Guy-style makeover

Man cave gives way to cosmopolitan condo



Marty is a busy guy. Not only does he have a day job, but his place on the national trampoline team — along with additional coaching duties — really keeps him hopping.

Conjure up every cliche you’ve ever heard about a bachelor pad, and just about every one of them was applicable to Marty’s penthouse condo. Big leather furniture, big speakers, a big screen TV, and even a big hole in the kitchen wall.

But Marty was looking for a more sophisticated look, while keeping some of that “man cave” feeling. When he comes home, he likes to relax and unwind, either with friends or on his own. And judging by the hole in the kitchen wall, this place had seen some really good parties. Remember, the man cave is all about the tribal gathering and its associated rituals — hockey night, poker parties, and even video gaming. It was important to design a space where comfort was king — stylish comfort, that is.

The main floor of Marty’s penthouse is a compact space, with an L-shaped living and dining room framing the kitchen. To begin this transformation, my design called for two feature walls: a rich large-scale patterned charcoal wallpaper for the wall behind the sofa; and for the dining room, a creamy ceramic tufted wall tile that is applied in panels and painted, for a new take on old-fashioned tufting.

Starting with the living room, we shed more light on this party place by installing halogen mono spot lighting, oil-rubbed bronze scissor-arm wall sconces above the granite gray sectional sofa, and some table lamps. We added a fresh coat of “smoke and mirrors” paint (warm gray), an area rug made from durable red and white patterned carpet tiles that pick up on the wallcovering pattern, and complementary sofa cushions.

Black leather makes its way into this space in the swivel chair, conveniently placed in front of the TV for gaming, as well as the upholstery for the ottoman. As for the sound system, Marty retired his clunky old speakers and replaced them with compact, discreetly hidden speakers that still pack a big punch.

We gave Marty’s old entertainment unit a facelift and moved it in front of the window, which allowed for better traffic flow. The problem became how to deal with the glare from the floor-to-ceiling windows behind the TV. The solution? Every guy’s dream: another remote. A motorized blind system descends from the casings above the window, with a soft gray sun shade cutting the glare while still revealing the stunning view from Marty’s penthouse pinnacle.

We transformed the dining area into an ultra-hip lounge, perfect for entertaining. We banished the six-seat table and chairs that Marty never used, replacing them with different types of seating: a comfy high-back cream leather love seat, a pedestal table with two chairs, and four stools along the kitchen counter. The round table makes it much easier to exit through the adjacent patio doors to the balcony, and a simple chandelier adds just the right touch of elegance and sparkle.

We couldn’t leave this condo with a gaping hole in the kitchen wall, so we treated Marty to a new glass tile backsplash, which covered up the evidence of his wild party quite nicely.

And finally, in a nod to Marty’s extensive collection of martial arts weaponry, we framed a pair of ninja stars and a Spanish knife, and hung them just beside the kitchen.

By reorganizing the layout of Marty’s living and dining rooms, we created a much smoother “free flow” of space. All six of his man-cave recliners are gone, but Marty can now offer his guests several different places to park themselves. Even though this space now has more seating, it still manages to seem more spacious and open.

All in all, we took Marty’s bachelor pad from frat house to penthouse, with the help of a few unique finishes, a reordered floor plan, and a modern — yet masculine — color scheme. Party hearty, Marty!

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Candice Tells All.”

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