Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Basement

As you may have noticed - especially if you are a Facebook or Instagram friend - we are getting a ton of use out of our now (mostly) finished basement. There are still two rooms that are basically untouched, but we have enough of the basement done that we are getting really good use out of it these days. As a reminder, this is what we started with in 2013.


In 2014 and 2015, we were really only using the space for storage or when a friend would come over and we'd play a game of ping pong or darts. But, we couldn't use it much during the winter because there wasn't a HVAC unit down there and with concrete floors it got pretty darn cold.

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Last year (2016) we decided to start tackling some of the bigger items to get the basement on its way towards finished and usable. Framing, HVAC, electrical, dry wall, paint and floors. This was taken around July.


Lately, it has really started coming together. We now use it every single day and hope to be able to finish the last two remaining spaces down there soon also. It's such a nice addition - something we don't NEED, but is SUCH a nice-to-have area to use.

This is how it looks right this second.

Nevermind the crookedness of this picture. I honestly took it just a few minutes ago and I just uploaded it straight to Flickr. No time for edits.

It. Is. Awesome. I'm having a lot of fun decorating it and putting each area to use. This is how we got from the blank slate in July to where it is now.

From July until October, the flooring was finished and it sat empty for the most part.


Occasionally we would go downstairs to play some darts or Charley would use it to bounce.


In early November, we were finally ready to buy one of the bigger things on our wishlist: a pool table. I used to play pool every single night just prior to meeting John. Being a (very) non-athletic person, it was really fun to have finally found something I was good at. So, I have always known that I would eventually own a pool table and it was the reason we left such a large open space in the basement. November 5th we went shopping for a pool table and weren't really successful. But, being the impulsive people that we are, we DID find something else that day.


We impulsively bought a shuffleboard table and brought it home that day. They had to carry it around back to get it inside.


We had the perfect spot for it, and although we'd only played it a handful of times at bars here and there, we thought it'd be a fun addition to the basement. We had friends over that same night to play. And of course, I had to arrange and hang these signs immediately that same night, too. (We'd been collecting them for a couple years - from garage sales, Christmas presents, etc.)


The very next day, John found a great deal on a pool table on Craigslist and went to pick it up that same day.

A couple weeks later John and I took a day off of work to go shopping for more basement things. We were mainly looking for cabinetry for a dry bar, granite for the dry bar, a beer fridge, and a new couch for the upstairs living room so that we could move what we had to the basement.

Our first stop was the Habitat For Humanity ReStore. One of the local ReStores has a great selection of cabinetry so we were simply hoping to find a couple of lower cabinets that we could paint white. The plan was to have a couple lower cabinets surrounding a beer fridge and then open shelving above. I knew I wanted this wall to be somewhat of an accent wall, but I wasn't totally sure exactly what the accent would be yet. The ReStore was so good to us this day though. We found two lower BRAND NEW, WHITE cabinets (no painting - hooray!), with the protective plastic still on them, for $30 each. They were the perfect width, too. And then, while browsing around the store, I found a huge stack of different laminate wood flooring boxes. There was a darker wood that I really liked, and I decided that would be our accent. I thought the darker color would look nice with our light grey walls and the white cabinetry. We bought one box of flooring and our two cabinets - done!

We were also successful in furniture shopping and found a new couch we liked for upstairs, as well as a pub-height table with attached stools for the basement. The table wasn't on our shopping list because up until then we were planning on building a table. But, we really liked it, so, SOLD!

When we went shopping for the beer fridge, however, we weren't as successful. The ones we had been eyeing (and that were in our budget) weren't going to work in our space because they vented in the back, and ours would be placed up against a wall. The ones that vented out of the front were at least three times the price so we scrapped that for a couple days while we thought it over.

We also found a remnant piece of granite to use for our countertop and ordered that this day too. It was a mostly successful shopping day.

A couple days later, John found an appliance consignment shop that had a few of those beer fridges in stock. They were scratch and dent, but the one we liked was mainly scratched and dented on the top which wouldn't be visible and was priced in our budget. Sold!

In early December, the pieces for the dry bar started coming together.


I LOVE that flooring that we used as a backsplash/accent wall. John just glued it right onto the wall. Easy peasy.

Oh! And, when we chose our granite remnant, the remnant was wider than we needed for the countertop. I tried to think of another use for that little sliver that remained when it finally dawned on me. I asked them to also cut a 7" wide piece for us to mount as a drink ledge. After that was up, I decided to use the remaining laminate flooring from that one box we bought underneath the ledge to help tie that area all together.


We also took a trip to IKEA one weekend because they had the color curtains I wanted to use. While at IKEA, John took notice of this cabinetry unit that was exactly what we had in mind for eventual basement built-ins. Only, we were still going to have to buy the doors because I wanted glass doors. Once we started adding up the cost of just buying the doors, the price of buying the entire unit didn't seem so bad considering the time savings as well.


The only thing I didn't like about it was the lower middle section. But, we checked the website and found another taller piece that could be used instead. While in the store John googled the exact dimensions of our TV to make sure it would fit with the higher middle cabinetry. What do you know - it fit! Almost perfectly! We took all of that home that day. Go in for curtains, come home with an entire wall unit of cabinetry.


Once that was put together, I got to decorate it all. Decorating shelving is definitely one of my top 10 favorite hobbies.


I purchased some baskets today that will fill those cabinets in the middle. Those will be used to hide more toys we'll bring down from upstairs. All games and puzzles are now stored in the bottoms of the two end cabinets and that has freed up space in both Charley and Laney's closets.

That's where we're at right now. Here's how it looks right now again...


...and looking the other way.


That's the majority of the basement. The other areas of the basement are: a gym, a storage room, a guest room with a craft area, a bathroom, and there's one other area that we had considered unusable. It was sort of a wider hallway that we use to access the gym. Due to support walls, we didn't have a lot of say-so with the wall placement so the space really never had a plan. Until, of course, I came up with something to use it for a couple weeks before Christmas: a dress up room for Charley and Laney!


It ended up being pretty easy to pull off though, and Charley especially is thrilled with the area. I'll admit that the only thing I had to purchase were the hooks for the dress up clothing and that picture hung on the wall. Me = hoarder. That dollhouse was another Christmas present, and is on wheels so we just wheel it out to another room when they want to play with it.

The guest bedroom and the bathroom are the two rooms that have not really been touched yet.


The need for a bathroom downstairs is pretty great, though, so that's next on the priority list.

The gym and the storage room are essentially the same as last time I shared them with you, though the storage room is emptying out a little. 

I forgot to take a photo of this area tonight, so this one from the last Day in the Life post will have to do.

There are still several walls that are too bare for my liking so it is, as everything else is in this house, a continuing work-in-progress. But, I'm pretty happy with the progress that's been made. It's one of those things that you never knew you needed until you had it. Especially since basements are not the norm in the south and I've never lived in a house that had one before. We've had family gatherings utilizing it, and hosted a few friends for New Year's Eve in it too. John and I often make our way downstairs after the girls are in bed for the night for a couple games of pool.

Again, I love it. I love that it's not basement-y since it has plenty of windows and light, I love that it isn't (yet) overrun with toys, I love that John and I have a place to play, I love that it all just sort of fell together. I know what you love too - you love the fact that this post is finally over.


Jessica said...

That is gorgeous. I really wished you lived close to me so I could go garage sale-ing and shopping with you! I need someone who knows what they're doing...

sharon mercier said...

I really, really love the pic with all the beer signs AND the 2 toys. Remember when I saw the basement, I said y'all had a whole other house in there?? Love what y'all did with it.

JEN said...

Wow. Amazing. We have a finished basement, but everything is orange. Yours is gorgeous. NICE JOB!

april said...

What an amazing space! This is one thing we miss out on by living in Florida - no basements (and really no attics either! What is that about?)

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Wow - what a transformation! It looks so beautiful! The perfect place for everyone to spend lots of time together!

The Mrs./The Mom said...

This is an awesome basement. Good job!