DIY Man Cave Transformation

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Hubs spent over 2 years renovating our basement in his spare time. Being that our basement is small, we split up the basement between three functions: a craft studio, laundry room and a mancave. However, I took the majority of the space for my studio. Not very magnanimous of me given that he built every single bit of it himself – single handedly (with the exception of pouring a new basement floor).

Building our DIY Man Cave

Other than pouring a new floor, he did EVERY SINGLE BIT! He did the framing, electrical….

….and insulation:

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

He installed potlights:

Since Hub used this manual lift to put up the drywall, the drywall went pretty quick. Not only does it go fast, it will save your back if you ever do drywall so don’t do it without a lift!

And if you’re like us and take care of your equipment, you can purchase it new and then resell it for almost as much as you paid – not too shabby!

Drywall Finish

Hubs did all the mudding to a ‘level 5’ finish. In all honesty, I wanted to hire out the finish work to give him a break. But he’s such a perfectionist and knew that no one would complete it to his standard.

In the end, he was right. After checking it out, I can attest that once the walls were sanded and primed, they were as smooth as a baby’s bottom! In fact, even the best contractor couldn’t have done better!

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

Flooring for DIY Man Cave

After the walls were done, he started on the floor. In order to acclimate all the wood, he used the mancave as a staging area.

With all the wood in the mancave, he completed the laundry room and studio first. Here you can see the flooring extending from those rooms into the mancave. Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodelWe choose an engineered fumed oak hardwood; perfect for a basement because it can withstand some dampness and won’t warp. Because of the potential for moisture from the slab, the blue dimpled membrane underneath protects the flooring and keeps it warm underfoot.

Before the install, Hubs cut 1/2″ deep MDF wedges to put against the wall, providing an expansion gap. Then he applied some glue into the groove of each board and then tapped them into the tongue side of the boards with a mallet and special block tool.

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

Every few rows, the boards get taped together with blue tape to prevent shifting until it’s done.

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

He then used whatever heavy objects we could find to weigh the hardwood down while it dried; even my antique iron collection got pulled into service (against the far wall).

Adding Baseboard

Finally, the last step of construction was to add baseboard trim to cover the expansion gaps against the walls. Again he staged everything in the mancave, covering up the walls and floors with cardboard first to protect them from the dust.

The baseboard was cut initially to length with the chop saw but then hubs used a coping saw to get tight joints in the corners. The baseboard went in without to much trouble in every room except the mancave: on the long wall, there was a sizable gap between the floor and baseboard:

To fix the gap, he scribed along the bottom of the baseboard to transfer the curve of the floor, then sanded it off with a belt sander. Because of that little glitch, it took a little extra time, but now you can’t tell there was ever a gap.

Media Centre for the DIY Man Cave

When the basement was nearing completion, Hubs designed an Ikea media centre for the TV. The boxes sat in our hallway until he was ready to install.

With the help of a laser level mounted on the opposite wall, he assembled the media centre in the mancave and installed it.

Here you can see the beam of light along the top that the laser level produces. He filled that space in with glass display cabinets, which you’ll see in the reveal later. Coupled with using a regular level, he was able get all the components level and plumb.

DIY Man Cave Before and Afters

Although it’s a small space, to fully appreciate the completed mancave, I’m providing before and after pictures of each view.

To start with, this is the electrical panel:

When we added an additional pony panel plus WiFi, the electrical panel doubled in size.

BEFORE

Man Cave Decor

All in all, the electrical panel placement is the one thing that didn’t get planned very well; it’s off centre to the sofa (see a bit more about that here).

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

AFTER: Electrical panel still needs better artwork. Hubs can’t decide.

Hubs built a frame around the panel to hold a still yet to be determined picture to hide the electrical (the one shown is temporary). Once he makes up his mind, we’ll put up some additional pictures on the wall to balance the frame.

In choosing decor for the man cave, we got creative with upcycling. For storage, Hubs got an old filing cabinet from his brother and resprayed it.

He chose a beautiful celedon green to match an ikea light fixture he bought for his desk area. For more about the makeover of the filing cabinet, click here.

For the desk, he’s using the hoosier table from our wedding (more about our kitchen themed wedding here).

When he’s not busy renovating, he collects stamps as a hobby so the desk will come in handy for that.

Lastly, for the other side of the couch, he built himself a pipe side table to hold the remote control holder I made him. With that in place, he can now chillax and have his remotes at his fingertips; no one deserves a little R&R more than him after all the work his put into our basement!

Here’s a view from the mancave looking at the entry to my craft studio.

BEFORE

Pocket Doors

Hubs built me double pocket doors to get my projects in and out more easily. We decorated the entry with a restored kerosene gas heater from his collection).

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

Entry to the Craft Studio showing one piece from collection of restored kerosene heaters

The TV wall of the man cave shares a wall with my craft room but the insulation in the wall helps keep each room quiet.

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

View from the sofa

Here’s a view of the TV wall….

BEFORE

…and the same view with the finished media centre. The tower on the right side adds ample closed storage.

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

Media centre in DIY man cave

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

Storage room for the TV and a tall bank of storage on the end for stamp collection.

Vintage Decor

The upper glass cabinets are great for display. Right now they are housing an old punch clock and sewing machine, but these will likely get rotated with other interesting finds as time goes on.

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

Here a picture showing the full the width of the DIY man cave in its original dark and dank state:

BEFORE

Now it’s bright and welcoming!

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

AFTER. The rug adds a touch of coziness. The La-Z-Boy sofa reclines and has extendable foot rests.

The La-Z-boy is just beckoning for my husband to be a Lazy Boy too!

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

Potlights on dimmers; adjustable for movie watching.

For now, we’ll call our unfinished basement man cave complete! As with all our projects, we’ll live with it for a while before we decide if it needs further accessorization (with the exception of the remote control holder of course!). For now, it’s pared down and perfect for kicking back in!

Can a Man Cave Add Value?

We added over 700 square feet of usable space to our small home by renovating the basement. In light of that, our finished basement will add about a 70% return on investment if we ever sell our home. However, you just can’t put a dollar value on the enjoyment factor a finished basement space can add. Now Hubs has a space to relax and pursue some of his hobbies. To us, that’s priceless.

Next up, over the next few months, I’ll be posting how-to’s for installing all the finishing details you saw here today including how to achieve a level 5 drywall finish, installing baseboards and the best way to lay enginereed flooring in a basement.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share 🙂

Our DIY man cave project was a long time coming. Today we reveal how we transformed our basement space along with some basement man cave ideas. Birdz of a Feather | man cave basement | man cave diy | man cave room | basement ideas | basement remodelling | basement remodel | basement renovations | basement makeover | basement DIY remodel

Basement Water Leak

As soon as he was done, I really believed that hubs would l be taking a LOOOOOONG break from any major renovations for a quite a while, but it was not meant to be. Unfortunately, soon after our basement makeover was done, my craft studio sprang a leak due to unforeseen circumstances.

As you can see below, everything had to be moved into the mancave so hubs could complete the repairs!  What a mess! I’m going to leave you with this disturbing shot of what it looked like all spring and summer. But rest assured that we’re back on track again and I’ll have a very informative post on what to do when there’s a water leak in your finished basement.

It could have been much worse. All I’ll say for now is that we planned for just about every eventuality but one! Okay, I’ll say two things: it’s a good thing we used that dimpled membrane under our hardwood floors :). You can read more about our water leak and how we fixed it if you’re curious. We also wrote a guide on how to prevent mold after a water leak.

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28 thoughts on “DIY Man Cave Transformation

  1. Your husband did a great job on his room.
    Question: How is the window size even legal? Does it meet code for an emergency egress? Is covering and hiding the electrical panel legal?

    • Thanks MKO. I don’t believe you need an egress window unless someone is actually living down there (for example, if we have built a bedroom). The electrical panel is already covered by a metal door and is rececessed into an extra deep wall (my husband doubled up the studs) so it’s perfectly safe 🙂

  2. Is there a chance I could hire him to do a mancave for my husband in our basement? He sure did an amazing job! And I bet you love your new studio as well!!

  3. I look at this beautiful work and it makes want to cry. Cry because no amount of money can buy the love, the perfection that went into the making. Your husband is a gem. I am so happy for you both.

  4. Your husband did a fantastic job (and you as well). My most favorite part is your beautiful floor and, of course, the walls. Great job!! Long ago, when we were young, my husband also finished our basement. Between his job and raising 4 little ones, it took 7 years, but the end result was well worth it!

    • Thanks Ritalu. That’s amazing that your husband stuck with it for 7 years with such a busy life; I bet it’s beautiful too 🙂

  5. I think there is confusion on wall color – BM Kendall Charcoal is a dark gray color?? This wall color looks MUCH lighter than Kendall Charcoal, to me.

    • Oops – sorry about that; I’m so used to readers asking me about the gray colour in our power room that it’s force of habit! The colour is Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist – OC 27

  6. I saw your post on Hometalk and had to come over to your blog to see the rest of the pics and what unforeseen travesty occurred! Thank goodness the whole basement didn’t flood! I feel bad that you ended up with a leak after so much work! Your husband is a wonderful man! Thank you for sharing with us!

    • You’re welcome Katherine and thanks for coming over!

      Yes, it could have been much worse; I’ll have more to share on how we went about investigating the cause of the leak and fixing it so I hope you’ll come back to visit again.

      My husband certainly is wonderful; I’m a lucky girl 🙂

  7. What a transformation, Sara! Your husband has some mad skills, and a heart of gold. My dad was a stamp collector too. I made some of his stamps into a table top a few years ago. It’s one of my favorite pieces. I wonder if you can find bulk postage stamps to create a piece of art for his mancave? Just a thought.

    He’s thought of everything. I love the details you provide as it’s fun for me to imagine all the steps along the way. My gosh, what patience. It’s beautiful.

    As for the flood, I can’t imagine the let down after all that work. I hope things are coming back together nicely.

    • I love your idea about the stamps; I’ll have to be on the lookout for a bulk buy 🙂

      The craft studio is all put back together (and my husband has his space back too), but I’m organizing once again. I’ve even done some redecorating and replaced the shabby chic dresser I had (will be posting about its replacement soon 🙂

  8. Sara what a great transformation. The space is now useful and beautiful. The flooring in the mancave is fantastic. I think mine has a lot more problems than yours. But I sure enjoy looking at your lovely space.

    • Thanks Mary – you found the floating flooring I’ll be writing about soon. You’re right that there’s a lot more to consider when you’re starting with an already finished space, but if you break it down into stages it’s still a manageable DIY project 🙂

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