base plate, a traffic pattern, or other ideas as seen on this pin board. The trains are now being set up on the floor whenever needed and we can create much larger configurations.

 

  • Also, check out these cool baskets made out of woven recycled newspaper ads from China. They are nicely speckled and colorful to bring in some pop. And they fit perfectly into our side tables to hold magazines, remotes, etc.¬†And yes, it totally bothers the color perfectionist in me how the purplish blue of the toy bins does not match anymore with how the grey-blue paint of the wall turned out. But I will not spend any more money right now, so suck it up, Nicola.

 

  • Lincoln’s desk remained as the only old piece of furniture, but was upgraded with a self-made hutch and a giant contraption to hold his two monitors, before it moved to a more suitable location on the short wall by the laundry room.


For now the furniture arrangement is still focused on the TV, but it will change a little bit once the home theatre including projector and big screen will be implemented. The sofa will then move to the large light grey wall in the back, and the screen will go up above the toy bench.

 

Art

The color scheme for the basement is quite different from our upstairs. Much brighter, colorful, and saturated. And there is even some red involved – my so not favorite color. But what can I say … the basement is a whole different zone. A man cave. And it is manly enough to be able to handle some red.

After deciding on a blueish grey backdrop of the walls, some more color was definitely called for and we found inspiration in these pictures painted by Milo:

The red, orange, and yellow, make for a nice contrast to the cool blue. I also used one of Milo’s paintings for this first official piece of man cave art:

Just use a kids painting (ideally let them use only three colors, otherwise everything will turn brown eventually), put it in the printer, print some outlines on it, cut them out, and glue on a wood board from the IKEA As-Is section. This board cost me only $1 and the fish were free. See, I couldn’t have painted such a completely random pattern on the fish even if I tried.

We will definitely need lots and lots more of some cool art for the huge amount of walls down there.

Maybe arranged like this photoshopped vision:

With some cool art from this website.

 

Future Plans

Still missing and on the definite list to be done:

  • Improve the lighting situation. The current ceiling fixtures are still too dim and in impossible locations.
  • Get some lamps for the side tables for moody lighting when no complete illumination is needed.

 

Phew, our biggest project yet. So glad to be done for now.