Garage-based man cave and home office relies on a killer screen [Setups]


In this setup, an LG curved monitor is great for work as well as movies and TV.
In this setup, an LG curved monitor is great for work as well as movies and TV.
Photo: Paul O'Toole

An IT professional who specializes in Mac and iOS home implementations probably has a leg up on the next guy when it comes to building an Apple-centric home office and man cave.

Or is it a man cave and home office? We’ll let Paul O’Toole, an IT pro from Worcestershire, England, decide that. It’s his, after all. He calls it a “sitting room,” actually.

He turned his garage into an office and movie palace, thanks to an LG 34UC99 curved monitor and a pair of HomePods running with his Mac Pro.

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“Most feature films fill the entire screen,” he told Cult of Mac. “It looks really great.”

Make the most of working at home

Like many, O’Toole recently found himself working at home rather than the office. Fortunately, his converted garage was already in place, conveniently finished prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

O’Toole works on Mac/iOS management and offers home-automation solutions and support. In addition to watching movies and TV on the big screen, he uses his setup for managing his business, with endless conference calls, remote sales and client support.

Paul O'Toole converted his garage into both and office and sitting room.
Paul O’Toole converted his garage into both and office and sitting room.
Photo: Paul O’Toole

Finally, a good use for a garage

“I converted our garage into a home study in 2018 and 2019,” O’Toole said. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, and with coronavirus this year, it’s been a great help with working from home.”

As an IT manager, O’Toole spends a lot time using collaboration and meeting apps like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

“The best part of the setup is definitely the screen,” he said. “You can see so much at once, it definitely gives you a real productivity boost.”

DIY to the max

O’Toole did most of the work in the room himself, including installing the floor, dry-lining, plumbing, woodwork and electrical wiring.

He even included smart lighting for the lamps and main light as well as smart controls for the heating. He installed a lighting ring for his lamps and uses HomeKit and a LightWaveRF system to schedule and adjust heating and lighting.

“The lights come on when I start work, the heating can be set to just warm my workspace rather than the whole house, and when I’m not on conference calls I enjoy decent-sounding music from a stereo pair of HomePods,” O’Toole said.

At the back of the room he added a couple of comfy armchairs for relaxing, reading and taking in movies and TV.

What’s left to do?

“I’d like to upgrade my ’trashcan’ Mac Pro at some point,” O’Toole said, referring to the, er, distinctive 2013 Mac Pro model. “And I’m keen to see what Apple does with the Mac Pro when they add their own chips. Also LG just announced a new ultra-wide display, even bigger than the current one I have. Who doesn’t need a bit more space on screen?”

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