Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Basement

Remember when I was doing a house tour?

Let's talk about my basement.

Our basement is partially finished.  When you go down the stairs, there is a large carpeted, wood-paneled room.  There is a nice (newly added) full bathroom off of that room.  There's also an unfinished laundry area and storage area.  Off the laundry room is a good-sized guest bedroom.  (Pictures of those rooms will be posted later when the tour continues...)

The extra space is great.  The layout is a little awkward because you have to go through the unfinished laundry room to get to the guest room.  However, it all has lots of potential to be a fabulous space--you know, when we have the time and money to fix it up the way we want to.  For now, I'm sharing it as-is.

Here's what it looked like a few days weeks oh who am I kidding months after we moved in.  Those boxes?  Are full of my books.

And a bunch of other stuff.

Eventually things got slightly more organized, but the books weren't going anywhere.  So we ordered bookcases.

(Thank you Target.com for your back to school sale, free shipping, and 5% Redcard discount.)

The door just visible behind David and to the left leads into the laundry room and then into the guest room.
And then Zuzu helped us put them together.

And finally the basement looked a little less like an episode of Hoarders:  The Book Lovers Edition.  You can see way back into the alcove beyond the bookshelves--that's where my desk is sitting.  That area has been cleaned up and organized since this photo was taken, but it still has a ways to go.  I just can't get really motivated while the walls are still knotty pine and the parts that aren't knotty pine are an unpleasant fleshy beige.

The beige is actually more offensive than it appears in this photo.
(I'm proud to say those three boxes in the corner are empty and are no longer parked in front of the futon!)

Functionally, it's working okay for now.  We don't spend a lot of time down there, but it's a great little "guest suite" for when my parents are in town.

Eventually, though, I want to make some big changes.  Because we have the family room on the main floor, I don't expect that we'll put a television in downstairs, although it's wired so we could do so if we wanted.  I'd rather see that space used as more of a play room / game room / reading room / craft room, especially once we get the laundry area a bit more finished.

Some of the books will go upstairs once we build in bookcases in the front room on the main floor.  However, the bookcases in the basement will not be abandoned!  I still have plenty of books in boxes that can fill their places and I'm always happy to invest in more! (#crazybooklady)  And I like the idea of having coloring books and crayons and other art supplies for Zuzu stored on bookcases for easy access.

My plan for the basement renovation includes painting the knotty pine white.  I have contemplated leaving it because it is original to the house when it was built in 1946 and was evidently quite stylin'.  But you guys.  Stained wood trim is one thing.  The oppression of knotty pine on all sides is quite a different matter.  I cannot handle it.  It makes the basement dark and claustrophobic and I do not like it.  I don't think it's a selling point and I am ready to cover it up.  I have considered whitewashing it so some of the knottiness can show through, but whitewashed wood is kind of rustic, which isn't exactly the vibe I'm going for down there.  It's also more work than just painting it.  So my plan is to paint it a nice, bright, clean white.  Sherwin Williams Dover White, to be specific.

I'm also eager to pull out that semi-shag carpet, which enjoyed some popularity the last few years (I have friends who have good taste who chose to have something similar put in their homes and all I can say is diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks).  It's not like it's heinous.  The color is a perfectly normal neutral, but I just don't care for the shaggy texture.  And for the basement?  I don't want carpet at all.  I want to pull it out and put down cork flooring.  From what I've read, cork flooring is warm and cushiony but it also has the clean look of hardwood floors, which I love.  I want to do it throughout the entire basement, including the laundry area and the guest room.

But even though I can't WAIT to do it, that is a long-term project which requires more time and money than I currently have allotted to the basement.  It just isn't super high on my priorities list at the moment because there are too many other things I want to do in the main living areas of the house.

Still, I absolutely love the idea of dark cork flooring and crisp white walls.  Something like this, only obviously not so formal:

image from here
Lately I was thinking, if I feel flush with cash and want to get fancy, I'd also like to gussy up the drop ceiling with fancy styrofoam tiles--something like these:

from here
Wouldn't that be fun?  With white walls and ceiling, and a rich cork floor, I can use fun, bright accessories to make ti comfortable and kid-friendly--I'm imagining floor poufs and craft and puzzle tables and tidy little cubbies holding toys and craft supplies.  You know, with a place for everything and everything in its place.

I'm inspired by rooms like this, and this, and this.

Don't kill my dream with your talk of reality and kids and messes and picking up after myself.

Anyway, the basement may look like nothing special now, but I have big plans for it!  So...  thoughts on this?  Anyone have experience with cork flooring?  Anyone want to make a case for saving the knotty pine?  Anyone?


  1. What, you mean unpacking the books wasn't the first thing you did? We had our movers pile all the boxes in a cube in the livingroom, and the first thing we did after afixing the bookcases to the walls was unpack the books, because that easily got rid of about half of our boxes. Then we could sort out the rest into which rooms they went in and continuing unpacking.

    After all, a house doesn't really feel like home until it's lined with books.

  2. What a great space to have. When should the Hidalgos visit? And Knotty pine has got to be painted - agreed. The white will look so nice. In fact, just having the white bookcases already makes it seem "lighter" at least from the picture. Love Cooper in the pic. Probably came down to hang out with his people while you worked and was too lazy to move for the picture. That's how Roscoe rolls.

  3. I put cork in the bathroom of my last house - LOVED it. My friend bought our house and she told me just the other day how much she is loving the cork bathroom. She loves it for the same reasons we did - warm and soft on the feet/legs. I found it a breeze to clean, although ours had a slightly glossy finish, and I'm not sure if that makes a difference in the cleaning or not. "Glossy" sounds tacky but it wasn't, and believe me I'm an eggshell-finish kind of girl. It held up really well too - I thought it might mark easily but it didn't. If it holds up well in a room that has the occasional water spill, I can only imagine how well it would hold up in a dry room.

    Love cork.

  4. We just moved to a log cabin. Before this, I may very well have whined and wheedled about your heartless disregard for the beauty of knotty pine. But now? I am surrounded. We're renting, so ... I wouldn't have done much in the way of painting anyway, but owning a house I can paint any color I want is a fond dream of mine, and what this "cozy, warm, adorable" cabin has made me realize is that when I you live in a log cabin, happily painted rooms with delicious colors only become an option with a LOT of extra work. So... now I can't blame you. Paint!! Paint because you CAN!!

  5. Ugh the knotty pine...well really any wood paneling. It's just vile! My entire basement is covered in it, though it's all been painted at least. And drop ceilings. YUCK!

  6. You should take on decorating side jobs in your ample free time. I love your ideas!