Ooo, it feels good to be free…*

*Lyrics from Rilo Kiley‘s song Breakin’ Up from their album Under the Blacklight. Jenny Lewis has a beautiful voice. Listen to her, either solo or with her former band. Reminds me of Texas, and makes me think of Erin from Design-Crisis every time.

Goodbye carpet! Jeff was unable to help with brute force since he accidentally chopped a bit of his finger off (he's fine, just bandaged), so I heaved and he hoed. Well, I tore out the carpet and he hauled it to the garage.

Basement! Here it is, the long promised, long awaited update on the state of affairs in the dreaded basement. When we started our journey, the basement was a sad place to be. Wallpaper from the late 80s that had seen better days (the actual paper wasn’t the issue – it just hadn’t held up well), carpet that was stained, and just generally gross, and gobs of knotty pine woodwork just screaming ‘hey, I’m old and grungy, look at me!’ all over the place. Something had to be done.

Not to mention the fact that the basement had become one giant junk drawer – the catch-all for everything from cast-off furnishings to fixtures and fittings from the former kitchen and baths. We tried to deconstruct rather than demolish during our renovation, to save what might be useful to someone else, rather than just tossing everything, but all that saving piled up. We were starting to feel like hoarders. And, I’ve been wanting to begin running again (I have a treadmill in the basement that was covered and surrounded by dust, boxes, drips and drabs of stuff from what seems like the endless renovation) so unearthing the space, and just generally giving it a clean, fresh start seemed helpful to my overall health and well-being.

Also, since Brad had rewired the entire house we had all these giant holes to patch. I was planning on trying to use the one roll of paper that was left behind for such repairs but the walls behind the paper started to flake up and peel behind the areas where he’d cut through the wall. The glue holding the paper on was just barely doing its job anymore, so we determined that it was time to let it go. One thing led to another (as it inevitably does) and we decided that we’d fresh paint everything, and re-carpet the space to fully freshen and update it.

We also decided to do a bunch of the work ourselves. Ok, myself. Not that Jeff isn’t helpful – he is, he just works crazy hours, and lots of them – and not that I was completely alone (Kizzle gets another home improvement shout-out), but, well, it’s my area of expertise so it falls primarily on my shoulders. We got Dave to help out by spraying the basement ceiling, and priming the walls, but we were responsible for the prep (except scraping and patching some of the ceiling bits – Dave helped on that part, too). It’s been exhausting, especially with all the homework I had to do staining the lumber for the entryway refresh. But, we’re about halfway there, so I thought I’d give you a gander as to how it’s going.

Still to do:

  • patch a few areas where the wallpaper glue didn’t completely come off when we tore out the paper (a little joint compound ought to do the trick), and re-prime
  • coat the posts, trim and built-in shelving unit with Benjamin Moore Advance waterborne alkyd (I haven’t tried this yet, so I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes)
  • coat the walls with Benjamin Moore Aura in Woodlawn Blue (it’s a Pottery Barn color that has the slightest bit of green to its lovely, classic pale blue – very coastal, very refreshing)
  • remove any tack strips or staples left behind
  • add baseboard to the entire room (we feel that it’ll look more like a finished room with a bit more trim)
  • patch, prime and paint staircase (possibly with decorative runner? we’ll see)
  • replace trim kits on recessed lights with newer, whiter, and possibly more efficient units (still need to research that bit)
  • replace old, brown outlets with white tamper-resistant (TR) ones
  • spray paint radiator covers for a crisp, white look
  • order and oversee re-carpeting (there’s no way on earth that we’d be crazy enough to DIY that when there are plenty of people who are skilled, willing and available for that task)

Yeah, so basically, I have my work cut out for me. Luckily, I’m not totally alone. I do have Jeff. And Dave, should I need him. But, it’s quite the undertaking considering all the other things I want to do in the house (hello, curtains, art, more trim paint, and roman shades!). Here’s to hoping that we’ll be able to move quickly through that list so I can get to the good part: the running on the treadmill in a lovely, bright, and peaceful space! Pictures for your oohing and ahhing pleasure. Enjoy! xoxo