Mundane Mancave Missive
(Click on image to enlarge:)
You'll have to accept the poor quality photos, my Lumix G1 is in the hands of The Line Writer (my grandson), and I was relegated to using Hipstamatic on the iPad2. The Man Cave didn't start out as such, it was built as a playhouse for my grandson. Then, years later, after he quit using it and I was getting a hankering for a manly retreat, I remodeled the interior with parquet tile and wood paneling. I also didn't take construction photos, as I'm usually too immersed in such a project to take on the added burden of documenting its build. So, an after-the-fact description might be in order, for those of you contemplating a typing shed of your very own.
The shed is 8 foot square in floor plan, the floor framed from 4x4 and 2x4 pressure treated lumber, secured with screw nails rather than regular nails (I always build with screws rather than nails, it makes taking it apart, if need be, much easier later), sitting on those little pyramid-shaped concrete support blocks so the wood frame won't easily rot out in the weather. The floor of the shed is sheathed in 3/4" plywood decking.
The walls are framed from 2x2 lumber and sheathed with outdoor grade textured gypsum paneling that doesn't need painting or other treatment, but is very heavy and will dull your drill bits and saws blades like crazy. The walls end up being rigid once they're sheathed, otherwise the frames are a bit flimsy.
The roof is a modest pitch, made from two frames of 2x2 lumber that meet at the top, sheathed in steel roof paneling rather than wood paneling, secured directly to the roof's 2x2 frame with those water-tight roofing screws that use rubber washers under the screw heads for watertight integrity. A lightweight roof, minus the wood decking, but strong and watertight.
The windows are the cheapest plastic-framed sliding windows I could find at Lowes Home Center. The interior is paneled in standard wood paneling, nailed to the 2x2 frames with finishing nails. In the spaces between the wall and ceiling frames I installed 1 inch thick foam insulation panels, easy to cut to size with a utility knife from their 4x8-foot sheets. I have yet to add the finished trim molding along the edge of the floor and ceiling; those little bits of blue tape, visible in the photo along the edge of the baseboard, mark the position of the wall studs for when I install the trim. The floor is covered in el-cheapo adhesive vinyl faux parquet floor tile, very easy to install with a utility knife, tape measure and straight edge.
The shed was wired for electricity prior to adding the interior paneling, with two outlets, one on each side wall and a lighting fixture hanging from the ceiling. The wiring terminates at an outdoor-grade electrical outlet, which is powered, via extension cord, from an outlet at the back porch of the house, using a GFCI interrupter for safety. The extension cord powering the shed hangs from a plant hook on the back porch and several tree branches prior to running down to the shed's outlet, so it isn't going to be tripped over in the dark, or get too wet in the rain. The extension cord gets disconnected and secured when not in use. I made up a small "suicide cord," a piece of Romex wire with male outlet plugs at each end, to adapt the extension cord's female socket to the shed's outdoor outlet's female sockets. The key to using this suicide cord safely is to hook it up "from load to source," and disconnect it "from source to load," a handy ditty I remember from years ago when, in the U.S. Navy, I pulled shore power cables from ship to pier.
Interior decor comprises three outdoor patio chairs in the corners, several folding wooden portable tables, upon one of which sits a CD and radio player adjacent to the door in the remaining corner, connected to several Hi-Fi quality speakers, and a little nick-knack shelf in another corner behind one of the patio chairs. The folding tables are handy for typing upon, as I can scoot them up right against my chair, my legs tightly between the table's legs, typewriter at the ready position. There's a small oscillating fan used in the warmer months, and both windows are screened, and slide open. In the wintertime, there's enough body heat to keep the small space warm (it being insulated), plus an electric space heater can be added if needed. The overhead light is a bit of overkill, it using four 50-watt halogen bulbs, so I've taken to removing the bulbs from three of the four, leaving a single 50-watt light as illumination. Although at night, several scented candles work really well, their warm light reflecting off the light-colored wood paneling giving the space a comforting, cozy glow.