Monday, November 9, 2015

Baby Steps on a Foggy Night: A Few Steps Backward

 We crammed a chair and table into the Jeep and took off for the foggy mountain, hoping that more furniture would tame the cavernous man cave, but the opposite happened.
First, we dried off in the mud room, which is cute as a button.

After a bit of shuffling, I moved the blue and white Dhurrie onto the screened porch. The rug is very white out here, too, but somehow the mood is a better fit. I just pulled a few chairs together (I was too lazy to move the blue rug pad) for now.


Then it was time to attack the man cave.
I am a little flummoxed by ye ole man-sized bar. It cries out for tartan and pub food.


Bandwidth brought up the chair and table. In my mind's eye, I thought these pieces would warm up the space, but the additions felt like a backslide. The gargantuan room makes everything look like doll furniture.

I love the penguin pillow, though.

Oh, what's the problem? While I like the flow of traffic--and I like how the focal points (bar and pool table) aren't hidden by a furniture grouping--something feels . . . off.


I'm thinking that the designer from the catalog store was right--the room can handle two large sofas.

In the left photo, you can see how the previous owner furnished this zone: Two sofas, two chairs, large coffee table, TV (not pictured).
The right photo: less furniture, less comfort, more zen, and ultra diminutive.

I plan to try 2 more arm chairs that I've had since 1990; I painted and recovered them in 2008.
They may work near the fireplace, but I'll try them with the sofa, too.


The problem may be scale--comfort is another issue. The men in my life don't like armchairs when they're binge-watching Homeland. My husband, who was a Saint Bernard dog in his other life, asked how long the prissy blue stuff was staying.

If he's buying, I'm almost ready to pull the trigger and buy a sectional--something like this. Of course, the fabric isn't Saint Bernard friendly, but it's great for Living Big and Man-Sized Lolling.
Sawyer Linen 2-pc. Sofa/Loveseat Sectional

Serene Surroundings - Shop This Room >


Do you have any ideas about the man cave? One sofa? Two? A sectional? Or wait.

When the man cave thwarts and confabulates, I like to hang out in the kitchen. The night-time view is the main reason that I opted for French doors. 

I love the view at night . . . 


. . . and in the daylight, too.

If I can find a few strong men, I will put the man cave's sisal in the dining room, along with the reclaimed wood table and Frenchy chairs.

First, I'll take an imaginary step.

48 comments:

  1. I am in love with your new house and ALL that space! I think a sectional would be great in that room--especially considering the function. Love your view at night, too:-) Oh the fun you are having!

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  2. This room is a challenge for sure. You need bigger rugs- I think the smaller rugs force the furniture into too small of groupiings and add to the room's large feeling. Sectionals are great although they limit your options in case you like to shift things around. Two sofas made into an L shape can offer a lot of seating but also allow you to split them into a different positions if desired. Maybe the guys deserve a pair of large leather chairs with ottomans, and you can have the sofa's in lighter colors as you desire. I can see why you like that nighttime view!

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  3. oh that view, it's breathtaking!! I think you couldn't go wrong with the 2 sofas, makes it so much easier to change things up. I love the comfort of a sectional, but sometimes it's too close for comfort. After all the hard work, you're on to the really fun part!

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    1. I had forgotten about the closeness factor. Many years ago, my DH had a sectional in his bachelor pad, and at parties, people didn't exactly line up like parakeets--they opted for breathing room. Thanks for reminding me of that! I'm ruling out a sectional.

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  4. I vote for two sofas as well. It's easy to change it up either L shape or across from each other. I also vote for a pair of nice leather chairs with ottomans. Comfort is going to be important in this room it it's where your guys are going to hang out. Myself, I'd be parked in that kitchen with the fabulous view! Wow!!!
    I know this will all come together for you, and it will be amazing. You have excellent taste and style sense. Trust yourself!

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    1. Sarah, I agree about the 2 sofas, especially in this space. And the leather chairs would be handsome and comfortable.

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  5. Hi Michael Lee, I have a huge comfy sectional in our big room...yes, that's what we call this room and I understand your decorating woes...and the boys of the family and all male guests(all in their 20s and 50s) fight over the corner seat to stretch out their long legs and face the tv! I have had to make sharing rules in the past! :) I keep threatening to replace the sectional with a line-up of big recliners. I think your blue sofa is gorgeous but maybe a little bit feminine and contemporary in the same space as the pub wall and pool table. Maybe a larger rug and deeper, heavier pieces in keeping with the the manly idea. In my big room I had 15' wide carpet cut and bound into a large area rug. Oh, my guys would love your man cave and by now there would be a putting green, dart board and band set up in there. I personally would love to sit at your table or be in your kitchen looking out those wonderful windows at the view! Linda

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    1. You are so right--the blue sofa (and especially the coffee table) bring in a feminine/contemporary mood. I love your idea of using the bar and pool table as a springboard. Yes--a dart board!

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  6. Agree with the two sofas idea, and maybe a larger rug. What a great space, and that view is just spectacular. I love a beautiful view too. Have fun decorating!

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  7. IMHO, two sofas rather than one sectional would give you more flexibility in rearranging the space. With that said; where will the Television be located? Secondly, regarding the area carpet I personally would be eliminating it until I decided on my furniture pieces and their placement. In closing; the view from your kitchen is absolutely AMAZING .... ☺. -Brenda-

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    1. Brenda, you're absolutely right--maybe Bandy will help me move it to the DR. I have a very large jute rug, but I'd planned to use it in the bedroom...it's so hard using rugs that were "bought" for another house, as Bandy says. Better to get the furniture in place.

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  8. Two sofas gets my vote also. More versatile than a sectional and more places to sit and lounge. Add a couple of comfy chairs and ottomans, a few tables, lamps, and that huge space will be tamed. Have you thought about a couple of great big sea grass rugs cut and bound to your specifications? The view in the kitchen is spectacular. You'll know it when you see it!
    Jane

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    1. Great ideas, Jane. And I love the idea about the rugs.

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  9. Two large sofas and two large leather chairs would be perfect for the space - that room needs furniture with a presence. What a wonderful space though! And congrats on the view!

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    1. Presence--that's what the room needs. Thanks for that word and the images it evokes.

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  10. Have you thought of 'breaking-up' the room? Maybe a divider of some sort or sliding-style, hung from the ceiling, draperies? They could always be moved apart when the whole room is needed, moved back when you want the smaller rooms. I know some people do not like IKEA, but go there for ideas. They are very good at dividing rooms up with furniture or drapes.

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    1. I had actually thought about putting up a bookcase between the TV area and the pool table--also thought about leaving that space open and adding walls or bookcases at each end. But I can't pull the trigger. We do need book cases, though.

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  11. The man cave is so huge, I wouldn't know where to start. Can't wait to see what you do.

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  12. Why not try a bigger rug in a darker color? that will help ground the space a bit. I like the idea from the above comment about two leather chairs, they will add a bit of visual weight.

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  13. Wow, I love your new home. The man cave is HUGE! I think it calls for larger furniture. Start with a larger rug and maybe layer another smaller over it. I'd opt for 2 super comfy sofas and two manly leather chairs with ottomans. The coffee table could stand to be more substantial and on the larger size. Accent tables need to be heavier and taller! This room will not defeat you. You have an excellent eye and will whip this room into shape in no time. Oh and I'm not a fan of sectionals because they limit your options.

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  14. Love the blue and white striped rug in the new space - wasn't right for the cave. Also squealed with your mud room - oh that is so awesome, how I wish I had the space for something like that - so so cute!!!! As for my humble opinions on the eventual furnishings of the cave:

    Michael, why not choose two over-sized brown leather sofas? It will be warm, comfy, manly, and use up thatcool and open space well...I know you didn't want to buy any furniture (and you needed do it now) - but I see warm Woolroich tartan plaid lap covers on them and rich warm colored pillows for pops of color - just look at the space and imagine those old "atta boy" clubs in England, Ireland, Scotland............with Hunting Scene paintings and candles - think less RH and PB and think old old school............nothing screams Man Cave like a dose or three of those kinds of elements. The space can handle it, and I bet the doc would adore it. : - ) And the nice thing is that it is a timeless design - which never EVER goes out of style, so it can be a good investment. I am nearly positive you won't regret it.

    ♥♥♥

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  15. Hi Michael Lee ~ What beautiful rooms and furniture...and views! I'm definitely not an expert at decorating/designing, but in addition to larger rugs, as Liz @infuse with Liz suggested, it also seems like everything needs to be bigger: big couches, coffee table, end tables, lamps. It all looks too small in such a grand space. P.S. I particularly love this line: "My husband, who was a Saint Bernard dog in his other life, asked how long the prissy blue stuff was staying." LOL. That's MENN for ya! :-)

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    1. It is a challenge to live with a Saint Bernard. ;-)

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  16. Thanks so much for the spot-on ideas! I would jump at the chance to add some tartan.

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  17. I think a sectional would help the large man cave room... I know two sofas give more flexibility but a sectional is much more comfortable! And it takes up more room I think. And I agree, that man cave does need some tartan, you could start by adding a wool tartan throw or a few tartan pillows, that would be the cheapest option. This room I could see styled as an English pub, not the gross stinky ones, but the Gentleman's pub. I think Ralph Lauren has designed a few English pubs or stylish man caves as well, if you do a google search you could find some nice inspiration!

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  18. Well, it looks like it's trying to be 2 things and not just a man cave. It needs earthy color, perhaps on the wall (color), it needs leather , a sectional would b great. Men don't want zen. Comfort, some throws, pillows yes, speak to the point of the room.
    Diana

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  19. I will chime in with two large sofas also. Someone suggested using the bar and pool table as starters...I lean that direction too. I am thinking...go masculine with furniture and accessory choices too. Plaid. Some leather maybe. Work it! You can do this. And...love your kitchen before, but the view doubles the appeal! This area of the country (I will include south central Ky too) is so so pretty! I think of Ky and TN as cousins. Similar culture, nice people, etc.

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  20. The Ranchburger looks awesome!!!! Something to think about: We considered a sectional, but here is my reasoning for two sofas. No one likes to sit in the corner space of a sectional unless they are alone on the sofa and can lay down using the corner as a back rest. (so seating for 6 really isn't comfortable) Two sofas can be placed L shaped on the left or the right, without directional issues as you have with a sectional. You also have more opportunity for side tables and lamps. The sofas can also be across from each other with chairs completing the arrangement. I love using console tables behind the sofa that is used to divide the spaces. The lamps or lanterns or other things on the console table create an imaginary wall. A big chunky coffee table that spans the length of the sofas is perfect for tailgate snacks or spreading out "work" while watching tv as well as keeps the proper scale. Leather is perfect for a man cave. Everything can be wiped down in case of spills, dog hair doesn't work into it like with fabric and it's always in style. Pillows can be changed seasonally to complete the look. I also like a rug that is huge. Ours is about 14' x 17' and the front legs of all the furniture fit on top so no tripping on a rolled edge. Good luck! I'm enjoying the process!

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    1. Thanks, Janet, for this great information. I am going to look for leather chairs--and you're so right about changing the pillows. Now, that's the fun part! Like the dimensions of your rug, too.

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  21. You keep saying this is the "man cave". So, he needs to be comfortable. I'd go with 2 sofas and a couple of comfortable chairs.

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  22. You are dealing with the corridor effect. You have two long rooms to decorate, this one and the dining room.
    As for the dining room, round tables look best in square rooms if they are to be focal points. However, if you have furniture like a large buffet or seating area anchored on one short end of the room you can create an illusion of a square space to nicely set off your table.

    As for this room, it's all about scale. You have massive pieces weighing down one end of the room. They need to be balanced by bringing in other large pieces. Two large sofas, a large armoire or something big and tall against the wall, a large coffee table, large club chairs, a chair and a half - you get the idea. Leather and tartan as have been suggested are good choices if you want that traditional gentlemen's club look. But you could even use the navy that you love mixed with another strong fabric. If you go for lighter colored sofas and chairs you would have to add strong colored pillows and rugs. You need lots of visual weight. Later on you might even think about adding some sort of dark colored braid or banding to the leading edge of your draperies to layer more visual interest and texture at the windows. All this would be moot if the room was entirely empty. But your parameters are set.

    Something to consider: if you leave the space open from end to end you will not have ameliorated the bowling alley look of the room. That's why breaking it up into groupings divided by a table in the middle or back to back sofas, a sofa table, half shelves, rugs, whatever, help to redress the space.

    First and foremost, though, consider function. What will you do in there? What is the priority? Make a list and choose your furnishings and placement based on that.

    Gee, I sound rather bossy, don't I? From what I have read there are a lot of nice ideas for you to choose from. But ultimately, what matters most is what ever makes you and husband and son feel the most comfortable and hang all our opinions! :)

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    1. Yolie, I love your comment. It put everything in perspective. Redressing the space is exactly what's called for. The room will be used mainly for TV viewing. I'm going to talk to my GC about adding bookshelves to further define the space and to add a mantel (just in time for Christmas decorating, I hope). The dining room is super tiny. My instincts tell me that I need a long, narrow table. I may have room for a bombe' chest at one end (I hope so), which may off-set the rectangle, as you suggested. I hadn't thought about grounding lighter furniture with a darker rug and pillows--but I totally "see" it now. I have so many blind spots--I love to tear out walls and rethink a space, but design throws me into a torpor! Thanks so much for this extraordinary advice. So glad you are on this journey with me!

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  23. Glad to ride along! BTW I think your instincts about the DR are correct. In all of this, scale is the key. Keep in mind that if you are going to use light colored sofas, make sure they are large.

    You know, you truly are "the bomb" for taking us on this journey with you.

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  24. YES!!!! on two sofas..............or the sectional WITH a few big overstuffed chairs. That room is screaming for big comfortable seating.......I'd do big tables too. and then stop. Accessories will then complete your room. Pillows. Art on the walls. Color. Your house is so big that you can make so many other areas "pretty".....but that big ol' man cave needs informal....color......and comfort. JMOHO!

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    1. I agree totally--especially about the stopping point. And comfort! Thanks!

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  25. You sure are getting a lot to ponder in the way of advice. It will come together. Your view is lovely!( day or night ) I laughed out loud at the St. Bernard reference.

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  26. I meant to add with the wonderful equestrian chandy's , it could be a jumping off point for the room...

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  27. I so love your home! It's neat and well-organized. Can't wait to see what you do!

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  28. I think you're so right, Michael Lee, the room demands larger furniture, and if hubby is buying and wanting, go for it. Two large sofas or a large sectional will be fabulous. The house is definitely telling you what it needs (plus your "St. Bernard" hubby!!). This room is needing man-sized comfort.

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  29. I think you have wonderful taste. Focus on ànother room for a while and your vision for these space will come easier. I love 3 panel decorative screens. They really do help large areas without making them feel closed off if the height is right. I actually recycled some old garage door wooden panels and put a mirror in center panel. It is in a corner and adds a little texture. Look forward to seeing what your whole home looks like.

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