Canadian man cave – reveal!

After 4 months of brain storming, DIYing and carefully planning, my brother’s Canadian man cave office is complete! I finished and photographed the room yesterday afternoon, and after wading through 200+ photos, I’ve narrowed it down to just a handful of pictures. Times four. 

As my brother’s a college student, the budget for his home office was basically non-existant. But for me that just made it more of a creative challenge, and I personally find that more interesting than someone throwing a wad of money at me to design a place. But I will say, if you feel so inclined to throw a wad of money at me, you will still have my attention. 

Note – I’ll be including a source list at the end of the post, so if you see something that I haven’t mentioned, it’ll be mentioned there! 

My brother wanted a Canadian man cave retreat for an office, and I’d like to think a Canadian man cave he got. If you’d like a reminder of what the office looked like before, check it out here. I’ll start by taking you through the desk area of my brother’s office …

There are so many changes that happened in this room, I don’t really know where to start. I first moved his desk so it was along the back wall with the window now on its left. It’s now the first thing you see when you walk in the room and as he’s right handed, the most amount of natural light is coming from the left. 
I added an IKEA shelf above the desk to hold a few piece of artwork and a chalkboard clip board. I wanted to use this type of shelf here so my brother can easily change whatever is in his line of sight above his desk, without hammering loads of holes in the wall every time he changes his mind. 
I styled it with one of my dad’s old Ontario licence plates, a clock from Tesco, a faux taxidermy stag from Tiger, and of course some artwork.

It was important that there was artwork in his room. Manly artwork. And since we were on a tight budget, we DIYed most of it. I asked our incredibly talented and artistic mom to create a Canadian scene to hang over my brothers desk. She created this pastel piece in an evening. It’s perfect as it’s one of those scenes you could get lost in. 

I also printed an Instagram I took of some of Maser‘s work as some encouraging words, and hung it over with some manly plaid washi tape [that arrived just as I was leaving yesterday – YUS]. I also framed some plaid wrapping paper I picked up over the holidays so add some depth. 

My brother wanted a ‘man lamp’ for his desk, and he mentioned he really liked angular lamps. I searched high and low for a lamp with a translucent shade. Why a translucent shade? It was important that if my brother was using just this lamp in his office on a dark day, a lamp with a solid shade would be very harsh and not cast light throughout the room; it would only cast light down at his desk. But this way, this warm lamp will light up the rest of his room.
Thanks to Smudge, one of my parents cats, I upgraded an old bedside table to act a desk drawer to hold all the office supplies. Which will segway nicely to the shelving area of the office … 

It was important I reuse as much as I could when redesigning my brother’s office. My parents had a set of old shelves so we removed the previous wooden brackets and I added a slightly more industrial style bracket to make it seem a bit more manly and rustic.

I had way too much fun going through all our old treasures to deck out the shelves. I used an old black and white canvas I painted for our office as a backdrop [as seen here], added some pictures I took of our backyard before we left Canada, a wolf vase I painted in primary school in Canada, a baseball cap and of course – LEGO. My favourite thing is that little white ball. Husband and I bought that when we were in a design shop in Helsinki – it’s an everlasting snowball. When you squeeze it, it crunches and sounds exactly like a compacted snowball. I mangle it every time I see it. 

I got the loveliest text from my brother yesterday to thank me for all the work that went into his room. I’m sure there were a couple of moments where he wanted to tell me where to go, but he was strong. For me the most rewarding part was taking a room and turning it into a retreat that will help my brother work towards his goals and of course chillax. After all, that’s all design is – creating a comforting and inspiring environment. 

Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing some of the DIYs and upgrades that went into the room over the next couple of weeks. And as promised, here is my source list … 

Paint – ‘swan’s a swimming’ from Crown Paint
Desk – our dad’s architectural desk

Desk drawers – repurposed bedside table
Chair – owners own
Man pillow – check out my tutorial here!
Flag – owners own
Lamp – Hybrid task lamp from Marks & Spencer

Faux foliage – IKEA
Chalk clip board – see my tutorial here!
Faux taxidermy deer head – Tiger
Mouse pad – repurposed cork dining mat
Pen holder – repurposed drinks mixer holder
Notepad – IKEA
Shelf over desk – PS wall shelf from IKEA
Framed plaid paper – wrapping paper from Dealz
Bin – SOCKER plant pot from IKEA
Faux tree – FEJKA artificial tree from IKEA
Wooden shelves – repurposed
Shelf brackets – Woodies DIY
Cardboard monogram – check out my tutorial here! 
Plaid washi tape – BacktoZero on Etsy 
White storage box – KASSET box from IKEA
Black and white striped mini vase – see my tutorial here!
Wolf vase – hand painted by me in primary school
Birch covered change container – see my tutorial here! 

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  1. January 9, 2015 / 14:13

    Awesome! I have so much to say… The room is brilliant. Loving the little touches: The Lego tank, the tree, the washi tape. Nice score on that. The hockey stick is a must. The manly artwork would make Ron Swanson (or Nick Offerman) proud. The hand painted wolf case!! Holy heck I love childhood finds. And for selfish reasons, the drafting desk – love. Also, the flag looks so sharp in that setting. Love it. I hope it brings back fond memories for your family.

    • January 11, 2015 / 11:20

      Coming from you Pat, who inspired the Canadian theme with your nursery, that means a lot. I'm glad you think it's legit! And not too over the top Canadian. I was going to pin up the flag much like a poster, but I thought no, too much. Just little pieces and memories here and there.

      I'm actually quite mad it's not my office. I spent so much time in there pondering things and moving stuff around. It was so lovely getting to dig through all our memories. My bro's office is like a time capsule.


  2. January 9, 2015 / 18:30

    Ahhh!! This is just so groovy – I love how 'woodsy' it all is, totally took that theme and ran with it… and not in a tacky way at all!! (wait, am I digging a hole?) I just mean that themed rooms can go bad and this in no way at all has gone bad – its rather fabulous! I love the pillow and the washi tape and all the little DIY touches – you are AMAZING. Love it.


    • January 11, 2015 / 11:22

      Haha, you're not at all digging a hole at all! I know exactly what you mean and I wanted to completely avoid the whole tacky over-the-top patriotic theme, so I'm glad I didn't achieve that.

      Thanks Kimberly xx

  3. January 10, 2015 / 14:39

    This is amazing! You must be so pleased with it, and so must your brother – such a successful makeover! I really love how you've styled everything, and all the personal touches you've used. I have to say that your mum is so talented – that picture is incredible!! I can see where you get your creativity from!
    The lamp you've chosen for his desk is really great too – I'm trying to think where I could put one of those in my house!
    To be honest, I could blather on all day because there are so many amazing elements that make up this design. Great work!!
    Maria xx

    • January 12, 2015 / 10:14

      Aw, thank you so much Maria! You are far too sweet. I'm really pleased with how it all turned out. I actually completely changed the shelving on both walls only on Wednesday, and I'm so glad I did. Previously, everything was on one wall so the focus was only in one area. I changed it at the last minute, but I'm glad I did as it seems more personal this way.

      I'll make sure to tell my mom what you think of her artwork. She'll love that. And the fact that you both share a name xx

  4. John JJP
    February 3, 2015 / 04:28

    when will you be sharing the man pillow you made? it looks amazing!!!! no pressure, lol.

    • February 6, 2015 / 09:47

      Just got confirmation that it'll be published on the 17th of this month, John! I'll be blogging about it too so keep your eyes peeled.