Archive | February, 2012

Renovating the basement – Color Palette

28 Feb

Today our basement walls are getting some texture and then it’s just the finishing touches of installation – trim, doors, install light switches, bathroom fixtures, carpet and then we’re in! You know what that means, right? It’s time to shop!

Last time I told you that I had fallen in love with the navy couch I saw on an ep of Sarah’s House, but sadly, I couldn’t get the hubs on board, which led to us spending more than 2 hours at the local furniture store on Saturday looking at couch after couch after couch.

We both were hoping to find a leather set we liked, but finding (real leather) with clean lines is like trying to find needle in a haystack. There is nothing I more than those sofas that are really bulky, puffy and have those flappy arms.  Blech! It wasn’t long before we moved on to fabric upholstered sofas. We sat on a lot of couches and chairs, but Georgia made sure to climb on all of them.  And try and jump up and down.

At this point, we were now having a problem finding a couch that was a good, middle-of-the-road price with quality construction. As we were entering hour 2 of shopping, we ended up back at the brand we bought for our upstairs living room: Jonathan Louis. The thing I love about this brand is more than the good price point – you can choose about ANY kind and color of fabric you want. There has to be 50-60 fabric options, plus, depending on the couch style you get, you get to choose an accent fabric from another 60 choices for throw pillows! Fabulous. Since every couch is custom, it does take a little longer for it to be made and shipped, but I think it’s totally worth it. We chose a sectional with a chaise in a dark gray fabric with a white and gray circle accent pillow fabric. I’ve been pinning (Basement board) like crazy to put together a palette that is fun and casual for the basement and this is what I’ve had running around in my head. At the top right you can see the actual couch fabric and the accent pillow fabric next to it. Then I found the accessories and furniture between Crate & Barrel and Home Decorators. I can’t wait to see it come together in real life.


[ Sources: Home Decorators, Crate & Barrel  (Not actual couch, but is similar is color and shape). ]

You like? It will need some more colorful accents and a light gray paint color to keep the room light, but I’m getting there!

How do you guys visualize your rooms?

Renovating the basement – Drywall

24 Feb

This week was dedicated to putting up drywall, taping and mudding.

I’m not very good at visualizing things, so I was excited to see the spaces change as the drywall went up and really be able to grasp the layout and the size of the rooms. Let me tell you that I was not disappointed!

The first thing that struck me as I walked down the stairs was the size of the hallway/entrance to the basement. I had envisioned it a lot like our upstairs since the layout is really similar, but its so much wider and more open than that.

Walking down the stairs

Looking from the living area

 I’ve also been doing some brainstorming about how I want the living area and Georgia’s play area to work together. I got a lot of inspiration yesterday on my “mental health” day while watching Sarah’s House (about Sarah) on HGTV. Have you guys seen this? Her style is fresh, bright and and a little bit playful. She uses more color than I would normally consider but with textures and mix of prints, it just all comes together so beautifully.

Where is this going, you might be asking? Yesterday as I waited for some laundry to dry, I caught up on the last few episodes of her latest renovation when the color palette in the basement living area struck me. Instead of a brown or tan sofa like more people would choose, she did a sofa in navy blue textured fabric with menswear inspired pillows in grays and shades of blue.

Isn’t it beautiful? (All except for the ottoman, which seems like a little much for me.)

I love the palette and I immediately started searching for navy sofas with killer texture. I also like the picture ledge that runs around the room. Her thought on it was that it added some architectural detail to the room since it’s in the basement and has no windows – it just adds a little something. I love that idea! Do you think I can talk the hubs into installing this all the way around the living room?

I love the idea of a dark navy sofa to add variety to our house. I think it’s an unexpected color without being like, “whoa!” unexpected. We’ll see if I can find one for a reasonable price.

This is the living area if you’re standing at the bottom of the stairs looking to the right into the living area. (Living area/Tv room portion) That rectangular hole halfway up the wall is for mounting the TV, if that helps give you perspective.

This is the living area if you’re standing at the bottom of the stairs looking to the left in the living area (G’s playroom space + closet)

The bedroom isn’t too exciting, so I’m not posting pics, but we did manage to finagle a regular sized closet it there, which will come in VERY useful for storing the things that are currently in the guest bedroom closet upstairs. Those things will have to move eventually – especially if we have another kid in the future.

The bathroom is making progress, too! The tile has been laid on the floor and the floor of the shower, and once we can take the brown paper off I’ll show you pictures and tell you about the tile debacle we went through last week. Aaah, subcontractors. #sarcasm

Now that the drywall is finished it has to dry over the weekend and the guys will be back on Monday to texture. Then it’s trim and doors, paint and then carpet. EEE! We’re so close!

Renovating the basement: The Mess

23 Feb

We are halfway finished with the basement and until this point, I have been dealing quite well with the mess.

Until today.

I woke up this morning feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the chaos that we see: the protective paper taped to the wood floors, furniture moved around, things from the basement filling up the garage and the rest of the house, and the things that I don’t see every day: the dust in the basement from the drywall, piles of broken tile, buckets of grout, mud and everything else that comes with construction.

So, to be honest, today I took a mental health day from work. I needed the day to organize what I could, clean what I could and go to bed tonight feeling better about everything. I know some people who could live in a whole house renovation and be just fine, not me. At one time in my life I wanted to buy a fixer-upper and gut it and make it mine, after this little, miniscule basement project, I’m at my max.

I will be very happy when it’s done – I can’t wait for it to be finished – not only to get rid of the mess but to have more space for my little peach to play with all of her toys.

It will be worth it.


Momma’s helper

21 Feb

Every day our toddler gets more strong-willed. She wants to eat all by herself, she doesn’t want to get dressed if the mood doesn’t strike and tonight she even wanted to read her own books at bedtime.

I figured, why not put all of that drive into something useful, right?

So I’ve been putting her to work! Instead of fighting her or constantly telling her no when she wants to help me around the house, I’ve started letting her help.It takes a little patience – which is a struggle for this Type-A personality, but honestly I love it! I have her help with the small things – like unloading the silverware from the dishwasher one piece at a time, helping me do loads of laundry or picking a shirt out of her closet in the morning.

Last night she helped me fold towels and carried each individual piece of laundry from the dryer to the living room and every time yelled, “Look daddy! I do laundry!” Her face lights up when she is proud of herself and so does mine. I’m amazed at her vocabulary, her comprehension and her ability to do tasks that I wouldn’t imagine a kid 2 months shy of her second birthday could do. When people say it’s the little things in life, it really is with a toddler. The smallest tasks deserve praise, a high five or a hug and a smooch.

We also have gotten into a routine of going to the public library every Monday after daycare. (not yesterday because it was Presidents Day – boo) I like to go as much for me as for her. Growing up, I would spend afternoons after school at the library while I waited for my mom to get off of work and even when I didn’t have to be there, I went. It was quiet and full of books – a great combo, and I’m hoping that Georgia grows to love the library like that, too. Each Monday that we go, we return our books from the week before and make the rounds: rocking in the banana chairs, seeing the big elephant – a paper mache elephant on one wall – and then playing with the trucks and finally picking books to take home for the week. It’s ‘our’ thing and I love the time for just to the two of us to hang out. Her and her daddy have ‘their’ things, but I like ours more. :)

I say it all the time, but I love the age Georgia is at now! I said it at 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and almost every other month until now, but she has turned into a little girl who I have conversations with and now I get t0 share my favorite things with her. Pretty incredible.

And can you believe 2 months from today she’ll turn 2?

Renovating the basement: Electrical and plumbing

17 Feb

We have some good basement progress going here!

The electrical was wrapped up last week, on Monday the plumber was here to run the pipes and prep everything that goes with the bathroom, and we also met with the tile guy to talk about the process there and to dry fit the tiles we bought.

This picture is taken from the doorway of the bathroom. Straight ahead will be the vanity. We’re still on the hunt for an open bottom vanity that we like, and to the left of the vanity will be the toilet.

This picture is taken from inside the bathroom door looking toward the left wall of the bathroom. You can see where the shower controls and shower head will go on the left side of the picture.

You can also see how the treadmill has been spending her days: covered in tarp, only to be uncovered at night. Poor girl. I am looking forward to the day when the basement is finished and it isn’t such a mess down there and I can truly enjoy my runs again.

And here is a good look at the tile and the pattern we’ve decided on. I love the staggered look! What are those yellow lines, you ask? All of the tiles have this yellow chalk mark on them. No idea why, but they do. Our tile guy swears they’ll come off. I hope he’s right!

So yah, good progress!
We also had our first round of inspections and we passed, which is a great sign because the inspectors here are super strict and we had issues with them when we were building our house, so passing the first time is fantastic!

Tiling of the bathroom will continue this week and then Monday: drywall. We are about a week behind schedule due to scheduling the inspections, but that is just fine by me. Again, I can’t wait to see how the basement transforms with walls. It’s my favorite part of the building process, for sure! Minus the mess……

My Curious Girl

8 Feb

Anyone who is a parent has probably signed up for those emails you start to get while pregnant and continue after your babe is born. When I was pregnant it was a great way to track how big the baby was that week, what was developing and honestly, helped the entire experience feel real, because until the baby came, it was all surreal.

Well, with my babe being born almost 2 years ago, I still get the emails and while, the counting of “weeks” has gotten almost ridiculous (93 weeks, really??), the information is still fantastic. I know I shouldn’t, but I use those emails as a benchmark to make sure that Georgia is doing what she should be doing at this age and then a link to read about what other parents are going through who have kids the exact same age.

I opened this email last week and laughed about the ‘affectionate and demanding.’ Georgia can be both in a matter of seconds. Here’s proof:

Over the weekend, I was making Georgia breakfast and she looked at me and said, “You pitty (pretty), momma.” I said, “Aww, thanks honey. I love you.” and she said (no kidding), “I wub you, too,” which, before I could burst into tears, was quickly followed by “Milk, momma! This my milk? No! This MY milk.”

The way she jumps from one thought to another amazes me – and overall she is still our sweet girl, but wow, she has moments where she is impatient and demanding. Most of the time I don’t think she really means to be demanding, I just think those are the sentences that she can get out, but by the end of some days, this momma is exhausted.

The other weekly email I get told me this:

If you know me at all, you know the part of this email that hit home, “Your toddler isn’t trying to drive you crazy by dawdling.”

I know, I know, and on most days I can totally appreciate and enjoy the way she sees the world. I can understand why every night on our way home she wants to find the moon. I can understand why she loves standing outside looking up at the sky, waiting for birds to fly by. I get how she is fascinated by snow and everywhere we go she wants to stop, touch it, walk in it and eat it. There are of course days where I’m exhausted and not as patient in those moments, but I just need to remind myself she’s curious, she’s always learning and I need to put my schedule aside and just enjoy the journey with my little girl.

And with these emails, I’m thankful for the reminder, because sometimes, you just need to let go…and make a fort.

Renovating the basement – Framing

7 Feb

After one full week of construction on the basement, I am happy to report that the clean streak has continued!

To ensure that dust and junk doesn’t travel up the stairway, our contractor has put this up:

A plastic zippy-door! Swoon!

So here one view of the basement now that it’s framed.

The angled doors are almost exactly the same as the layout of our 2nd floor. I was standing in the hallway as I took this picture and I love that it is bigger than I imagined it. It really makes the basement feel open and big – when it’s not.

This shows you the bathroom from further down the hall, in the living room. I marked off the most exciting part of the bathroom – 2 closets! One of the closets will face into the bathroom for towels, extra toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc., and the other one will open into Georgia’s playroom. Hiding toys? YES, please!

This picture just shows the living room, but I really wanted to show you the clean construction in our basement! Extra boards leaned neatly, dust swept into a neat pile. And did I mention that we’re already under the original quote? Are you dying for the contractor’s name? Not yet, my friends. Not yet! On tap this week is electrical and next week starts with plumbing and then drywall. Then it’ll get real!

I snapped a pic of the tile this week, too. This picture actually does justice to the color and the texture of the tile.

After the tile guy saw these tiles, he had some suggestions on how to spice up the bathroom. We took his advice and will be expanding the shower. I’ll tell you about that later, too.

Needless to say, we have a lot of exciting things happening in the house these days. I’ve been pinning like mad and spending every free moment Google-ing and searching for the best deals.

When I’m not doing that, I’m hanging with this silly girl.

100% Sass. And I love it!

Have a great week!

Renovating the basement – Tile on the cheap

3 Feb

Now that the basement is started and framing is underway, it’s time to buy!

This terrifies my husband, but makes me giddy. I seem to have a knack obsession with online browsing and going to all kinds of stores around town to just keep tabs on what they have in stock, but when it comes time to buy….! Eeee!

For a long time now I had wanted to stop by Habitat for Humanity’s Restore in East Des Moines, so when I was over there for work a couple of weeks ago, I talked my co-workers into going in. If you’re not familiar with the Restore, it’s recently moved to a new and bigger location on East Euclid and has tons of things (mostly) donated by contractors, manufacturers, retailers, homeowners, businesses and others with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity. The prices are fantastic and you can definitely find some amazing deals there! Well, I found this beautiful chocolate brown 13′ x 20′ glazed tile. And lots of it!

Why did we need so much tile? In the basement bathroom we planned on tiling the floor, and then because of the size of the door going down to the basement and the size of the egress window, we ended up buying a shower pan and planned on tiling the shower walls, so finding this much beautiful tile was perfect! I went home, told the hubs about it and he was on board, but it took me a few days to calculate how much we’d need and get back there to buy it.

I went back with my VW Jetta and proceeded to load 13 boxes of tile onto my flat cart. At 65 lbs a box, this was a pretty big job.

Then I had to load all 13 boxes into the trunk of my car – and thank goodness I had some other co-workers with me to help :) Needless to say, the 900 lbs of tile in the back of my Jetta was a lot of weight. The front end of my car pointed up and when I turned corners, the body of the car rubbed against the tires. Eek!

I got it all safely home and showed off my find. I knew I’d gotten a ridiculous deal because I’m familiar with the Daltile brand, so I had to look online to see just how good it was. When I finally found a site that sold the exact tile and listed the price, I about died.

(not the actual color, ours is dark brown and almost looks like suede. pics to come.)

You see that? Retails for $662.74 for 13 boxes of tile. Wanna know how much I paid at the Restore? Wanna? Wanna?

$208! For all of it.

True story.

I’ll take some pictures of the tile and share the inspiration for our shower and the rest of the bathroom next time. Until then, get over to your local Restore to find some good stuff for your home and do a good thing.


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