When we bought this house in 2008, we had some ideas on how to make it ours. Some of the ideas were simple (paint), some a bit more complex (landscaping). This past fall we began looking into the idea of finishing our basement. The Living Room on the main floor is pretty small- not that we do a ton of entertaining, but having the option for us to spread out is ideal. A few ground rules before we got started…
1. This space would allow my husband to have a say in the decor- no flowers allowed. The inspiration was the object of our affection, The Mistress (Harley)
2. The space needed to be cozy enough for a family room, but practical enough for a play room.
3. This was a DIY project.
We He would do all the work ourselves himself. Our goal was to keep this around a $5,000 budget- and it was pretty close.
I didn’t do a stellar job getting pictures through out but you’ll get the idea. Here we go…
The stair case:
As you may notice, the staircase was completely replaced. The original (which I didn’t take a picture) had openings under each step, the railing was an old pipe that really didn’t fit the height needed for a railing (safety concern). At the top of the steps is the landing, where we were storing all of our shoes, hats, etc. That was removed and that reveal will come at a later date (maybe).We added a half wall to the steps to be a bit safer. Also to make creative use of space- little man has a play area under the steps that also houses many of the toys that were previously laying/stacked in the living room. The door is painted with chalkboard paint- again a way to make creative use of space.
What you don’t see in any of the before pictures, were the 3 poles that were supporting the floor/ceiling. In order to open the room we needed to removed those poles, which meant reinforcing the ceiling. Ironically in doing that we also took a few squeaks out of the wood floors on the main level. I think the greatest learning opportunity came with the husband learning about how to run all the electrical work. Thankfully my dad has a background as an electrician so he was a good troubleshooting resource. As you can see in the before pictures we just had what I like to call “garage” fluorescent lighting. In addition to lighting we also added electrical outlets all over the place, and ran the cables through the walls for tv and other media options.
Exterior Walls: There technically 3 exterior walls for this space. The foundation was made with cement and stacking 2×8’s…all done by hand. Which was interesting when you are trying to create a flat wall. Also you might notice above, the stair case butted up to the exterior wall and we really had no option of moving or expanding the stair case.
I’m a hug fan of angles. We wanted the focus of the room to be drawn to the fireplace (which we did all the design work ourselves- that was a true testament to our marriage!), while also having the TV visible throughout the room. I also wanted the ledge along the south exterior wall (Left wall in pictures above) to tie into the mantle. The challenge I mentioned above really came in with this south wall. Somehow we needed to do something to that wall in order to give it a finished look. We decided on gluing Wayne’s coating to it, then painting it. Good in theory, but uneven walls makes that a little more interesting. We got it to work well enough to fit our needs, and while I don’t have a picture directly of the Wayne’s coating wall, you can see in the “during” pictures that it makes it look much more finished. We also replaced the windows (originally just storm windows).
The built in entertainment center and wall mounted TV was a way to open up floor space. It’s functional enough for the husband to go done and watch tv while little man is entertaining himself with the door to his play room. We filled the room with furniture (for now) with what we had. We did pick up a few pieces at an Estate sale (more on that later). I’m anxious to add some life to the room.
The only things left to do are pretty minor- fill a few gaps of trim, touch up paint, and get cupboards/counter top for the corner across from the stairs (no shown). We figure that gives us greater flexibility of space when people do come over and I need to have food out!
A huge thank you goes out to my husband for listening to all of my particular ideas and making it happen. Do you think we accomplished what we set out to do?