Finishing the Basement: Done! (Well, Mostly)

We have finally made it! The fastest renovation in history. While we aren’t completely finished (I will break that down at the end), it is done to the point where it is usable and contractors aren’t in our home every day. Sources linked at the end. So without further ado, the (mostly) finished basement!

Also, keep in mind that any decorating or furniture is simply placed there at this point. It is not decorated or complete in that aspect, merely finished. Mostly. Sorry, without further ado…

The view coming in from the garage. I still smile every time I walk through the door!

Turning slightly to the left. Where that giant TV is, I would like to put a smaller one and a full length mirror. This was the TV we had in the living room in our old house, but we upgraded when we moved in. So if anyone wants a giant TV, let me know 😉 You can see some of the workout equipment found a home in that little nook under the stairs. While that won’t be their home forever, it is nice to have them out of the way until we actually set up the workout area.

Here’s a little closeup of that under-the-stairs nook, sans equipment. Super cute, right?

I am picturing a ton of pillows, books, and some other toys for the kids when they want to hang out with me while I am working out.

This is the view standing in the guest room looking out. That little storage unit is a placeholder until my uncle installs our built-ins (praise hands!). I am picturing a storage closet on the left and right of that bump out, with a bench and cubbies in between. Check out my Pinterest board for the basement to see what I am brainstorming! I picture all our kid shoes and jackets (the kid stuff is out of control!), winter gear, and sporting equipment having a nice, organized home here. Eventually.

Now turning slightly to the right, standing in the guest room doorway. That is the door that goes out to the garage. I am planning on putting a treadmill in the corner, maybe a spin bike and a weight rack on the right wall.

Looking at the garage door, stairs to the first floor on your right. The built-ins would be on your left here. Can you picture it? My mind is racing with the potential!

You can see the area where the built-ins will go a little better here. (Pardon the orange. Not at all how it is in person!)

Now onto the guest room! This was taken before the trim was done or I mopped. But you get the gist.

We actually fit a queen bed in here! It is tight, but it fits AND we got two small nightstands. I can’t wait to show you more! That door there is the closet/AC unit.

Because of the tight squeeze, picture taking is difficult. Here is my attempt at an angle where you can see the other side of the room.

Onto the office! This is the room on the other side of the stairs. This is the hallway, with the office behind you. The door directly ahead is the water pump. Having the door there would give us easy access to change the filters and turn the water on/off if needed. The door on the left is where the mechanicals and storage is. I will spare you the horror of seeing that room. It needs some major work… We installed an oversized door so we can easily move in/out bigger object if needed.

If you did a 180 degree turn, here you are, in the office! Again, not styled, so don’t judge. Do you spot anything new? Maybe a WINDOW?! This was one addition I was adamant about adding, and I am glad I stuck to my guns. It lets in so much natural light! Since Marcus uses the office daily, it was important for him to have actual daylight. If you are ever considering adding a window, just do it. You will never regret adding more light!

This is the view if you walked into the room and turned around. This acts as a second guest room (hey, pull out couch!) so safety wise, I liked the idea of having a window for a quick exit in case of emergency.

Standing further back. You can see this is actually a pretty good size room! With the couch pulled out (because of course we had to break it in the weekend it was finished! Told you we have guests over a lot!) it fits right up to the desk. Of course you can move the desk back more, but we still have a little wiggle room which is nice.

We are almost done with the tour! If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. I am impressed! So remember how I said we aren’t completely finished? Well here’s one of the big ones. We still haven’t installed the stair treads. The walls in this hallway (and a few other areas) need to be finished a little better and painted again. It isn’t super noticeable, just something that I notice and will drive me nuts #perfectionist. 

Excuse the cute little assistant.

You can also see the mess of wires from the TV. Wires are my nemesis!

This is the view coming down the stairs. You can also see the mess in the basement before I cleaned for pictures. Real life, right? (Also, if you are reading this and recognize those shoes, they were left at Eloise’s party. Please claim them!).

And now you are on the first floor looking down! That mirror is coming down (poor placement if you are using the powder room and the door is open. Not that I know from experience. I have kids, ok? You are welcome for that visual) and I think I will do a couple picture ledges.

So that’s it! For now. We are so thrilled with how it came out! Obviously we still have a lot of work to do to button it up, and a long way to go in terms of decorating. But at this point we can pick away at it slowly instead of rushing to get it done. See below for sources! 

Items that needs to be done still:

Stair treads

Install handrail in stairway

Add new light in hallway

Add built ins

Switch out TV

Add mirror in gym area

Finish sanding/painting rough areas

Finish out closets

Add picture ledge leading up to office

Organize mechanical/storage area

Thanks for following along 🙂

As a side note, the colors are hard to show exactly as they are in person. The gray is the perfect gray with no purple or green undertones. The floor is a true brown with little orange influence.

Walls: Grey Owl, lightened 50% (colormatched in Behr)
Floors: Red River Hickory COREtec Laminate 
Doorknobs: Schlage Gregorian style in oil rubbed bronze  
Contractor: CR Ayers (603)553-0517 and as side note, yes, he is my uncle. But his work is phenomenal and reasonably priced! I highly recommend if you live in the New Hampshire/Massachusetts area.

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Finishing the Basement: Now It’s Getting Real

My mother in law was up a couple weekends ago from Pennsylvania for Eloise’s birthday party. (Sidenote: She’s ONE? How?!). I was talking to her about the home, the basement, and organizing the house in general. Basically I was apologizing for the condition my home was in. She gave me a good reality check because in the scheme of things, we had only been living in this home for seven weeks. That isn’t even two months! In that time we have done more unpacking and renovating than anyone should. So totally a tangent, but that’s my excuse to not give an excuse for being more consistent with blogging. I have been a little busy. One of these days I will get my act together and be more organized!

Carrying on, if you’ve followed along with the basement series, we started with the before, and last was the framing. Now we are onto the more glamorous and big impact items- sheetrock and drywall! Cue the confetti! This is where it gets exciting.


From this angle is where you would be walking in from the garage. This is the workout area, and the doorway to the left is the guest room. Crazy awesome, right?! That little nook under the stairs is going to be a fun little area for the kids if they want to join me while I work out.


Guest room!


Isn’t it a thing of beauty?


It is a little harder to tell (and photograph), but this is the inside of the guestroom. Yes, it’s small. But it’s just a guest room. Guests aren’t meant to stay forever 😉


And here’s the office! Where the door is propped up is where a window will be cut in. Just use your imagination to picture the beautiful natural light. Looks good, right?!


Backing up a bit, looking at the office down the hallway.

We are getting close! I’ve had some people ask why we are rushing a renovation when we just moved in. I wouldn’t call this renovation rushed, rather pressured. I’ve mentioned before that Marcus works from home, and since we have three little people under foot, the first floor office wasn’t a viable option for him. So we turned the upstairs office into a playroom for the kids, and that’s why we are building him an office in the basement. Less noise. Less disruption. And we also have guests staying at our home all the time, so we figured to do it all at once and finish off the guestroom as well.

We are almost done!
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Finishing the Basement: We Have Walls!

Sorry for the delay. Between my computer charger going missing (it was in my living room…) and misplacing my camera cord (it was in the bag…), I was losing my mind. I have found out I am not one of those bloggers who are super organized and can do projects and document them at the same time.

So, here we are! Basement progress! I left off here with the before pictures of the basement and included what our plans were. I can’t even tell you how awesome it is coming along! Even better than the plans.

The lumber has arrived! Please don’t mind the trash… we just moved in!


My awesome dad helping us frame in the first wall!


That’s my brother. This picture pretty much sums him up. He’s off the market ladies, sorry 😉


Framing up the second wall! This is going to be the wall that separates the office and the mechanical/storage area.


Different angle, but looking at from inside the office.


Check it out! Looks like a room! This is the workout area, and that doorway will open into the guest room.


The little hallway into the guest room.


This is the guest room closet. We had to hide the air conditioning unit, so we bumped it out to make a huge closet. It works out nice and makes up for the smaller room, so that guests can store suitcases and other items in here.


Back over to the office, this will be the closet. Conveniently hiding a giant plumbing pipe.


My handy hubby putting up a wall! He did a ton of the work himself, did I mention that? I am so proud of him. On top of working a full time job and balancing a family, somehow he learned how to finish off a basement as well. So thankful for that man!


Here’s that wall put up. Have you seen anything more beautiful? 😉


Instead of installing baseboard heat, we opted for an in-wall heater in each room. Much more cost effective option, and perfect for the amount the rooms will be used.


These aren’t as exciting, but you can see some of the electrical work that was done. Electrical work is definitely beyond our skill level, so we had my uncle who is well qualified to do this for us. He installed all the outlets, overhead lighting, heaters, and anything else that involved possible electrocution.

Sorry the pictures aren’t the greatest. Most of the work we did was at night after the kids went to bed, so naturally all these are with flash.

So that’s it for the framing and electrical. I know, not super exciting. Next up we will check out the sheetrock and the things that REALLY make a difference! Stay tuned!

 

Here are some of the tools that made our life so much easier:

Impact gun

Table saw

Fastener tool

Work bench ladder

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Finishing the Basement: Before Pictures and Plans

Two weeks into owning our new home, my husband looks at me during dinner. “Want to finish the basement off tonight?” Um, yes.

It was something that we were planning on having done, just the timing was never set in stone. Now is as good as time as ever! We actually really needed it done because Marcus works from home and with three kids under four, he needed an office way away from the noise. The house has a first floor office but we are using that as a playroom while the kids are young and noisy… We learned the hard way in our last home that kids on the same level as work does not go well!

So that night after the kids went to bed, we demo’d a small room that had been framed out and moved all our things into the unfinished portion of the basement and into the garage. What can I say, when we decide on something we get it done.

So this is what it looked like when everything was cleared out. Boring, I know. But at least you can see the general layout.

Stairs to the right of the frame, garage door to the left.

Same area, looking straight on.

View from the garage door looking in. Where you see the junk is where a wall will be for the mechanicals and storage.

Here’s a mockup of the basement. The little room on the top wall was the one we removed. If you’ve watched the progress over on Instagram I’ve shown a general layout of what we are going to do. 

 

You can see by our very official green lines of our anticipated layout. It has changed slightly since we physically laid it out, but not by much. Basically we are dividing the basement into four areas: office, guest room, workout/mudroom area, and mechanicals/storage.


We are undecided which room is going to be which at this point. I am team guest room on the right. My reasons are:

  1. More room for a bed
  2. More room for guests (which we have a lot) and the accompanying baggage that comes with them. So room for suitcases, crib for baby, etc.
  3. Because it will look better aesthetically…

Marcus wants the bigger room to be the office. His reasons are:

  1. He pays the mortgage so he should get the bigger room.

I mean I can totally see his point of view. So we will see where we end up 🙂 But I digress…

Now onto the cool stuff! Here is the space in 3D so you can really visualize the layout. Awesome, right? It isn’t perfect (there won’t be a wall in the stairs obs) but it’s close.

   

So that is part one. There is a lot more coming! Stay tuned 😉


 

 

Budget Basement Playroom

As winter approaches (and is knocking on our door-temps of 25 degrees in the morning yesterday!), we really were needing a fun place inside where the kids could get their energy out. We have a large living room with lots of toys, but not a place where they could really throw a ball around. I was over my friend’s house a few weeks ago and was checking out her playroom in her basement- it was brilliant! They had an older home like ours, but the space was still useful and fun for the kids. I don’t know why we didn’t think about adding a play area in our basement previously, but I was inspired. So I mentioned it to Marcus and he was fully on board.

We got started almost right away. Because the mister was so enthusiastic, I had to snap a quick before picture, in true blogging fashion. So, warning- it isn’t pretty. But it gives you an idea what it looked like!

Basement Playroom Before Picture

On a related note, how do we have so much junk?!

Since our home is on the market and we won’t be here for too much longer (we hope), we didn’t want to put a ton of money into it. So we tried to be as cost-effective but safe, and fun, as possible.

Since our basement isn’t finished, we had to do a few small things to make the area safe for the kids. That meant rearranging everything, clearing an area, moving anything dangerous like chemicals or paint, and padding the support poles. Our first stop was Home Depot to pick up the not as fun materials. We then ran over to Toys R Us. Not because we needed anything in particular, but we did end up leaving with a  [eafl id=742 name=”hotwheels” text=”Hotwheels playmat”] and a [eafl id=743 name=”paw patrol poster” text=”Paw Patrol poster”] (my attempts to thwart were futile- I’m not a huge character fan. I mean, they don’t even watch the show. I know, boring mom).

Then came IKEA. Oh IKEA, I could sing of your organizational praises all day long. We made it out sticking pretty close to our list, which is a miracle in of itself. And no meltdowns from anyone, even after three stops and being out all morning. Win!

So after an afternoon of setting up and a couple of days of tweaking, we have a playroom! We have spent more hours here than I can count. Safe to say this was a good investment! I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Now it is a basement, so nothing fancy, but our kids love it just the same!

Let’s get right into it. Our basement stairs are located right off of the kitchen, so it is convenient for me to listen (read:moderate/referee). But, the stairs are also pretty steep and the lighting wasn’t the best. Enter, [eafl id=744 name=”tap light” text=”tap light”]. Guys. I can’t stop singing the praises of these things! For short money, these helped illuminate the poorly lit stairs. We placed it low so the kids can just sit and tap it on or off. Simple!

tap light

Also, giant box of mac and cheese #SAHM. Real life people.

dress up station

We set up a little dress up station for Scarlett at the bottom of the stairs. I knew my girl liked to dress up, but wow. Having the dresses hung up instead of in a basket has brought her dress up game to a whole new level. My mama heart is so happy.

basement playroom Not the best angle, but right past the wardrobe is my workbench. Honestly this will probably move and will be replaced by the kids’ kitchenette once we get it out of storage this weekend. But for now, it stays. In the corner we did a little reading nook. Scarlett was never much of a reader until this year, and now both of the older kids can’t. get. enough. So a reading nook was perfect!

reading nookMy husband saw these little floating clouds at IKEA and insisted we buy them. I didn’t oppose. I mean, how cute! (And yes, hanging cords. Our kids are very well-versed in safety and know not to touch them, and the first time they do they are going away. Cords freak me out.)

reading nook

View from the reading nook. We picked up the classic [eafl id=745 name=”KALLAX” text=”KALLAX”] unit with green and pink [eafl id=746 name=”storage bins” text=”storage bins”]. The ultimate for toy storage! And please note our professional pole wrapping job (pool noodle for the win!). basement playroom

[eafl id=747 name=”pampers cruisers” text=”Diaper”]changing station. Because two kids in diapers.

diaper changing station

My daughter is obsessed with horses. As in she will speak of nothing else. So, Marcus had the great idea of creating a little grass paddock area with [eafl id=748 name=”fake grass” text=”fake grass mat”]. Brilliant! And cool story, the barn was originally made by my mom’s maternal great uncle from old wood from a barn. Then, it was fixed up by her paternal grandpa, and then my uncle refinished it for Scarlett for Christmas last year! barn area

Looking back to the stairs. Tents and tunnels, of course.

img_5679-27

You can see we created a “wall” to separate the basement into a play area and storage area. We used IKEA [eafl id=749 name=”VIVAN” text=”VIVAN curtain panels”] ($10 a pair!) and hung it up with twine and screws. Fancy, I know. We had to curve the panels around pipes and 2x4s, so it was the easiest option. And, it worked perfectly! (I have these curtains all over my house. You just can’t beat the price!)

tent

I hope you enjoyed our little tour! I know it isn’t anything fancy, and a lot of what we used we already had, but I hope it maybe inspires you. Do you have a play room for your kids? What is your favorite organizational tool? Does your child like to dress up as much as mine? Dress up for life!

Some items used:

 

[eafl id=745 name=”KALLAX” text=”KALLAX”] shelving unit

[eafl id=750 name=”garment rack” text=”RIGGA”] garment rack

[eafl id=751 name=”rug” text=”LAPPLJUNG rugs”]

[eafl id=752 name=”HAMPEN rug” text=”HAMPEN rug”]

[eafl id=753 name=”caravan tent” text=”HEMMAHOS caravan tent”]

[eafl id=749 name=”VIVAN” text=”VIVAN curtain panels”]
[eafl id=742 name=”hotwheels” text=”Hotwheels playmat”]

[eafl id=744 name=”tap light” text=”tap light”]

[eafl id=748 name=”fake grass” text=”fake grass mat”]

[eafl id=754 name=”alphabet floor tiles” text=”Alphabet floor tiles”]

[eafl id=755 name=”cushioned floor tiles” text=”Cushioned floor tiles”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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