Tag Archives: renovating the basement

It’s coming together

16 May

The second coffee table arrived from Target.com and miraculously wasn’t damaged, so the basement is starting to look a little more put together.

And Ari is such a diva. I walked downstairs with the camera to snap these pictures and of course he followed me (he has a serious fear of being alone or left somewhere). As soon as he saw where I was pointing the camera, he jumped up on the couch and posed. No joke.

The table is a Target.com exclusive piece and as soon as I saw the simple lines, the criss-cross bottom, and the dark stain that isn’t too cherry, I knew it was perfect. You can buy it here. (and now it’s on SUPER SALE, of course)

Not only are things shaping up inside the house, our landscaping outside is looking pretty lush. I think this might be my favorite time of year in Iowa. Late spring, when everything is in bloom.

I mean, check out these knockout roses that we have in front of our house!

I’m no gardener, so when the guy at the landscaping store told me these are super simple to take care of year to year AND they continue to bloom and bloom all summer long, I was sold! Though I’ve noticed that a lot of the leaves have little white dots/holes in them. Any thoughts? Aphids?

We also are currently hosting a small family at our house….a small (soon-to-be) family of robins!

Last week I heard a lot of chirping outside our master bedroom, which is at the front of our house off of the upper deck, and when I finally remembered to peek out when I heard the noise, I saw this.

If you know me at all, you know I hate birds. They’re dirty and freak me out and when they build nests and people mess with them, they can get hostile! You can guarantee I wasn’t getting anywhere near that nest, but finally I got the hubs to peek in on it when the momma (daddy?) bird was gone and we saw exactly what we were afraid we’d see. An egg.

So, as much as I loathe birds and the bird crap that is ending up all over our deck, the egg is fabulous shade of blue AND I can’t bring myself to  knock down this nest now that we know for sure there is an egg in there. I’m not totally heartless. That poor momma birdie would be heartbroken and I just can’t do that, so I’ve been googling how long robin eggs take to hatch, because as soon as that baby bird can fly outta there, that dirty nasty nest is gone. Well, I’ve learned a few things. Robins lay 1 egg per day, so if she laid that egg today or yesterday, there might be more eggs coming. I also learned once all of the eggs are laid, that momma will snuggle in for 12-14 days! Then, once they hatch, it takes 9-16 days before the babies can leave the nest. I guess we’ll be staring at that icky dirty thing for a while longer. You’re welcome, Momma Robin. You’re Welcome.

UPDATED: I’m pretty sure these don’t come from the factory this way

11 May

UPDATE: We finally took the table out of it’s beautiful packaging yesterday and oddly enough, it was unscathed! It was a Mother’s Day miracle, I think. :)

But honestly, the table is really sturdy and the color is great with the gray couch and wall color – the only downside is that it’s a bit lower than I would’ve liked…but I think we’re going to just go with it. It’s one more thing we can check off the basement ‘To Do’ list. 



Since we started putting the basement together, I’ve been slowing checking things off of my “Basement” inspiration board on Pinterest. Finally we got around to ordering the coffee table from Target.com. Don’t get me wrong, I loooove me some Target, but I’ve been less than impressed with this purchase.

Here is the coffee table we ordered.

It is exclusive to Target.com so we had no choice but to order it online, but since I’ve gotten my Target Debit card (that’s right, not credit card – DEBIT card. It’s awesome), we haven’t had to pay shipping from Target.com, which makes big purchases less painful.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, we ordered the table. It arrived in a box that was pretty mangled and you could hear the screws rolling around freely inside – which is never a good sign –  but the hubs opened up the box and started putting it together. There was a sizeable nick on the bottom of the table, but I’ve been waiting for this so long I didn’t care. Then he flipped the top of the table over and there was a big ‘U’ shaped  scratch on the top. Shit.

Thankfully, we could return the table to a Target store, so we did that and then ordered another one online.

It arrived today and check out this box.

Do they use regular packing tape in the Target.com factory?


I’ll be honest, we haven’t opened up the table yet, but who wants to bet me that it’s damaged, too?

Anyone? Anyone?

A Clever Cover-Up

3 May

One of the things I loved the most about the contractor who did our basement (Eric of Just Right Construction), is that he focused on the overall project and thought through all of the details, too. If you’ve ever worked with a contractor, you know how rare of a find that is!

In too many basements, the electrical panel is smack dab in the middle of a room. It’s rarely hidden in a closet or put in the room with the furnace and hot water heater. Why is that? Anyway, our electrical panel in the basement happens to be in the living room, on one of the first walls you see when you walk into the basement.

Pretty, right? Nope.

When we did one of the first walk-throughs with Eric to discuss our plan for the basement, he pointed out the electrical box and said he would build a box and frame around it so we could hide it. I thought that was genius – and immediately trusted him. It’s about the details, people!

Once the basement was finished, this is what he had built around the electrical box.

Initially Ryan wanted to just paint it the same color as the wall so it blended in more, but it’s so big I thought it would still be pretty noticeable, so I started brainstorming (and searching Pinterest). It didn’t take long before I decided I could make it a fabulous and colorful pinboard to show off all of Georgia’s arts and crafts.

It is in playroom, you know?

The ‘box’ isn’t on a hinge, it’s actually attached to the frame around the electrical box with these pegs.

Here’s what you’ll need for the project:

  • 1 pkg cork tiles (+ adhesive tape that should come included)
  • scissors
  • decorative fabric
  • heavy duty staple gun and staples

First, I bought those cork tiles that you can get at Target or Wal-Mart in the office supply section. I used the adhesive strips that came with them to stick them to the front of the board.

I had to trim a few of the edges, but it was easy to do with a scissors. It did cause little bits of cork to get all over my new carpet, but a quick pass with the vacuum eliminated the mess.

And turns out, Ari is not the best DIY assistant. See how he’s ignoring me?

Anyway, once the entire thing was covered in cork, I wrapped it with fabric I found at Joann’s for 50% off!


The fabric is  by Waverly, but I’m having trouble finding the style online. I’ll update this post once I find it.

Since the fabric has horizontal stripes, I had to be very careful that I kept things straight and didn’t pull one way or the other when I was prepping it to be stapled. Once I had it situated, I stapled the fabric to the back of the wood door with a heavy duty staple gun, checking the stripes every few staples.

When I had gone all the way around the door and hung it back on the wall, this is what I had.

A view from the side.

I love the bright fabric and the way it plays into the teal accents on the couch and the polka dots on G’s bins. Now it’s time to add art on the rest of the walls, but this is a good start.


How did you turn an eyesore into an accent?

You wanna know a secret? (basement renovation)

25 Apr

When I revealed the finished basement last week, I didn’t show you everything. I know, I know, I apologize. But I’m ready to share it with you now.

See this bookshelf? She’s a beauty, ain’t she?

It just so happens that she can do this.

The bookshelf is a cover for a secret room! Yes, true story!

It’s really easy to pull out since it’s on a hinge and then it stays closed with some heavy duty magnets – quite simple, actually!

It all started when the hubs and I were in the first stages of talking about finishing the basement. Even though our basement isn’t huge by any means, he wanted a secret room – and has forever….! What is it with boys and secret rooms?

So when we met our contractor, Eric of Just Right Construction, LLC, (who we love BTW and I would totally recommend using him!) he had the fabulous idea to utilize the space under the stairs and put the secret room there. LOVE IT.

So, we tiled the room with the same tile as the bathroom, ran electricity in there and now the hubs has a secret room for his wine fridge, beer fridge and whatever else he wants to put in there. It turned out fabulously and of course, is his favorite part when showing people our new basement.

Here is a peek at the inside of the ‘room.’

Cute, right?

How have you utilized extra space under your stairs?

Renovating the Basement: Furniture

17 Apr

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you the finished basement and now, we have furniture! We even broke it all in with a barbecue with a lot of friends and kiddos on Saturday night.

[Couch: Jonathan Louis; & Pillow: Crate & Barrel; Stripe pillow: Crate & Barrel]

Georgia’s toy room

[Circo table & chairs: Target (clearance and no longer carried)]

[Expedit storage console and bins: Ikea]

And the bathroom has come a long way, mostly we’re missing the mirror and the decor.

[Light: Martha Stewart for Home Depot; Vanity: Home Decorators for Home Depot]

[Lizagator shower curtain: Target]


Every day there is progress! but I feel like the list is still incredibly long:

  1. Coffee table
  2. Wall hanging for above couch
  3. DIY project on electrical panel cover
  4. Lamps for storage/divider
  5. Accent for G’s toyroom: color? Wall paper?
  6. Pub table and chairs for living area
  7. Decorate/accent bookshelf
  8. Bathroom mirror
  9. Bathroom wall hanging/hooks
  10. Move guest room furnishings to basement
  11. Beverage fridge or wine fridge – I’ll tell you where this goes later – it’s a surprise!

Renovating the Basement: Finished!

6 Apr

Well, mostly finished.

I’ve been waiting to post pictures until more of the basement was done and decorated and pretty enough to show you, but since you last saw pictures, there has been a lot of progress – looking back, even I’m amazed at the changes! So let’s look!

This picture was taken standing on the landing halfway down the stairs to the basement.



Remember this shot of the messy playroom/living room?



(Obviously the rocker from the nursery and the random bar height chair aren’t staying, but they give us a place to sit until the couch we ordered comes in)


And a pretty similar AFTER

(instead of seeing the bathroom door, you see our built-in bookshelf on the other side of the hallway)

And here is an AFTER picture of the guest room.

It’s not a fabulous picture, but I am in LOVE with the paint color. It will go perfectly with the guest bedroom decor that we’ll move from upstairs. For now, it’s a good color to inspire my runs.

Some good progress, huh?

We are really happy with 2 out of the 3 paint colors we chose. The only one we’re not crazy about is the bathroom color. There isn’t a good picture of the entire bathroom in this post because we are having some work done on the light and getting a good picture was hard, so more pictures of that later, but otherwise, we love the color of the main areas and the guest bedroom. (I shared those colors here.)

I still have tons of things on my To Do List for down here. Not just decorating but DIY projects, furniture rehabbing, buying furniture, and coming up with a creative and good looking set up for all of those toys!

I hope you all have a great Easter weekend with your families!


Renovating the basement: Are we there yet?

17 Mar

Seriously though, are we there yet?

Today were supposed to get carpet, but turns out, laying carpet involves using a lot of electricity and since the electrician hasn’t been here yet (he comes in the morning) we don’t have enough outlets for all of the steamers and stuff.

Until we have carpet and a usable basement, which will now be next week, our dining room looks like this –

and it’s driving me nuts!

Turns out with another entire floor finished, we keep needing to buy things, like light fixtures, shower curtain and towels, a toilet and vanity, and it goes on and on…As much as I love shopping, this girl doesn’t hate it either.

It’s only a few more days right?

Until then, maybe I’ll just take G and run around Lowe’s.

Renovating the Basement: Paint

14 Mar

The painters started today (Yaaay!) which means we are in the home stretch! I gave you a sneak peek of the paint colors yesterday, but here are more pictures and details on our plan.

Because of the painters we are using, all of the paint colors are from Pittsburgh Paint. I’ve never used their paint before, but I imagine its great quality stuff and it will turn out even better since it’s being done by professionals (and sprayers!).

This is the color we chose for the bathroom. It has more cool grey in it than this picture suggests, but it’s call Turquoise Mist. I think it will be a great contrast to all of the dark brown tile and the dark brown vanity we will be putting in the space. I already have a darker blue shower curtain, so I’m hoping once they are all in the same room it looks good and not schizophrenic.

In the living area and hallways we choose a neutral color called Moth Gray. We wanted something light enough to keep the windowless basement bright, but not too light that it felt like we hadn’t painted at all. I think the color we chose is a perfect compromise.

The guest bedroom is where we got bold.

This picture shows you the headboard we made a while back which is currently our guest room on the 2nd floor. The paint color in there is the same neutral we used throughout most of the house so it’s nothing too exciting, so we wanted to give the room some personality when it all moved to the basement in just a few more days.

Here is a look at the whole palette. The polka dot sheets, white duvet, bight headboard and dark navy pillows. I really think with the crisp white duvet and bright colors in the headboard and accent pillows this deep blue (called Blue Blood) will give the room some serious personality! I’ve never painted a room this bold of a color, so I can’t wait to se how it actually looks in the only room in the basement with a window. Let’s hope I like it, because I’m afraid of how many coats of primer and paint we’d need to do to cover up such a dark color.

Once paint is done in a couple of days, then comes carpet, electrical, final plumbing installation and inspections. Then we can live in it! Unbelievable, and minus a couple of freak outs, the entire proces was fabulous and I’d do it again in a heartbeat – and with our same contractor! (who I will reveal soooooooon).

Renovating the Basement – Paint Colors

12 Mar

Here’s a tiny little sneak peak at the paint colors we’ve chosen for the basement.

Not sure about you guys, but for us, this is bold.


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