A Los Angeles Basement Becomes a Cozy Man Cave

Family Guy writer and producer Kirker Butler wanted a room within his Los Angeles home where he could compose scripts, chill and feel inspired — a hybrid space that is part man cave, part home office. Butler sought the experience of interior designer Kyle Schuneman, who shot on converting a dungeon-like storage space used to home decorations, leftover paint cans and other fresh items to an efficient, cozy and enjoyable space.

“We are talking about a completely raw area here. We needed to bring plumbing and electrical wiring to the place,” says Schuneman. In the long run, his client got exactly what he wanted: a comfy cave and practical office blessed with light, nature and warmth.

Space in a Glance
Who works here: Kirker Butler
Location: Los Angeles
Size: 224 square feet including half bath
That’s interesting: Along with composing and producing episodes of Family Guy, Butler can also be the coexecutive producer of The Cleveland Show.

Joe Schmelzer, Inc. dba Treasurbite Studio, Inc..

Schuneman designed built-in mahogany bookcases with sconces to wrap either side of this room. They home Butler’s book collection, comic books and movie and sports memorabilia.

He also purchased an old metal train step to direct into this reading nook (from the background) on eBay; it is a homage to Butler’s grandfather, who worked on railroads.

Joe Schmelzer, Inc. dba Treasurbite Studio, Inc..

The Crate & Barrel desk comes with a built-in cubby to home curios.

“Kirker gave me clear guidelines for the distance. He’s taken ownership of this room, and you really can see his identity come outside,” says Schuneman.

Before Photo

Malkoe Design

BEFORE: Here’s what the storage space looked like prior to Schuneman and builder Mark Aller got to get the job done.

“It had exposed ductwork and these large cement base blocks that could not be transferred because they anchor the home. The blocks determined a lot of the layout of this space,” says Schuneman.

Joe Schmelzer, Inc. dba Treasurbite Studio, Inc..

AFTER: The designer and the builder wrapped the cement blocks with drywall and constructed seating and bookcases above them. The ductwork is currently housed in a storage space behind the bookcase.

The marlin painting is by Butler’s sister-in-law.

Joe Schmelzer, Inc. dba Treasurbite Studio, Inc..

“This distance is just as much a person cave since it is a home office. The desk in the center anchors the distance, but the various collections — both the pipes and small pub — they drive home the point that this really is a location that each man would want and may see himself in,” says Schuneman.

Joe Schmelzer, Inc. dba Treasurbite Studio, Inc..

Schuneman layered the comfy space with abundant woods and classic furnishings. Retro throw pillows in geometric and solid prints add colour and pattern into the mortise and tenon armchair.

Wall paint: Bryant Gold, Benjamin Moore (top half), Huntington Beige, Benjamin Moore (bottom half)

Joe Schmelzer, Inc. dba Treasurbite Studio, Inc..

There is a boy’s club vibe at the half bath, that has a sink and a urinal. Four hand mirrors normally found in barber shops are stand-ins for a conventional above-sink mirror.

Wall paint: Bryant Gold, Benjamin Moore

Joe Schmelzer, Inc. dba Treasurbite Studio, Inc..

“it is a man cave, but we do not actually want to mimic a dark, cavelike encounter. We put a small window in there that allow enough light in but also wouldn’t be intrusive,” says Schuneman.

Joe Schmelzer, Inc. dba Treasurbite Studio, Inc..

Sconces from Restoration Hardware cast a warm glow and provide the room an old-library feel.

Malkoe Design

This 3-D rendering shows how the designer and the builder maximized each inch of the former basement storage area.

“The project was a bit like putting together pieces in a mystery. Kirker wanted a bathroom, dining area, TV, reading nook and plenty of storage,” says Schuneman. “We needed to solve a lot of spatial and foundational issues before some of those pretty stuff could happen.”

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