DIY: the ManSpace, Den & Wine Bar

Jim's dream had always been to have a simple ManCave with a big screen TV, thick green shag carpeting (like Graceland), a Lazy-Z-Boy recliner, and two lowboy refrigerators for end tables.

I would not be allowed in there to do any decorating. To clean? Maybe.

Well it's still just a dream, because the den space in our house is just off the foyer, 100% visible from the living area. So we compromised.

Jim's James Bond 007 photo provided inspiration for a more sophisticated space and the wine bar was his idea too. I gained a second kitchen pantry when the wine moved out.

How we did it...

Here are the details of just about everything that went into the space. Scroll down the page for info on how we "built" it.

Faux Walls & Panelling

The faux suede walls are the most popular feature of the room with women. Ralph Lauren Suede paint, 2 coats applied exactly according to Ralph's instructions.

  • Pioneer's Mesa (SU82) on the walls
  • Faux panels colors are Plaza Blanca (SU 51) and Cordova Cream (SU 59); one shade as the base and the other as the second coat
  • Anyone, with time and patience, can do this faux finish - one of the simplest I've done

Other surfaces: Sherwin Williams paint

  • Trim & cabinetry, Alabaster, latex semi gloss (SW 7008)
  • Ceiling and inside of closet painted by builder: Navajo White, flat (SW6126)

Furnishings & Accessories


The photo at left shows the layout of the den space during construction, from the foyer. It's 12 1/2' x 14' with a useless 13" bumpout along half of the left wall.

Before the transformation, two sets of big white doors, at the entry and closet, dominated the space.

My plan was to use lots of white woodwork to unify the space with the doors, running it around the room. This also allowed me to drop simple rope lighting behind the crown molding for a beautiful effect at night.

A year before we started this project, we ripped out the original carpeting and installed the wide plank wood floor.

Construction Zone

Day 1: After a trip to Home Depot, Jim started building the plywood boxes that form the guts of the cabinetry. This was our second project doing built-ins.

Day 2: We went granite remnant shopping, just like they do on HGTV. We found this small slab at our second stop, Continental Granite & Marble in Bunnell, FL.

Their crew came out to make templates and later delivered and installed two countertops for us.

We got a much more exotic granite for 40% less than the standard patterns offered by the home center chains, and we still got the dealer's full service.

There's a reason people hire TV installers

Jim hung the TV before the wine bar was anchored permanently in place by the granite installers.

We never anticipated how hard it would be. It took him half a day to get the TV hung, perfectly centered inside the panel (that one semester of engineering in college must have helped after all.)

I ran all the cables behind the wall to the cable box hidden in the lower left display cabinet. Wine fridge slides out for cord access.

The TV works perfectly and I love how it floats over the bar. But then again, I'm a flat panel TV junkie.

Finishing Touches

Our custom wine bar consists of a Kitchenaid wine cooler between 2 wine grid bases from Pottery Barn. The granite countertop completes the built-in effect.

If there was one thing we'd do differently, it would be the way we installed the mirrors. But they look fine now - the one on the right took over an hour just to fit it in the space, due to my slight measuring error. Measure twice, cut once, is especially important when it comes to mirrors.

Finishing the space after all the construction took much more time than I thought it would. Just touching up white after painting brown was a big job.

Office in a Closet

The final area in need of a woman's touch was the closet. We love and did all our closets ourselves using their high quality organizers. I designed the system for the office to be flexible: We can convert the right side to double hanging space in the event we need to use the room for guests.

When the shelving was in,  I went to work organizing after a trip to Target and Staples. While he was out playing golf, his clutter miraculously came under control, and he has maintained the neatness. Thank you, Mission Organization, for the inspiration.

The Reveal

It's fun to see the reactions of friends who saw the room before and now see it finished. Like on HGTV when you can tell the homeowners never peaked. People are pretty amazed.

I have to say it turned out just as I envisioned it back when I did the drawing. I know we saved a ton of money and got exactly what we wanted. And the satisfaction of doing it ourselves is priceless.