Constructing a Man-Cave from scratch (Retro Games Room build) – Part 1

The background

We moved into our current house a few years back and previous owners had gone to the trouble of properly converting and floor boarding most of the floor of our sizeable loft. As this is the most expensive part of a loft conversion, it seemed silly to leave it as it is and from day one I had plans to make the loft into a usable space. Of course this takes money and time so here we are 2 years+ down the line and things are finally taking shape.

I have been working on the loft conversion for a few months now (along with my very patient Dad – thanks be to those with knowledge), with the grand plan of turning it into a (retro)games room/office. Now that the boring stuff has been done; finishing the flooring, insulation, roof window put in (not so boring!), first fix electrics etc. we have got to the more interesting part and I have decided to share my experiences of kitting out the man-cave as a games room/office with you all.

Now, don’t go expecting weekly updates, this is going to take some time – I’m a procrastinator with sloth-like tendencies. Plus, I am fitting this in in-between my day job, childcare (my other day job), my night job (Retrogear UK) and several other projects (more important ones according to the Wife) so please bear with me.

And please note: this is NOT a how-to. I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m learning/taking advice every step of the way, so please don’t try this at home.

The build so far…

Next jobs to do

  • Vapour barrier installation
  • Stud partitioning the loft storage area from games room and fitting a door
  • Plasterboarding, skimming
  • Final fix electrics (2 way light switches, mains sockets x 4)

My plans

Must haves:

  • Large wall mounted flat-screen TV (40″+)
  • Large CRT TV
  • 5.1 Surround Stereo
  • Unit below and around TVs to house at least 18 working consoles* with room for respective arcade sticks where possible and hidden wiring
  • Enclosed space to house the rest of my collection
  • Desk for computers/office space
  • Cat. 5/6 Networking
  • Comfy armchair/la-z-boy/giant beanbag i-eX Gaming chair (thanks @Knightlore1978)
  • Heating for those cold winter nights (and the summer ones)

*Consoles for permanent display/use:

  Atari VCS 6 Switch
  Atari 7800
  Sega Master System
  Sega MegaDrive w/Mega-CD
  Sega Saturn
  Sega Dreamcast
  Philips G7000
  NEC TurboGrafx-16
  Commodore 64
  Commodore Amiga 500
  Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2
  Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3
  Nintendo NES
  Nintendo SNES
  Nintendo 64
  Amstrad CPC464

Would likes:

  • Remote control colour-change mood-lighting
  • 6.1 Surround Stereo
  • Coffee machine
  • Fridge

Feel free to comment with any other suggestions of what might be a good addition to the games room – sensible(ish) ones please, I can’t fit an orgasmatron in there.

I want your ideas so I can call them my own. Mwahahahaaaa.



Author: Ant Harper

Father, Husband, website developer, avid gamer since the mid-70s and collector of just about anything video game related. 8-Bit microcomputer and Sinclair specialist with a huge Sinclair related collection of his own. Blogs about retro gaming here but occasionally elsewhere when people ask. Bored of Mario and never much liked Zelda. Performs quirkafleegs for cold hard cash. Often found destroying ice crowns in the Lands of Midnight. Remembers: Lunar Lander. Plays: Steel Battalion, Gears of War

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  1. Hi Ant, Just found your blog via one of your Twitter posts. Looks like you’re well on the way to building an awesome Man Cave.

    Your building codes might be different, but in the USA we have rules for any electrical wire hidden behind a wall or passing through a stud. There are minimum depths, and in most cases protected by a metal strike plate to keep someone from getting electrocuted by driving a nail or screw. Also, you may want to shield any wiring that’s “in the open” with EMT conduit. Which by the way looks very industrial, rustic and extremely cool when done right.

    After looking at you list of goodies, hopefully you have consulted with your electrician to make sure you have enough power to handle all of the equipment you have, as some of them can draw a pretty heavy load. You may need a dedicated circuit or two, especially if you add anything on top of what’s listed.

    Also be sure to plan ahead for HVAC before you seal the walls up. Unless you have duct-work up there already, it’s probably going to get pretty hot since you’re in an attic space. You may want to consider a wall-mounted AC unit, and/or a small ceiling fan or two.

    Lastly, if you get in a bind and need any advice on the design, feel free to contact us and we’ll be glad to help. If you’re looking for recommendations, might we suggest a look at our Video Game Furniture:

    Good luck with everything and can’t wait to see pictures of before/during/after! Send some our way and we’ll feature them on our site.

    Joe Chiaccio

  2. Hi Joe,
    Many thanks for your comments, glad you like the way it’s shaping up. As for cabling, all will be behind metal shielding where it is behind walls that are likely to have nails or screws driven into. Electrics are via a dedicated circuit straight out of the consumer unit. As for HVAC, I live in England, and I had to chuckle when you mentioned air-conditioning. I have had a full loft conversion done in a previously owned property and really, it doesn’t ever get hot enough over here to require anything more than a fan and an open window! We wish.

    I would be glad to send you some pics of before/during/after once it has been completed if you are willing to feature on your great site. I would be honoured.

    Regards, Ant


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