Cabinets and Furniture

Well even a man cave needs stuff to hold stuff – including your ass while watching TV – that calls for cabinets and furniture. We’ve decided to go with a Craftsman style look. Luthien and I have always liked this style. Our house in Lebanon was close and had a lot of that feel, but was really a Victorian. Here we can go for it – so we are. We’ve ordered oak cabinetry in a medium brown and are now looking for various pieces to match that.


Oak and stone samples

We have a LOT of cabinets: a bar, the home theater cabinets, and the full built in. The bill was a serious “ow”, but on the whole I think it is good investment (as opposed to a super duper fancy shower). The order is in – and the waiting game has begun. We went with a medium brown, Craftsman style/Shaker style set of cabinets. All made in USA by Showplace. Decent stuff – but not super high end. I think it will work very nice.

Tentatively we are looking at black granite counter tops with a honed (flat) finish. That looks pretty cool, but we are still experimenting with the counters. There’s a lot of feedback on the internet that the honed black is difficult to maintain and gets a lot of fingerprints.

We may go radical and get some crazy pattern – the trouble is clashing with the field stone we are putting on the walls. I’ll try to get a pic of that and post it here too.


If you are doing Craftsman then Stickley is the gold mark. We’ve resisted getting any fancy/expensive furniture for 20+ years. We still have many well worn pieces from our parents and relatives – yes it is true – I’m a cheap ass…all Scots are :-). However in this case splurging on top quality seems like something that we should do – “do or do not” says Yoda.

We have a large TV/Media component – so seating is something that is needed. We have crummy, crappy home theater seating upstairs. Taking a lesson from that – we do not want this style of seating because what the heck is comfortable about movie theater seating? We also sure as heck do not want anything from La-Z-Boy – or anything even close to it. Absolute rubbish!

We also wanted to avoid leather. We have it upstairs – not the right fit for Craftsman or for a nice comfy man cave. We’re going with a large, squishy sectional with a subtle geometric pattern:

Awesome CouchAwesome CouchAwesome Couch
Stickley Cofee Table
Stickley Cofee Table Top

In front of the couch we wanted something not too large and somewhat movable. When Dior has his buddies over we want to be able to move the coffee table out of the way for kids sitting on the floor, bean bags, sleeping bags. We picked out a nice mission style table with an inlaid tile surface. This way we don’t have to worry about rings and circles from beers and cocktails. The tile is a decent grey-green that perfectly matches the couch. and beer here.

Over near the bar I wanted a bistro table – so while I’m enjoying a slice of pie, a beer, and chips during a Foosball break I can have a nice “high table” and stools. So we picked out this set – again another Stickley (ow again).

The stools are nice too – I can see myself down there on “WFH” days with my laptop banging away on code or some kind of technology work.

There will be a bit more to get, plus we have a “New York Subway” theme to blend in as well.

Cabinets, cabinets, cabinets! Whoo-hoo! About 20-25 boxes of stuff.


These bookcases are 8′ tall and will be part of the built in that goes against the backwall. Nice color and finish on them.

You can see the shaker style doors that we picked out. Not strictly mission style, but the simple square lines are consistent with it. I like the simple look.

Here’s the matching center cabinet for the home theater:

Center media cabinet

The rest of the cabinets are all downstairs. These guys were a little big. The cabinets are from Showplace Cabinets – all made in USA from actual wood – no pressboard/fiberboard crap.

Not the most expensive, but not low end either. We liked them for the simple designs, the variety of sizes, and the fact that they are made in USA.

Here’s some more pics and images in gallery format:

  • Lots of cabinets
    That's a lot of cabinets - Dior and I carried all these down.

Trim work – baseboard, doors, etc. are going in simultaneous with the cabinets:

The nice built in installation is going on. Here’s a gallery – this is a really great idea to recover space under the stairs. I took my inspiration from the movie Signs starring Mel Gibson and also from the big built ins we had in my house as a kid in our living room and dining room:

BuiltIn Book TowersBehind the BuiltinBuiltin Central Cabinet

Between the two bookshelves will be a stone wall with wooden shelves that span the two towers. The rear HT speakers will also be embedded in the shelves as well. This is going to be a really cool feature. As you can see in the gallery above – the lower units go into the space under the stairs for extra storage. One side is drawers that slide in and out. Luthien’s special request for that one.

The home theater is coming along and also the bar is pretty much ready to go for counter tops and appliances:

  • Screen Frame
    The entertainment center - the screen frame is up.

Counter Tops

Picking out counter tops turned out to be the most difficult decision of this project. We have a lot going on with stone and wood and things so we wanted a material that could even out the experience. I’ve always loved soapstone as a material – that’s my chemistry background with the tops in laboratories. Soapstone is a very cool – dark, matte finished, product that stands up well, but does take quite a bit of maintenance. Its also a bit pricey. Between the cost and the maintenance (a basement is not about work – its about relaxation) we decided to look to other options.

We first looked at Black Absolute granite in a honed finish. It is also matte, but has the strength of granite. We had decided on this stone until we actually went to get it and our granite guys went a little nuts and said we would hate it. According to them it would constantly show fingerprints and any other slight contamination. We google’d around quite a bit and yeah – there’s quite a bit of people saying this. Back to square one.

We were still interested in something dark and fairly plain, we looked at a bunch of different granite options and finishes. A “leathered” finish was very cool. This is a granite that is about 75% finished – still matte and a little bumpy. Very cool. In the end we decided to go with a polished finish to a Black Absolute. Easy maintenance and if we ever sell the house it is more in line with what most people would expect. So with all of that, here’s some pictures. I like it – next up is the stone.

  • Screen Frame
    The entertainment center - the screen frame is up.

One of the nice touches we designed in – there are no seams in any of the granite pieces. That makes for a very long lasting and slick appearance.