Saturday, March 04, 2017

A Totally New Kind of Project


Now that you’ve seen the finished work in the basement it’s time to head upstairs for a new project. Since buying our first home a dozen years ago we’ve done four kitchens, nine bathrooms and innumerable other projects both small and large. But this time we’re trying something totally new: a nursery.
We’re not really sentimental, emotional people so I wanted to create a calm, useful space instead of packing this small room with all sorts of decorative baby crap paraphernalia. Some friends were nice enough to give us their spare crib, I found the rocking recliner at a thrift store and we already had the fireplace and the dresser that we are using as a changing table.
We did add a few decorative elements to dress up the space, a mirror that was too large to use in the basement bathroom, some curtains and a few moose prints for the walls. Once the kiddo is old enough to have a personality and interests of her own we can find some decorations she enjoys. For now I might as well have something that I like and can be reused elsewhere in the house later.
It will be a few months until this room gets any use. For now it's the domain of the cats.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Basement Bathroom Reveal

The basement bathroom has gone through multiple phases since we bought the house. It started as space that was totally open to the rest of the basement, but at least the plumbing was in place.
During the many months when the first floor was out of commission we used it as a temporary kitchen.
It then became my office
But eventually we were able to turn it into an actual, functional bathroom.
Most of the items in this bathroom were clearance finds or leftover from other projects, but they actually work together pretty well. Though not my favorite layout it is clean, bright and feels spacious.
Luke and I love the shower tile.  It's has a glossy, easy to clean surface and the vertical orientation should keep the grout lines from holding water.  Luke started finding excuses to shower down here even before the bathroom was finished.
I think we need a cabinet over the toilet for storage. I've been keeping my eyes out for the right one but it will be hard to find one that matches the vanity. For now we don't need the storage so we'll live without.
Next up the basement bedrooms, they've been  90% finished for months now.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Family Room Before and After

When we bought the house the basement was classified as unfinished. The previous owners had made a haphazard effort to convert some of it into living space, but the carpentry was so bad that you would have to be drunk to consider it livable. From what we have heard about the previous owners drunk was probably how the work was done. Anyway, this space at the bottom of the stairs was used as two bedrooms; one directly in front of you and the other through the door to the left.
We moved the bedrooms to the far corner of the basement so they could share an egress window well and used the two bedrooms as one large media room.
The tray ceiling hides the pipes for the radiant floor heat and also distracts the eye from the beam running down the middle of the room. While we needed the tray in in one spot for practical reasons running it all the way around the room created a nice visual effect.
The basement stays comfortably warm from the radiant heat for the 1st floor but we also added a gas fireplace. The ambiance is nice and it also gives us a backup source of heat if we lose power.
Because this space is primary for watching movies we painted the ceiling a dark color to keep the tv screen from reflecting on the ceiling. Dimmable wall sconces also make for easy viewing.
We kept the hallway ceiling at the same height as the tray ceiling. It provides a visual distinction between the hallway and the media space.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

We Suddenly Have a Family Room

The last time I posted any photos of the family room it looked like this
We cleaned it up a bit in preparation for the drywall
And then I didn't bother to take any photos until we had the carpet installed.
We're not finished yet.  We still need to finish the fireplace and get some trim installed, but the room is looking infinitely better.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Laundry Room Evolution

 After four houses Luke and I have changed.  Our tastes and ideas have evolved.  Our abilities and budgets have increased along the way and I think this is most obvious in the evolution of our laundry rooms

Rapid City, SD
Before - Our first home had a large laundry room.  With so many holes in the walls we had a lot of mice to contend with at first.
After - Although the room was spacious we had almost no storage.  Luke was in college and I was paying his tuition so there wasn't a lot of money left over for cabinets.  It was my first time laying tile and I was immediately hooked.


Wenatchee, WA
Our second house had a very small, very gross laundry room.  The wall was full of mold and the gap under the door did nothing to keep mice out.  We removed the window so we could stack the washer and dryer.


The stacked washer/dryer allowed space for a few cabinets and a drying rack.  Because the laundry room was directly off the kitchen we matched the cabinet and countertops for continuity.


Butte, MT
Our third house started with this laundry nook in the kitchen.
 We removed the wall to open up the kitchen to the living room so the laundry room was relocated to a corner of the basement.  The bathroom is on the left, the future laundry room on the right.
The new basement laundry room featured a butcherblock style counter over the laundry appliances. 
 The controls for the hydronic heat system are hidden behind the louvered doors.  Cabinets below provided a lot of extra storage.
Helena, MT
Our latest laundry room started as an unfinished corner of the basement.
Somehow this room morphed into a mini-kitchen more than a laundry room.  Cherry cabinets, tile backsplash, undercabinet lighting...I'm not sure where to draw the line between a few nice features and overkill.
If our pattern holds true we'll have to step it up for our next house, but I'm really not sure how short of hiring a maid who actually does the laundry room for us.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Laundry Room Before & After

 Three years ago the laundry room was just a messy corner of the basement.
We turned one wall into a large utility closet which made for a smaller laundry room, but left it looking cleaner.
Eventually the little room got a new window, lights and insulation.
A few weeks later the room was finished. 
The floor tile was a clearance find for $.57 per sq ft.  We bought it three years ago and have moved the boxes at least a dozen times over the last three years.
 Last year I debated buying a premade laundry room sink and cabinet from Costco but balked at the $299 price tag.  Instead we bought cherry cabinets from craigslist, a sink and faucet from Restore and I built the countertop out of sheetformica.  Total cost $245.
The pattern on the formica can hide just about anything.
That $245 price tag also includes the cabinet on the other side of the room over the freezer.  I had LED undercabinet lighting leftover from the kitchen.  I had to buy an $8 power supply from Amazon but it was worth it to have light when rooting through the freezer.

In addition to the laundry room we are just about finished with the family room.  The carpet should be installed on Thursday so I should have more photos soon.


Friday, September 02, 2016

Building the Basement Bedrooms

When I last posted I shared photos of the framed basement bedrooms
I'm pleased to report that the bedrooms are looking a little more complete.
 The window seats provide the perfect little reading nook and will also make it easier to get out of the egress windows in an emergency.
The bedrooms will now be ignored for months until we get the carpet installed.  There's a lot to do in the rest of the basement until then.




Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Final Phase of the Remodel Begins

After months of work on the exterior and landscaping I am finally ready to begin the final phase of the remodel : finishing the basement.  We've already done some preliminary work, so let's do a brief update on what has been accomplished so far.
Before -The previous owners used the open space at the bottom of the stairs as a bedroom.  The door on the left led to a non-compliant bedroom.
In progress -We gutted the entire basement and started from scratch.  This is shot from approximately the same angle as the photo above. The open space at the bottom of the stairs and the former bedroom will now be our media room.
Before -The basement was already plumbed for a bathroom. 
In progress - We framed in the walls and will be putting in a dropped ceiling to accommodate the plumbing for the upstairs bathroom.
Before - The laundry room 
 In Progress - We added a utility closet for the hydronic controls and water softener.  We also moved the washer and dryer locations so they will not block access to the electrical panel.
The previous laundry room did not have a door.  We added an angled door at the end of the hallway so laundry noise would not interfere with the media room.
 Before - The storage room adjacent to the laundry was framed as a bedroom but never finished.
 In Progress - We framed two bedrooms into this corner of the house.  The mirrored layout allows the bedrooms to share a single egress window well, eliminating the need to cut more holes in the foundation.
There's a lot of work to be done and of course a lot of money to be spent, but I'm excited to start on the basement and not be working in the heat outside.