Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Awesome Basement Re-do Starts with Something I Said I'd Never Do

Oh hey, what are you doing this summer? I'm outlining a new novel for middle graders while renovating our basement.

As I've mentioned here before, I find that this whole thinking and planning stage of the writing process goes more smoothly if I regularly take time to let my mind just wander while I'm doing something active. Taking long walks is good. Painting (walls, not canvas) is also very meditative, if also carpal-tunnel inducing. I've done a lot of painting in the last few months.

I decided to finally tackle our basement, which has been on the to-do list since we had a minor flooding issue almost two years ago, followed by a naughty cat (then another cat, then a dog) issue. This all led to boxes of books being thrown out (sigh, still upset about that), carpet being ripped up, which was yucky anyway, so that's fine, and an agonizingly slow redecorating process, interrupted by screams of "What are we going to do with this cat?"*
I don't normally mind pulling up old carpeting, but this was moldy and peed on. Lots of bleach went on this floor afterwards. Oh, and I took a nice long shower.

One door leads to a full bath, the other to the unfinished part of the basement with the laundry, etc.

Second door that leads to the unfinished side of basement. Why? Don't know. The tiny door under the stairs now holds bedding for the pull out sofa bed.

As you can see, the basement was "finished" previously, but it was dark, with dark tan walls, dark carpeting. We had an old desk down there because when we bought the house, I had planned to use the basement as my office. That didn't work out. I hated being down there, in the dark, by the cat litter boxes, all my work stuff out in the open for my then-toddler to grab.  The basement was used very little for the last few years, but as the kids got older, we wanted a place where we could hang out as a family to watch movies and where they could hang out together when they wanted to have some screen time.

So, regarding my heading, what did I say I'd never do? PAINT WALLS WHITE. I love color, but in this dark basement, with just the window wells for natural light, I decided to break tradition and start with bright white walls and trim, and what a difference it made! We used to have natural light down there only during portions of the afternoon. Now, we can sit down there at any time of day, without the need for artificial light, though I added numerous sources of that as well. (Tip...if you've got window wells, clean them up and paint them white, which will reflect even more light into the room.)

This finished portion of our basement might be small, but we expected it to do a lot for us. I'm really a stickler about rooms being, not just pretty, but functional, and I'm so pleased that the new basement fills both requirements.


Instead of color on the walls, I got it in the furniture, starting with the blue velvet couch. I searched for awhile to find a combo of bookcases and TV stand that would fit the wall so perfectly they'd *almost* seem built-in. A neighbor wanted to get rid of the loveseat, which I gladly took, adding the chair and tables for a very cozy spot for our family movie nights.

The little spot by the stairs became the kids' computer area, which these days is devoted to Minecraft. The chairs are my favorite thing there. On the other side of the stairs is our exercise space and an etagere for our printer and other office supplies.




It really feels it many ways like we have a new house. We spend so much time down there now. It took a long time to do all that painting/furniture assembling/etc., but I did do some great brainstorming on my new book while I was at it, and so now it's back to working on that, until I tackle the next room!

Bonus: saved several biology posters, which were headed to the dumpster. They were coming apart, but a little Mod Podge put them back together. Doesn't everyone need to know the Life History of Ferns?


*cat is fine, though old and toothless, living the high life in a nice set-up in our garage and regularly visiting with neighbor kids

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