Monday, December 31, 2012

We're done, we're done!

The basement is complete! And right on time. We said that we wanted to watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve from downstairs and it looks like we've made it! With about an hour to spare. So, here it is....

Remember what it looked like when we first started?

Here it is now from the exact same angle....

The photographs above the sofa are from our camping trip this summer, the pillows are Ralph Lauren and the sofa is a surprisingly very comfortable piece from Ikea with a white slipcover (it was the only sofa that we could fit down the stairs!).

This is a Pottery Barn unit that holds our beast of a TV which will be so fun to have downstairs for movie watching now. It fits perfectly under the vents which we ended up just painting white.

One of Grandma's wooden Noah's Ark toys in the wall unit.

And of course, the reason we finished the basement in the first place is David's new office. So much more space! He can finally move around and the bookcase in the back really made such a difference. It holds all of his vintage Whitman books plus all the rest of his books. I grumbled that we were taking an entire half a day to make the bookcase, but it was worth it! He'll get a bigger desk in the future and we're on the hunt for additional prints to hang in here.

As you round the corner from the office you come to the little cozy nook that greets you as you come down the stairs.

This turned out to be one of my favorite areas but it is such a mish-mash of things. An old chair we had re-upholstered in black watch tartan, a Pottery Barn console and a bunch of really fun prints by Sydney Roark passed down from my Mom, Aunt and Grandma. I need something above the lamps but we haven't found that perfect thing yet...

Here's a close-up of one of my favorite Sydney Roark's..."View of the Great Pencil Mountains". These are tiny little drawings that you have to get really close to see.

One last shot looking out from David's office. As you can see, we decided to keep the ceilings open for now. We don't even notice it anymore. Maybe someday we'll finish it off, but for now it's fine as it is. We also didn't quite finish the staircase, but I have a new idea for this and we'll get to it sometime this year.

Cheers to a happy New Year and thanks for following us through yet another renovation!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Custom Built-in Bookcase and New Floors!

Yesterday was a very productive day of constructing David's built-in bookcase. When we started, we thought the bookcase would only be about 2 feet across. But, after punching out the hole in the wall...

...we discovered that we had more room between the studs, so the bookcase became 29" across. Now, if we had known this before going to Home Depot to pick up the supplies, it would have been helpful. But oh well....

Here's the actual space for the bookcase. It's 12" deep.

We bought 3 8' pine boards for the bookcase and shelves. So, after making the cuts....

We had all the pieces for the bookcase. David laid the pieces on the subfloor for assembly.

And yes, we forgot the peg board to make the holes for the adjustable shelves so away we went back to the Depot. This shot is right before I distracted David and he messed up the alignment of the holes. Oops!

Once everything was nailed together and the backboard was added. It was time to see if it fit in the hole. After a bit of wiggling, it was a perfect fit.

Next came painting of the box as well as the shelves. Of course, the whole thing is painted Deep in Thought, semi-gloss.

We added fancy trim on the outside and have our new built-in bookcase! (Bear with me...the shelves aren't quite dry yet).

Once that was all done, we worked on the floors. David had them put down in a matter of hours. Laminate floors are so easy! After installing the hard wood throughout the rest of the house, this was a breeze. We bought 5" wide plank, Hampton Bay hickory laminate flooring. The upstairs is wide plank distressed hickory, so we love that it kind of matches.

They just click together, no glue, no nails...heaven!

I really like the wall color with the floors. I think it will look great once the baseboard is up.

Winnie approved of the new floor and tap danced all through the space.

And then felt like she needed a treat for all of her hard work.

We're taking a quick break from the action today but more to come...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Is it brown? Is it green? Is it grey?

Nope. It's Ralph Lauren. A very strange but chic paint color that gives the basement a masculine vibe without going too dark and turning it into a cave. We primed the drywall first using all of the half-full cans of white paint we had in the house. Waste not, want not.

A ton of primer later...

We were ready for the Burlap paint....look how greyish, greenish, brownish it looks up front with light and how deep brown it looks back in David's office. Same color.

We also got the interior doors painted Deep in Thought by Ben Moore which is what all of the doors and trim are in the house and a few of the outlets installed. Notice the beautiful subfloor. Yeah....that took longer than we thought to put down.

Tonight or maybe tomorrow morning, we'll finish adding all 8 of the 3" ceiling lights that are installed on metal brackets.

Tomorrow is all about painting all of the trim and working on David's homemade built-in bookcase. Crossing our fingers that we can lay the hardwood floors tomorrow too.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Subfloors and Spackle

The basement reno is in full force. We have been waiting for the Christmas Break to really jump in, although David has gotten a ton done over the last month. As a recap of where we are....all of the framing and drywall is up (except for a few little pieces of drywall). All of the wiring is done and the two interior for the laundry room and one for the equipment room...are installed. He also moved the sink into the laundry room which was a big chore.

This weekend is all about finishing up the spackling and letting it dry, then sanding it down and getting ready for paint. We will also finish laying the subfloor. Although we could have just put the laminate wood floors right over the vinyl tiles, the floor is a little wonky. The subfloor will make a smooth surface. Also another very cool thing about these subfloor tiles is that they allow air to move under them in case of moisture. Well worth the added expense. Here's what the underneath looks like.

When they are placed down on the floor, they fit snuggly together.

I wanted to give a little "before" tour of the space...but you'll have to use your imagination with these photos. There are basically three areas to the basement and while it's a decent size, it's not huge. The most important part of the area is this nook that is tucked in towards the back. This is where David's office will be. We're storing the basement sofa back there now. It can give you some scale.

The area in front of the office nook will be for the TV that we are moving from upstairs and a sofa. This picture really takes some imagination to see past the junk that we're still cleaning out. The TV media unit will be on the wall on the right where you see all the outlets.

The last area is this corner where we've started laying the subfloor. It's actually a nice big space. Could be good for a chair and some bookshelves...or something. David's building a bookshelf in his office so don't really want more of them, they just collect dust. Will have to think about what goes here. Every bit of our house has to be functional since it's so cozy. That area at the top is one of the last little bits of drywall installation needed.

The stairs will be re-painted at the very end, backs added to the steps and a new bannister. We'll rip off those black treads. The far wall as you're coming down the stairs is cement cinderblocks painted white. It's too hard to drywall this wall and we really don't want to move the stairs so will just repaint the cement. Not ideal, but maybe I'll hang a picture or something there.

One of the quirkiest parts about the current basement is this light that doesn't have a light switch. It's on a pully that you pull down to turn on. It's kind of cute, but not functional. I ordered a new lantern for this area, David made a lightswitch and we'll brighten it up with some new paint.

More to come. Hopefully the next blog will be during painting. Now back to work!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A few updates

We came home this week to the very best surprise ever....

The city planted a new tree in our front yard to replace the three they removed when fixing the road. It's a Christmas miracle. Isn't it great? Now if they could just pick up the leaves.....

This weekend is all about finishing up the drywall in the basement, hanging the laundry room door and putting down the subfloor before we install the laminate floor. Got the flooring on special at Home Depot. Lots to do before next week, which will be the big push to the finish line.

Oh, and my 2012 ornament came from Bloomingdales! David let me open it early and it is so cute. Might be their best one yet. He's carrying an actual paper Bloomingdales bag.

For an extra surprise, he got me two other Radkos as well. A Santa on a sled and Gingerbread Men. I'm officially, officially out of room on the tree now!

Have to get back to drywalling.....well, I'm going down there to read while David works. I know, it's a hard job.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

An ode to tea...

.....on a really cold December night....

There is nothing like the perfect cup after a very long day. I drink loose leaf which I mostly get from Argo here in the city. I walk by it everyday on 7th Avenue and of course have to stop for a muffin and a cuppa. I'm also a new fan of tea from Tea Chai Te from Oregon. Those of you who live in Oregon (hint, most of my family!) should go to the actual shop and tell me what it's like. Their tea is scrumptious. When you order it online, you can get it in these really cute tins...

But I also have to try new flavors, so I just buy a few ounces of new Gingerbread Chai...yum!

Decided just on organic peppermint tonight and made it in my Breville Tea Maker. This unit was a bit of an extravagance, but SOOOO worth it.

It makes the tea at the perfect temperature and steeps it for the perfect amount of time. The result is extraordinary. Totally changes the flavor of the tea when it's made right. The basket drops down when the water is the perfect temperature, steeps and then automatically comes back up.

Mate is my favorite type and I drink it all day long at work...once I made it in my Breville it was even better. The taste is richer and stronger. Same with Assam. Delicious.

The perfect cup of peppermint for sweet dreams...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Our 2012 Christmas Tree

We put the tree up this week. It officially feels like Christmas around here. Just  wanted to share a few pics of the tree. It's a 6 foot green feather tree covered in antique gold glass beads and glass ornaments. Most are old world ornaments with a few Christopher Radko thrown in. Many of them are inherited from my mom and some are recent purchases. We tend to buy a few every year. I think this tree is finally full...

One of our new ones for the year, a cute little Nutcracker Radko.

And some old favorites....I love the large clip-on birds with feather tails.

This one was purchased in honor of David and his tractor.

You can see the sugared fruit every here and there. I love them and they add such a sparkle to the tree.

David buys me a Radko from Bloomingdales every year. This was last year''s fun that they're dated. I don't get the one for this year until Christmas....have to wait.

When you can't snap pics of roses in the winter, these sparklers are just as good...

Last, but not least, the glass tree-topper.

Happy Holidays!