Man Cave Monday: Broken Backs

It’s taken six months, but we’ve finally broken the back of my Man Cave Monday project. Just in time for Father’s Day, the hardest part of the job (which began as a New Years resolution) is complete!

Those desiring the full blow-by-blow of the transformation of my horrid garage into a comics collecting and reading space can take a look at my past posts … for everyone else, suffice to say this job has been a bear-and-a-half. But ultimately, it was worth it.

In my last update we’d gotten the garage emptied out and the floors freshly painted with epoxy. The next task was to install cabinets and start moving stuff back into the space. A previous comment here at Longbox Graveyard warned that sometimes putting stuff back can undo all the effort of cleaning stuff out — and I admit that dire prophecy was ringing in my ears as we restocked and reorganized the garage — but after hauling some of the detritus to the dump or the local charity, the “garage” side of the garage looked great …

the "garage" garage

… and the “Longbox Graveyard” side of the garage was coming along nicely too, with paint on the walls and cabinets installed to hold my voluminous board game collection.


games to go

Those cabinets were a bit more expensive than I’d intended, but they have bevelled doors that look better than the standard-issue low-end garage cabinet, and the added benefit of feet that elevate them from the floor in the event of a flood (such as from a broken water heater). They also have little pistons in the hinges that let them close softly and automatically with a nudge.

The greatest benefit of these cabinets are that I can close my game collection away behind doors and not have to look at the riot of colors and sizes the boxes present. I’m not the gamer that I used to be, and I am still in the process of trimming down the collection (about a quarter of which — everything in that cabinet above — I hope to sell off), but with everything behind closed doors, I can reduce my collection at leisure, instead of having to look at THIS every time I walk into my garage …

back side of game divider shelves

Paint on the walls, floors all cleaned and painted, cabinets installed, and all our stuff put back into place … which meant it was time to turn this garage from a storage space into a living space.

First came the critical assembly of a reading chair.

building the chair

In the background you can see my graveyard of longboxes, which still need some attention, but time enough for that later.

That chair anchors the main reading corner of the new space …

reading space

… which is a heck of a lot better-looking than the disaster I had at the start of the year …

the sad state of the Longbox Graveyard

And so the back has been broken on this massive project, something I could never have accomplished without good friends breaking their backs on my behalf (Andrew, Tom, and Gretchen — I owe you big time). Special thanks are also due my wife, Rita, for her indefatigable support throughout this project, and for her own back-breaking labor every step of the way.

I am pleased to report that the space has proven comfortable enough that it has attracted not only your humble narrator, but also my cats, who find the new seating options intriguing, and also my wife and kids, who have all snuck out there at various times this weekend to read, or steal a few minutes to write on some portable device, or just to soak up the ambiance of the new and improved headquarters of the Longbox Graveyard!

This marks the conclusion of the major portion of this remodeling project, but Man Cave Mondays will continue as an irregular feature here at the blog. There’s still plenty of little jobs to do — baseboards and crown moldings and windows to tend to, and also more than a bit of decorating ahead — and I intend to bring it all to you with the mind-numbing attention to detail that has characterized this series of posts (and for a photo record of this project — past, present, and future — check out my “Secret Headquarters” Pinterest board).

But that’s all for another time! Now it’s time to get back to reading … and thank YOU for reading as Longbox Graveyard continues boldly into the future!

(Or is it the past?)



About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published every now and then at!

Posted on June 17, 2013, in Man Cave Monday and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Nice! Congrats on all the back breaking work. Are those comics covers on the wall in the last photo framed comics, or poster replicas? Did you cut the posters to fit them between the hinges o nthe garage door?


    • Those comics on the wall are reproductions, oversized, on masonite or some kind of board. My family got them for me from Ross (of all places) last Christmas — they’re not my favorite covers, but it is the thought that counts, and I was happy to have their contribution in my space.

      I did indeed slice and dice those posters to accomodate the articulating metal panels of the garage door. That door abuts the weather so it isn’t ideal for valuable artwork — all of those posters were disposable, even the big Spider-Man which had seen better days after hanging for several months on my kids’ toy room wall back in the day. There might be a more permanent mural or wallpaper solution for this area that I will pursue in the future, but this will do for now, and I’ve been leery of permanent applications in any case, as I don’t want to dent the resale value of the remodel — reality being what it is (and God laughing at my plans, as always), I half expect to be forced to move from this house now that I’ve finally completed my secret headquarters!


  2. That looks GOOD! Well done.


  3. Congratulations, Paul, on bring your man cave to life!


  4. I have been running these posts by my semi-professional organizer daughter, and she heartily approves. She is definitely stealing the posters on the garage door idea, and we both liked the magazine holders for trades.

    And if the cats approve, then what else can be said?


    • Excellent! After completing this job I may qualify for moving up from enthusiastic amateur to semi-professional organizer, myself. This job was driven by negatives as much as anything else — I don’t want to see THAT, I want to get rid of THIS, etc. — but somewhere along the line a vision began to appear for what I wanted, so we didn’t just change, we actually changed INTO something.

      For a ridiculous deep dive, click through to my Pinterest board for this project and you can see some of the rooms I used for inspiration, and how the (near) final outcome measured up.


  5. Awesome. When I had my California garage man cave, the contractor ran ducting from the house to the cave – it was an enclosed space – so I wouldn’t slow-roast in the summer months. What’s your secret?


    • My secret is … that I roast.

      We’re on a hilltop so I get a decent breeze but I expect there will still be some swampy days for me out there in the summer ahead. Rita and I are actually having a silly argument over whether we should re-screen the window on my half of the garage. She feels, reasonably, that I may wish to open the window now and then to admit a breeze, while I am convinced (irrationally) that leaving up a screen will interfere with the “Jack Kirby Stained Glass Window” effect I hope to create over there (about which more in a future Man Cave Monday).

      Someday my analyst will try to make sense of all this.


  6. This looks fantastic and I’m naturally jealous. Call me Johnny Storm to your Peter Parker (which will make sense in two days).


  7. i love it! Looks like the perfect place for a comics fan or any age or era. Great job. Is this also where you craft your missives? Or is it strictly for comics?
    Really happy for you, and what a perfect day to finish up on too.


    • I haven’t yet done any writing out there — and my wireless has a hard time punching through the lead-lined walls of my secret headquarters — but I may yet bring the laptop out there. Ninety-nine percent of my LBG writing is done lounging in bed upstairs, with a ball game on the flat screen, and my pants gone missing.

      (How is that for too much information?)


  8. Paul,
    My God, it’s full of stars! Hands-down your Man Cave is “the spot”!! I’ve got to give you mad props for having the vision and the focus to stay on target with building such a cool and comfy looking Fortress of Solitude. But I think your wife is right about needing ventilation or at the very least some air conditioning (those Southern Cali summers can be brutal)



    • Let’s just say … it’s been one thing to build the place, but entirely another to get any time out there, so the ventilation issue isn’t top-of-mind with me right now.

      (I am reliably informed my cats and my kids are using it all the time, though, and so it goes).


  9. I wish that I have a man cave,let alone something like this!


    • Took me decades before I mustered the will to carve off a little space and time for this project. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Your “Man Cave” could just be a chair in a corner … at least that is a place to start!


  10. Reblogged this on johnsonreginald3 and commented:
    Awesome man-cave!


  1. Pingback: Longbox Bookshelf | Longbox Graveyard

  2. Pingback: 50 Best Man Cave Ideas And Why You Need One - Maxim Online

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: