Tag Archives: renovating

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 – Tile Debacle

9 Mar

Remember a week or so ago when I hinted at some issues we’d had with the tile guy and the unexpected changes we had to make in the plan for the bathroom?

Well, this whole thing started with my ReStore find: the beautiful 13 x 20 inch DalTile I bought for a great price.

Remember these beauties?

Soon after we bought the tile, we met with our contractor and the tile guy to talk about the pattern we wanted on the floor (staggered tiles) as well as continuing the lines of tile to the shower, on the floor of the shower and up the wall. I also wanted to use dark grout so it would appear as if the tiles weren’t individual, but one big piece of tile. The tile I bought had a special edge that required a very small grout line, so I was excited to see the final product once it was installed. That night everyone agreed the tile was going to look great and really set the tone for the bathroom, so the hubs and I anxiously awaited ‘Tile Day.’

The day the tiling was happening, thank goodness the hubs went home for lunch and peeked downstairs to see the progress. This is what he saw:

Wait a minute.

Where did that small square tile come from?

And why is it installed in the floor of our shower?

Didn’t we just talk about using the same big tile for the floor, the lip of the shower, the floor and all the way up to the ceiling? Did I miss something?

Let’s just say I was freaking out! Of course the tile guy was already gone for the day (at noon???!) so the hubs made a call to the contractor and sent him this picture. He was also confused as to where this tile came from and why it was laid in the shower. When our contractor finally reached the tile subcontractor he said he’d run into a problem getting the correct angle for drainage with the big tiles we had, so he had to go to smaller tiles. And instead of calling us, he just pulled these tiles out of his truck (no kidding) and laid them. He then apologized for laying the tiles without asking, he said he “forgot to ask.” Really? Really!

When we got home that night from work, we tried to pull the tiles up before they were fully set. Shit.

Not only did we have the problem of the wrong tile laid in our shower, we’d also been made aware that it wasn’t possible to use the big tiles for the floor. It wasn’t long before we went to a few different stores to look for small mosaic tile to use on the floor that would actually match the rest of the bathroom tile.

I was less than thrilled about breaking up the dark tile, but what choice did I have? I wish I had been made aware of this situation at the beginning so we had more time to choose tile, but we ended up finding a really pretty mosaic that incorporated the dark brown as well as a cream in a really fun, modern pattern. My biggest concern was ensuring that the tile on the floor didn’t look like an afterthought, since it obviously was, which led to adding a few rows of the mosaic about 5 feet up the shower wall as an accent to break up the big tiles and make it seem like this had been our plan all along. At the end of the day, it’s growing on me, but I still don’t love love love it.

What do you think?

I think once the entire bathroom is put together, I’ll like it, but right now, all I can stare at is that floor! (and the white grout – where did that come from? Obviously our subs have a tough time with details…)

Crisis averted. Sort of.

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.



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