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DIY, Our House

Paint. Check.

February 26, 2012

Oh my goodness, we have made some major [and I mean major] progress on the basement in the last two weeks. Like…

• Primed
• Painted
• All electrical outlets are installed and light switch cover are put on
• Installed all ceiling lights
• Installed two of the four in–ceiling speakers
• Installed two of the three doors
• Picked up baseboard trim this afternoon

and for my favorite thing we’ve done in the last two week regarding the basement…

• Ordered carpet … YES!!! We ordered carpet. We actually ended up ordering something completely different that what we had originally picked out at Home Depot. In fact, we didn’t even order through Home Depot. We went through a local, family owned flooring store just down the street. We prefer to use local businesses whenever possible. Unfortunately, I never took pictures of the carpet sample when we brought it home so I don’t have an image of that.

But what I do have is pictures of the basement right after we finished painting! Originally we were thinking about doing a cool gray color, but just like carpet, we changed our minds and went with something different. Instead we did a very light creamy neutral color with the slightest hint of yellow or tan undertones. It’s called “Vintage Linen UL190-14” by Behr. It’s from the paint + primer line, but since we didn’t need the primer, the guy color matched the paint for us. Tim and I both agree that we’re happy we went this route instead of a gray. With a gray section and chair, it just would have been too much. I also have to give Tim’s dad a big thank you for letting us borrow his awesome camera for this pictures. It shows so much more space than when I was using my little cellphone camera.

Here’s a better view of the paint color vs the white ceiling. We were laughing about how we chose a neutral color since I’ve been slowly painting over all of neutral paint upstairs.

Oh yes, and Tim also pulled up the existing carpet from the stairs. We were really hoping for better looking stairs under the carpet, but we knew we couldn’t have too high of hopes. We contemplated finishing them with hardwood instead of carpet, but after weighing the pros and cons we just decided it would better to just carpet them.

We’re still unsure of what to do with the wall at the bottom of the stairs. Tim mentioned creating a stone, feature wall but I don’t especially care for that idea. Chalkboard paint has been tossed around. I personally would prefer to carry the existing wall color down so it’s cohesive. But that wall is sort of low on the priority list, so we don’t really have to decide right now. The third and final door gets installed today, and then the baseboards. We’re hoping for the carpet to be installed in about two weeks. Those are the pictures I’m super excited about posting.


Our House

Prime Time

January 26, 2012

The basement is officially ready to be primed and painted!

We had a guy working last week to mud and tape the drywall. We are so happy with the way it turned out, and with the guy we hired. We nixed the guy we had originally hired, and went with the other one that had given us a quote back in December. The original guy had already pushed our project back a month and it was looking like it would be another two weeks before he felt like starting. So we said goodbye to him and hello to someone else. So happy we did.

[You can clearly see where we’ve started cleaning up the dust on the floor.]

We’ve started scoping out carpet for the basement as well. We talked to someone at our neighborhood Home Depot who was super helpful with explaining to us what to look for and consider when buying carpet. By the end of it all, we had actually picked out a carpet by Martha Stewart that we both really liked. The color is “Cityscape” and it’s from the Sandringham line of carpet. It’s the low, but soft carpet we were looking for. Plus it has a slight pattern to it. The guy at Home Depot told us that out of all of the carpet they carry, the Martha Stewart brand was going to be the best carpet to have since we own two pets. It uses nylon fibers so it’s super durable, includes a 20 year wear and texture retention warranty, and it has a lifetime stain protection. Sold!

However…we hit a huge road block. We’re not sure if the tile that’s currently in the basement contains asbestos. If the tile does, Home Depot is not allowed to install the carpet. We can still purchase the carpet from them, but would just have to find someone else to install it. Because we decided at the very beginning that the basement would get carpet, we said that we weren’t even going to try to remove the old tile—one of the main reasons being the possibility of asbestos. If it’s left alone and “unharmed,” it’s fine. It’s once you start breaking it up that you have to professionals and haz-mat stuff involved. So for now, we’re going to keep the Home Depot option in mind, but also look else where as well. After we get the prime and paint done, we’ll have to install the doorframes and the floorboards before we get carpet. We were told that the average carpet process of ordering and installing can take about three weeks, so I’m hoping to get carpet order and do the door frames and baseboards while we wait.


DIY, Our House


November 25, 2011

Yep, that’s right. We have reached the point of needing someone to come in to mud and tape the basement. I know I’ve said this before, but I really mean it this time when I say that it’s actually starting to feel like a room. We now know what it’s like to have a ceiling and all of the walls enclosed. Tim, a few of his friends, and his dad have worked hard on this basement. I know I kind of give him shit for taking such a long time (we’re closing in on 14 months), but it’s a really big project. I forget how big of a project this is to be doing it all yourself. The only points in this project that we’ll be hiring someone to come in and help is for the mud and taping and then when the carpet gets installed. Other than that, the boys are doing it all. We measured the space again last week to get a more accurate measurement. We’re adding roughly 550 sq ft of finished basement to the value of this house. Whoa. And that doesn’t count the full bathroom that the previous owners put it in or the unfinished utility/laundry room area.

So now for those exciting “drywall=complete” photos…

This is the first view you see when you walk to the bottom of the steps. There is a finished wall to the left (you’ll see in other photos), and there will be a door installed here that will open up to the right. The wall on the right [with the drywall leaning against it] is the wall that will have the TV mounted to it.

A view [with my back to the spot where the TV will be mounted] to the back where there will be some sort of table and then a custom built bar. The wires  hanging from the ceiling are for the in-ceiling speakers. The open doorway leads into the new 10ftx7ft storage room—which will probably end up being my favorite part. Ha!

Here I’m standing in the same spot, but I turned the camera [um, actually my phone] slightly to the left. You can see the bathroom and the doorway into the utility room there on the left. The support beam will have some sort of finished wood wrapped around it. I honestly can’t picture it and think it should have just been drywalled, but Tim is insisting on wood.

Now you can see that wall to the left of the stairs that I mentioned above. As for under the stairs, I found these awesome plans for a creative way to do storage. Think pull out spice rack converted to fit under the stairs. Take a look here. We’re pretty excited about it. And for the cement wall with all of the gray blobs, we’re throwing around the idea of using chalkboard paint on that wall. We think it would be a fun way to enter the basement, and then friends and family could write messages on it. Still thinking that through though…

Just a straight on view of the new doorway that goes back upstairs. There will be a railing put back in for the stairs, but that will be one of the last things done.

Here’s an opposite view from the second picture—so I’m standing back near the new storage closet entry.

And a view slightly to the right. It’s just one big, open, P-shaped room. [From where I’m standing that is. If you stand where the TV goes, the shape is more like a lowercase D.]

And for the final picture, a close up of the wall where the TV will go—exciting right? So the boys used the face of a circuit board box to cover up the ash drop. So that piece can just be removed, and you can access the ash drop. Then Tim got really creative and figured out a way to hide his TV wires so they won’t hang down everywhere. He used a straight piece of PVC pipe and two of the curved connector pieces to create the place to feed wires. Even though we have a large TV that can be mounted, it’s not the fancy wireless kind so we still have to deal with wires. So the wires go in the top hole [which will be hidden by the TV] and they come out the bottom [which will be hidden by the entertainment/TV stand.] Clever, eh? I was impressed with his idea.

So that’s the progress of the basement as of this morning. Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!


DIY, Our House

More Walls!

November 7, 2011

So we’ve made lots of drywall progress since my last post. There are only a few pieces left to be put up in the closet and in a few other spots closer to the stairwell. I plan on doing a full “drywall is done” post, but until the drywall is done I’m just putting up a few “sneak peak” photos. Plus, we still haven’t been able to find Tim’s camera, which means these photos are still being taken from my phone. I’m holding out on buying a new camera because we’ve put a digital SLR on our wedding registry in hopes that one of our family members loves us enough to get it for us. Or at least help contribute. (hint hint) 🙂

So here is a view from the back of the room looking towards where the TV will be placed. We have the box in place around the ash drop, so we can just take the cover off and empty it if we ever decide to use it. The stairs and the bathroom are off to the right.

And here’s the opposite view from the photo above. And like I mentioned before, the closet has had more work done to it that what’s seen in the photo. The ceiling has been put in and most of the walls. You can no longer see through into the laundry room there on the left (where the bluish light is coming from.) The wires hanging down from the ceiling are for the in-ceiling speakers.

So we’ve been contacting a few people to come give us estimates for taping and mudding. We would rather have a more experienced person do that part. No one wants lumpy walls because the tape and mud weren’t put on correctly. Then it’s on to priming and painting the walls before we start the next phase of the project—the finishing touches on construction. That means installing the doors, light fixtures and speakers, custom built wood cabinets around the two meters and support beam, the custom storage unit under the stairs, and carpet. Then the decorating begins. Lordy…


DIY, Our House

Walls are Going Up.

October 19, 2011

Tim and his dad were able to get the first few pieces of drywall up on the walls last week, so now it’s starting to feel more like a room and not just a bunch of studs.

Behold…the start of walls! In this picture my back is to where the TV will be mounted, and the door opening goes into the new walk in storage room. There will be a custom cabinet built around the green meter there on the right. It will be floor to ceiling to make it look more like a built in. There will be a door on the top half so we can access the meter if ever needed, and a open wine rack on the bottom half. I’m just not quite sure where in the process of everything that part fits in. There is a second custom built cabinet to be put in on right to hide a different meter, but it’s not in camera view.

Here’s a view just slightly turned to the left. The bathroom is that opening on the far left, and then the entry way into the utility room.

The opposite end of the room hasn’t changed much. However, the boys did make process on the part of wall where the TV will be mounted.

The small, tan door that opens to the ash drop and is also having to get a custom piece built for it so we can access it if we want to use fireplace in the future. Tim put up a couple boards on each side of it as extra support for the TV wall mount. He wouldn’t have anything to screw the mount into if those boards weren’t put in.

The dark gray pipe there to the left is to help conceal all of the wires in the area. We’ll feed the wires into the top opening and out the bottom to the outlet. That way, we won’t have all of those ugly wires hanging everywhere. Where the wires enter the opening will be hidden behind the TV, and where the wires come out at the bottom will be hidden by the media cabinet. Oh, and I noticed that the room looks slanted in this picture, but I promise it’s not. I apparently don’t know how to take a picture without it looking slanted.

I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that the walls can be done in a month. That means painting done and ready for trim and carpet. But between going to concerts, the World Series here in STL and an endless list of things to do, we might be cutting it close. Oomph.


DIY, Our House

We Have a Ceiling!

October 11, 2011

Before I dive into this post, I must say that the pictures I shot for this post will be the last from my little point and shoot Samsung camera. It has lived its life, and now it has passed (you’ll see why in the coming photos.) I plan on doing a full blown memory post for it later. I know it’s kind of lame, but after having it for a [short] 2.5 years, it deserves a little review.

Now, for the post…

…we have a ceiling in the basement!! Woohoo! Finally!

Two weeks ago was the year mark since Tim and one of his friends decided to demo the basement and take down all of the walls. I was back in Nebraska that weekend and came home to a open, bare basement. Well, this past weekend I was in Kansas City for a short 24 hour trip and came home to Tim and few friends putting up drywall on the ceiling. Oh happy day. I told Tim a while back that I want the basement to have the drywall, mudding and painting done by November. That’s only only three weeks away for those keeping track. However, we have busy weekend ahead of us, so now it’s down to only two weekends left in the month. I have a feeling I won’t get to paint until at least the First of November, but it has to get done before my family comes to for their annual visit. Right now [like as I’m typing this up] Tim and his dad are building the custom box for the ash drop. We still need to have access to it incase we ever decide to use the fireplace, but luckily the TV will be hiding it for the most part.

So here’s a view standing with my back close to where the TV and sectional will be, looking back towards the future bar area and storage closet. It’s actually starting to look like a room!

A little close up action of the ceiling. The lights still need the other half of the fixture installed, but that comes at a later time. The four hanging wires you see spread throughout the space are for in-ceiling speakers that will also get installed at a later time.

You can see the boys drew out a grid on the drywall to help guide them to where the screws were to go.

And here’s a view from the opposite side of the room from the first picture. You can see that there’s still plenty to do, but the ceiling makes it feel so much more complete.

This just shows a slight angle to get a better view of that front space. There’s a frame that’s been built for a door at the bottom of the stairs. The door will open to towards that back wall with the insulation. The area below the stairs is currently a dumping ground for a few things that will get moved into the storage room once that’s finished. We’re not quite sure what we’re going to do with the space below the stairs, but more than likely it will be storage of some sort. Maybe for the stuff we need access to the most. I pointed out where the TV will be mounted to the wall. The yellow box directly below the arrow is the door for the ash drop that’s having the custom box built for it. I’ll have a separate post about how that was built and the turnout of it.

And one last view from a different angle. This was taken with me standing over to the right of the last picture near the bathroom/entry to the utility room. Since we can’t move the vertical support beam, we’re going to put a pretty wood around it for more of a decorative look, rather than just drywall and some paint.

Now that drywall has started being installed, I can get serious about looking at paint colors. I’m still thinking of a light, cool gray, but I’ll probably change my mind 50 more times before deciding on something. Now, on to the walls…