Today, I show you a part of our house that I hate on so many levels. The basement. I have always hated this part of our house since we bought it three years ago. I wish that we would have tackled the issues right away, but because it is the basement it seemed easier to pretend it didn't exist.
I have some photos to start with so that you will truly understand why it has become imperative that we fix the issues. And we have already started to fix the issues as of two weekends ago. Before I show the photos, there are some important things to note so that you won't judge me. (But you probably will anyway. Ha!)
1. The basement is our place to put shit that we don't know what to do with. And those lovely piles of crap that you see are soon on their way to Goodwill or the dump. That's why they are piled there. They are the "get rid of" piles that began as much smaller piles 3 weeks ago.
2. Please excuse the dog hair. We haven't swept in the basement for the past two weeks because we've been moving so much stuff around while installing cabinets and painting walls and such. And of course being that it's currently 95 degrees in Baltimore, Lilah is shedding at an exponential rate. Yes, we are gross. The carpet picks up anything and is something we've wanted to rip out and replace since day one.
3. This is the room we spend the least amount of time in. We've actually started spending more time here because of Orioles games. The tv is in the basement and we watch a lot of baseball. Spending more time here in the past month has led us to become increasingly annoyed at the basement.
Now that I've gotten my much needed disclaimers out of the way, let's take a look. Check out this awesomely disgusting room that is partially not disgusting in the small baby steps we have already taken.
Issue #1: The builder that rehabbed our row house decided it was a great idea to frame out the gas and water accesses with molding and then close them off with white painted plywood screwed into the wall. 1) We can't easily get to the hookups to turn them off in case of an emergency. 2) It is so ugly and makes them stick out even more. 3) Both are larger than need be by about double, so we have built in shelving and drywall patching plans for both.
Issue #2: Along one wall, there was a foot deep concave space in two areas. The ledge, as we called it, was not functional other than to set crap on and hold our tv, stereo, dvd player, Wii, and a gazillion wires. We wanted to put in built-in cabinets, but that isn't in our budget right now. Instead, we purchased $200 worth of white Ikea shelving units, about $50 worth of white melamine coated plywood and made it look like built-ins (sort of). We decided to paint the backs orange for a bright pop of color. We still need to finish that paint job, as you can see.
Issue #3: The walls and carpet are awful. The walls are half-painted with a new gray blue color. Andrew decided on the color scheme because he wanted something very modern. The orange and the blue gray is definitely modern. It took me a while to decide if I liked it or not, but I've decided that I do. I think I will like it even more once the carpet is gone. We're planning on removing the carpet and putting in bamboo flooring. It is affordable and durable if you get the right kind. The white walls that were originally part of the basement were done in a flat white and were dirty and scuffed from people bumping things into the walls. The carpet was already fairly scuzzy when we moved in and continued to get scuzzier due to having a chocolate lab. White Berber carpet and labs just don't mix.
Issue #4: Take a look behind the couch. There is a little bump out ledge along that wall. We've decided that once the flooring and everything else is done, we will move the couch along the short wall with the window. It'll make the room feel wider since the ledge is eating up a foot of space. We have thought about doing some built in seating on top of the ledge, but we're not sure yet.
Issue #5: This is more like a bunch of issues rolled up in one--
The drafting table and chair that you see on the right in the photo above are eating up tons of space. Andrew wanted to keep that so that he would have a space to work at home. Truth is that he has probably used his drafting table three times since we bought the house and even he is getting sick of it. There was this epiphany moment the other day when he said, "I think I'm going to put the drafting table and chair on Craigslist because I'm getting sick of it!" Woooohoooo! I hadn't said a word to him about how annoying it was because I was worried he'd give me the good old "but that's my drafting table" spiel.
The coffee table. It is ugly and was inherited from a previous tenant of the first apartment I had in Baltimore. It needs to go.
The dog crate. Lilah loves her crate. She sleeps in it at night and often during the day too. She goes to her crate when she is feeling stressed out or just needs her own space. It has to stay for Lilah's well-being, but it's so huge and we're not sure where to put it. It most likely will stay in its current place. We think that once the drafting table is gone it won't feel as big.
The stereo and Wii. We need a better piece of furniture than the ugly black cart they are currently sitting on.
As for the piles of crap, they will soon be on their way to Goodwill. Also, while it may appear as though we have guitars strewn all over the place, three of those will go back to their mounts on the wall behind the couch after the wall gets a second coat of paint.
I'll be updating you a bit as we continue this project. As for you, any huge undertakings that you've been doing lately?
Basement Renovation: Part I
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