From boring basement to high-end man cave, designer Tanna Barnecut takes us on a journey of transformation.

Undeniably, the handcrafted, mahogany-stained cabinetry is luxurious. The custom-fit fireplace and bolted-steel surround with matchless patina is top shelf. Having happy hour at home – priceless.

Tell me, how do you like to relax after work? What mellows your mood? Where do you unwind? These are just a few of the lifestyle questions I asked my client during our initial consultation. As we sat on the floor of his ’80s beige and uber-boring basement, he responded, “Playing pool, watching the game on TV with buddies, the country club, poker, fine scotch, cold drinks and maybe a cigar or two.”

At this point I was ecstatic! Truth be told, this was the opportunity for my first super souped-up man cave! More questions followed as I sussed out what this man cave would entail: His primitive domestic needs would be the jumping-off-point for our interior Reno. The result was not a primal hideaway but rather a regal and relaxing “gentleman’s lounge.” This outdoorsy fellow, with a killer bachelor pad, is a well-groomed, up-to-date type of guy who wanted a captivating cavern to mingle with others.

After our first meeting, I created a design package including a floor plan sketch, drawings of specific custom pieces, paint swatches, textiles, inspirational photos, mood boards and more, then drafted an overall conceptual design plan.

My vision for the room went something like this:
This deluxe space will be uncomplicated and a cozy escape from the daily grind. He’ll walk downstairs and immediately be inspired while thinking, “This can’t really be my house!” The décor will be clean and effortless; nothing will be too precious or unapproachable. The fabrics will be resilient and show a much-wanted lived-in look. The surfaces will be hard-wearing and long-lasting. Everything will be accessible, well-appointed and convertible. Sophisticated and mature with a lighthearted nod. The style will be somewhat eclectic, mixing personal collectibles and raw materials with timeless details. It will look exactly like the homeowner: one-of-a-kind, classy, generous and welcoming, calling to mind a sense of indulgence and industrial elegance as well as comfort. It will feel vibrant not frantic, warm without feeling feminine and royal but not stiff.

And so it began, transforming a blank canvas into an ultimate entertainment room with swagger. Giving life to personal elements magnified in the décor. Guests are surrounded by memorabilia from African safari travels; a Serengeti-like vibe fills the air. What’s more, we created a special spot to meet friends and relax after work while enjoying a light snack and beverage before dinner.

How did we do it? We started with color. A rich masculine color option, which is also a smart neutral, covers the walls. This choice makes the handsome bar glisten like it was in a showroom. For depth and interest we painted the ceiling a tawny tan and enclosed the separate poker room in a hut-like grass cloth wallpaper. Simple and chic.

Next, we selected heavy fabrics in deep tones to carry the theme. Statement pieces like uniquely crafted side tables and world maps added to the global influence, while the homeowners’ souvenirs from Africa stake their claim.

Creating separate seating nooks throughout allow for casual conversations in every corner. Some great twists include the built-in benches that double as cocktail tables when playing pool, the hidden humidor adding a hint of art behind the glass bar cabinet, authentic rug accents and other native trinkets to highlight the client’s adventures.

A haven to spoil in, slow down and let go. This is “His Place.”

August/September 2012 Bellingham Alive/NSL

"Playing pool, watching the game on TV with buddies, the country club, poker, fine scotch, cold drinks and maybe a cigar or two."