I’m so pleased and proud to announce that the Manbrary is now officially open for business. It was a close one, but thanks to more than a few exceptional vendors and partners, I finished on time to reveal it to you today! We made a HUGE leap forward from last week. My husband and I have been enjoying the room since Tuesday (when I revealed it to him!) – that is when he “invites” me to join him for a fireside chat – ha ha :).
If you’re a new visitor, thank you so much for stopping by to check out my ORC reveal! I am a decorator based in Newton, MA, and my specialty and passion is family-centered design. This round, I tackled the library of our 1896 Victorian, which is the first room you see when you open the door into the foyer (after the vestibule, which was my project in the spring!). It was somewhat of an eye sore, and in need of a full revamp (befores here) . The room boasted yellow-toned gum wood trim that matched nothing else in the house, deteriorating ornamental plaster, cracks in the ceiling, under scaled lighting, and a too-busy rug that wasn’t doing any favors for the distinctive antique Empire partners desk, which my husband actually sourced himself a couple of years ago. I wanted to make this a room fitting of our home’s style and scale, while also carving out a space in our house specifically designed for my most favorite client – my husband.
My inspiration statement for the Manbrary (and explanation, for the uninitiated – aka EVERYONE) was as follows…
Move over, man caves, we have evolved. Neanderthals need not apply – the sophisticated, modern man will spend both work and leisure time in his cozy cocoon of wood, leather, brass, wool, books, and sheer masculinity. He can be found in his natural habitat, tapping away at his laptop (hunting and pecking, probably…), dialed into an after-hours conference call, or leafing through the latest non-fiction best seller, fireside, whilst sipping Maker’s Mark. If people still smoked cigars in their homes, that would be happening here, too (but NO). Perhaps a semi-serious board or card game now and then, and lots of football talk when others are present. Women and children are always welcome, of course, but we try to give him his moment of manly zen whenever possible.
It’s an office. It’s a library. It’s a retreat. For a man.
It’s a Manbrary.
Without further ado, I present to you the original Manbrary. I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking, for the most part. I’m happy to share sources, which are at the bottom of the post, along with very important credits and acknowledgments.
The cut and bound rug following the outline of the room is such a classic, traditional library look, but the cowhide rug gives it personality, warmth, and even a little edge.
Oomph’s Billy Bar (from the divine Nina Campbell collection) proved to be the perfect “side piece” to accompany the floating desk. It’s a little deeper than a bookcase – better to house a printer – and a little higher to not look like an afterthought shoved into the corner. Not to mention it came in Everard Blue lacquer, like the built-ins (it was meant to be!). Plus, he can tuck away the desk lamp and phone here when not in use, to avoid a tripping hazard. All of the artwork here and throughout the room has a special meaning and significance.
Harrison is really enjoying his new dog bed (and posed quite well for us – bonus!). You know how they say dogs and their owners start to look like each other? I think the same might also be true about their houses…
After deciding to paint the built-ins this moody blue, I really did not want to stick our big stark white speakers back on the shelf and kill the vibe I was trying to create. Remembering that I had extra fabric from the window treatments, I came up with the crazy idea to somehow cover and camouflage the speakers with the plaid wool. My workroom helped me figured out the best way to do it, and executed them to perfection. It seems funny to say it, but I think it might be my favorite thing in the whole room!
The other speaker plays nicely with this stately gentleman on horseback, who I thought was just perfect for the Manbrary!
Love the juxtaposition of the chalky ceiling and ornamental plaster with the mega-gloss trim in this shot. That’s my bold beige :).
A pair of extra cozy, yet compact and low-profile seats by the fire easily double as guest chairs for meetings and such.
If lighting is the jewelry of a room, then this one, from Urban Electric Co., is the Hope Diamond of light fixtures. I can’t say enough about the craftsmanship, especially the quality of the antique brass finish, and the way it softly illuminates the ceiling detail without any distracting shadows (which is why I went with the opal glass).
- Desk: Antique, owner’s collection
- Desk chair: Owner’s collection
- Area rug: via Williston Weaves
- Cowhide rug: Saddleman’s via Wayfair
- Club chair fabric: Duralee
- Roman shade fabric: Mulberry Home
- Office “bar”: Oomph
- Ceiling light fixture: Urban Electric Co.
- Desk lamp: Jonathan Adler
- Dog bed: Joe Ruggiero Collection for The MT Company, customized with fabrics from Joe’s collection for Sunbrella
- Painting: Catchlight Painting (special shout-out to these guys, who are total pros and were extremely flexible and worked hard until the job was completed perfectly – can’t say enough about their skill and precision with a fussy product, and willingness to go above and beyond, including helping me move the ridiculously heavy and awkward desk back into the room)
- Plaster repair and restoration: Austin Ornamental
- Electrical: Bob McNeill
- Shade fabrication/installation: Alan Babitts Workroom
- Audio speaker slipcovers: Partners in Design
Massive thanks to our One Room Challenge originator and hostess extraordinaire, Linda at Calling it Home, without whom, I can confidently say, none of this would exist.
And last, but most certainly not least – thank you to Eric Roth for the beautiful images (as always), which I’m thrilled to add to my portfolio of work.
I’ve been so blessed to share in the ups and downs of this experience with a few local (Boston area) friends, whose ORC transformations you should go check out right now!
I owe Linda an extra special thank you for tolerating my daily flood of panicked texts and progress photos (or lack thereof!). I may, in fact, also owe her an apology for convincing her to throw her hat into the ring in the first place – this is a stressful process, and it made all of the difference to me to be able to go through it with her. Linda, if you’ve made it this far in the post, I can’t wait to see that fabulous family room of yours and raise a glass to your success!