Friday, February 28, 2014

End of week one. Only around 8 (or 20...) to go!

At the end of this whole remodel project, THIS is what our new basement will look like. Exactly like this. With the same movie on the TV, and everything.
Yeah, it's a magical basement, where the ceilings can be vaulted and the dollars are plentiful and overflowing...

Ok, it won't really look like that. I wish it could look like that, but that's all it is. We'll have to settle for something significantly less grand. (And less lodge-ish. Leo isn't as into the rustic shit as I am, anyway.)

Here are some of the pictures that are inspiring some of the design decisions we're making in our new space. A new space that currently looks like THIS, mind you:

Aaahhhh...I do love a good blank slate. I hope the guys that tore all that shit out are starting their weekends early. They totally earned it.

The completely empty space leaves us a lot of room for design options. I mentioned that we had plans for those support columns when it came to the design...something that we've always wanted was additional seating around the TV in our basement. Also, having a spot to eat food/serve food from would be helpful. The old bar had an odd edge on it that was awkward when it came to eating. It made me drop a rib once. A WHOLE RIB. On the floor. And Jake got it, and he almost swallowed it whole, and it was a bad time all around. It was a fine place to serve food from, but when it came to eating there, it was just not functional. So I found these photos on Houzz:

Modern Basement by Ajax General Contractors Westlake Construction

...and was inspired by the functionality of that kind of seating arrangement. Ours will be a mix of those two pictures. Bar-height seating that will have a great view of the TV. Woo!

Since we'll have the bar in a new, more narrow section of the basement, it's more about it functioning as a mini-kitchen than as a seating area. So it will look more like this:

Contemporary Wine Cellar by Victoria Photographers Joshua Lawrence Studios INC

Open shelving is cheaper than full cabinets. And they serve the same function as closed cabinets do, in this case. We'll have a dishwasher, and then a standard fridge with an ice maker in the space as well. A sink and a counter top microwave will finish things off. Our wine racks won't be so ostentatious, I don't think. First of all, I have no idea how people maintain a supply of wine like that in their homes. I just...don't. We're not wine collectors, though. We drink what we've got, and then we buy more. In my experience, wine that is saved for years and years turns into vinegar. And that is just gross. So we'll have a standard wine rack system, I think.

The fireplace area is another important part of the space. When Leo and I were in New Orleans recently, we stayed at a hotel that had a sitting area around a fireplace in their lounge, and I just loved it. It was what got me thinking about this whole remodel in the first place. I want that in our home, so I can sit there every night and read or sew or what have you, and have a glass of wine.

Yes, I want to be a boring-ass old lady, already, ok? I'm weird like that.

Here are some inspirations I'm working from right now for our own space:
Transitional Living Room by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Martha O'Hara Interiors

It will be a good mix of the traditional with a more contemporary flare...otherwise, I haven't quite decided on the exact finish I want to put in there. Making these decisions is the hard part! It's all going to be better than it used to be, for sure. But I don't want it to feel outdated in just a few years. I want it to stand the test of time, and that's why I'm leaning more toward a traditional bend in this area. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out!

Lastly, there WILL BE a secret bookcase door that leads to our office space. Something like this:
Rustic Family Room by Saratoga Springs Design-Build Firms Witt Construction

...except it will be in a tucked away corner that isn't as open as this look is. It's going to be so cool!

But for now, the weekend is here. I have an appointment at the spa this afternoon, and then some wine will be in order. And next week, the framing will begin, which is a whole new level of crazy, IMO! Good crazy, though. It's all good crazy...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2 Days Down...

Well, it's Wednesday. We've been through two full days of construction thus far, so I thought it might be time to update.

You might be saying to yourself, "What could possibly have been done in just 2 short days that you'd have enough to update us with, Faith?" And this is where these projects always amaze the shit outta me. This kind of work would take me God knows how long! But the pros have it down to a science.

This was the little closet wall that took up a lot of space in the entrance to the basement before:
The day before we started, the closets had their lovely saloon-style doors, and housed the non-cooperative water softener.
At the end of Day 1 (Monday), the wainscoting had been removed, the doors had been carefully taken down so they can be donated, and the water softener was officially disconnected.
The beginning of opening up the new TV area of the basement! Eeee!
And at the end of Day 2 (Tuesday), the water softener was outta there, the walls were gone, and we have a whole new space!
Those two support columns will play a part in the design, eventually, as well. Hard to explain, so I'll share a picture of the idea later this week.
Walking into the room now has an entirely different feeling, since the closets aren't there any more, there's no longer a wall in your face when you enter. This was at the end of the day Monday...
Note the wall over there where the door to the "Man Room" is. Because that's about to disappear!
And here it is at the end of Tuesday:
See? No more wall! It's just a wide open space now.
Aahh, florescent lights? I will not miss you, you ugly fuckers.
The bar area was cleared out that first day, and the plumbing was capped off. The cabinet that used to be there was taken out carefully, so the wood could be salvaged and re-used, if possible. That's one of the things we love about our contractors we work with...they're as into re-using and recycling as we are, so they don't balk at our efforts to save and donate wherever we can.
I didn't take any specific pictures of the bar area after day 1. But the only thing left over there now are those sconces. The electrician will be here later this week to take stuff like that down.
The old TV area was pretty easy to clear out, since it was mostly just couch. :/
At the end of day 1, the fireplace still hadn't been revealed. We spoke about it that morning, and discussed that the worst case scenario might be waiting for us behind that wainscot and drywall. We had been told by the previous owners that it was a fireplace that had been covered up. There are 3 flue vents on our chimney, and we only have 2 fireplaces upstairs. It all equalled "fireplace" in our minds! But our contractor said, "It could just be cinder block under there."

We went ahead and tore into it after the demo team left Monday night, because we couldn't stand it any more! And...oh, dammit.
GAH! It's just a big bump out of uninteresting CINDER BLOCK! How architecturally fascinating! BAH.
We're looking at options, but it really would have been nice if we didn't have to spend more money on this whole fireplace option. ::sigh:: I was thinking about a vent-free insert, so we don't have to worry about finding a way to hook into the flue vent, but then I did a little research on that, and it seems like a really bad idea. (I honestly don't know why vent-free options are even on the market. It's has to vent somewhere, and if it isn't venting outside your home, well...yeah.It's INSIDE.How can that be ok? O_o)

There used to be a wall/doorway here! Now it's gone:
Down in the dark space over yonder, our bar will be installed. I can't lie...I'm a bit freaked out about that wall being gone. The floor joists all run the right way, and the walls that are there are supporting things properly upstairs, but it just seems so wide open. Scary. New walls will go up next week, though, and maybe that'll make me feel better about it. We'll see.

I'll pop up some pictures of the design ideas I have a little later this week, since it's about to get all plumbing/electrical/boring at this stage. Plus, design stuff! PRETTY! I can't WAIT to decorate this space, dammit. :D

Monday, February 24, 2014

Basically, I've hired myself.

Hey there! How ya doin'? Me? I'm fine. Been up since 3:30 a.m. this morning, since my brain apparently was just done with that whole "sleep" thing for the night, but otherwise, I'm cool.

Wanna see what we've got going on over here at the Smith house? You KNOW you do! So here we go...we're starting a new remodel project today. The basement is being de-90'd, and brought into a current style that isn't full of light-stained oak and shitty windows that let in cold air. 


So I'm starting with the "before" pics today, and then later this week, there will be progress pics of the demo (or what I also like to refer to as the "destruction"), and the new framing and all that cool stuff.

This is what the current view is when you walk into the basement. The bar is's got a sink, and originally had a dishwasher that was awesome for all the glassware, but that stopped working about a year ago, or so. Which made me sad. But really, having a full bar down there has been super handy. So we'll keep that element, of course, but it'll be moving to an entirely new space.
There is a long, narrow closet on that wall by the entrance, and it currently houses a water softener that never really worked, near as we can figure, and is where I put overflow of clothing before I had a large enough closet for it all. I just found sweaters in there that I had forgotten I owned! That was fun. So we're tearing those closets out, and that will be where our TV will go. Our couch will be where the table is. It will be lovely.
The bar? Was a mess. The new bar? Will NOT BE a mess.
These cabinets are built-in, and pretty much ruin our ability to re-use the wainscoting in the room in any way, other than to tear it all out and either donate it, or use it in woodworking hobby projects. I've wanted to paint out the wainscoting since we moved in, but Leo was all, "WTF? Are you high? It's all awesome OAK, woman!" And he's the one who would have to do the painting, since I suck at painting, so he won.

Aaannyyywayy...we're donating these cabinets.
This is the current TV/entertainment area of the room. There are nooks and crannies that would be much better used as dart board areas, and locations for the pin ball machine we wanna get. So that's why we're moving the couch over to the other side of the room. And also...
...there be a fireplace behind that thar wall. We want to open it back up again, and put in a gas insert fireplace thinger like we put in our bedroom last year. We're all a little excited and/or terrified to see what's hiding behind there. We know that there's a flu/vent for it, since we've done so much work with our other two fireplaces in the time we've lived here, that's been made clear. In fact, that's how we determined for sure that there must be a fireplace in that wall. But will it be in tact? Will it be filled with a nest of small woodland creatures? Will it be a crumbling mess? Eeeee.....!
Opposite that questionable fireplace feature is the entrance to what we've always referred to as "the man room." It's the only unfinished part of our basement, and it's got a couple of work benches in there, along with all our utility stuff.

See? So pretty! ;) THIS is where a shuffleboard table will go, and is also where the bar will be moving to. We'll build a wall to close off the utilities, and that water heater will be removed and replaced with a tank less unit, and all will be happy and fun.
We'll also be changing out the hideous fluorescent lighting, possibly finishing the ceiling in most of the space so we don't have the super-attractive drop ceiling any more, and putting in new flooring throughout the space.

It won't be done until the end of April, if we're lucky. Might be longer...not sure. But you can be sure that I'll be documenting the fun right here on this blog. And I'll link to Facebook each time I update, too. Wish us luck!