Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Everything in its place

I've tried for years to make the first floor bedroom in our house work as an office/craft room. And it just....never does. We started out with a corner desk from my husband's bachelor apartment that in my opinion was good for exactly nothing. What kind of sense does it make to have all the available desk surface behind the computer? It was hard to even pay bills in there because there was no place to spread out the papers, checkbook, calculator... We bought our house almost 6 years ago so it's hard to even remember now, but I think I brought an old drafting desk in there as well to put next to the corner desk for some work surface, but I hated that too.

I checked this and a few other of my defunct old blogs. and I've never posted a full picture of the office....I guess because it just doesn't work. I eventually got rid of the small desks and traded up to a long Ikea dining table. I remember looking for something solid wood, but never managed to find anything that was in budget and that I could arrange transportation for, so Ikea and their flat pack boxes won. This is the one we have. I added some wall shelves above the filing cabinet to the left of the desk in an attempt to get stuff OFF the surface. As you can see from the partial photo below....that hardly ever works (you can sort of see the shadow of the shelves above the printer).

I would take a more current photo....but that would involve actually downloading pictures from my camera. Which I never do. Because I don't have an always ready space to do that in. I have at LEAST 3 posts worth of photos living on my camera, destined to never be downloaded. At least not in a timely fashion. So I have my covered in junk work surface, which actually does work perfectly for bill paying and sewing, but the room itself does NOT work well for actually doing sewing projects, which makes me really sad. I have the closet - not pictured, sort of organized, really full - and a storage box below the futon/guest/mostly cat bed which takes up the room opposite the desk that serve as supply and book and random storage, but I have nowhere to cut. This has to be the bane of crafters everywhere. With my sewing machine and laptop/TV set up on my desk, I don't have the work surface to lay out pattern pieces or pin things out. This leaves me to either spread out on the precious little floor space and trip over it every time I go to the ironing board, or I can squeeeeeze out the door to get across the house to the dining room table. This is annoying because it's on the other side of the (small) house, and because I have my ironing board on the back of the door. This is a space saving holdover from (even smaller) apartment living, but it means I have to have the door to the office closed to pull it down. I can open it juuuust enough to squeeze out, but it's irritating enough that I usually cut on the floor, which is super ergonomical. Real word that I just made up. Sad that my dreams involve buying a full sized ironing board. Is that what it's like to be a grown up?

Anyway, since my interest in sewing and knitting and generally making a disaster of the office/craft room has continued to grow over the years, I set my sights on the basement. Our basement is roughly divided into fourths, like most of the rest of our cape cod. 1/4 is laundry, 1/4 is the area for water heater, furnace, storage, just over 1/4 was always sort of horribly finished by previous owners which left the remaining slightly less than 1/4 with no purpose at all, which we used to house extra pantry storage and the dog crate. My goal - convert the finished and purposeless half of the basement into a den/craft room extraordinaire. Last year we built a ton of wood shelving, which I did not yet photograph, in the storage 1/4 of the basement in anticipation of all the junk in the rest of the basement needing a place to live. It worked out really well for my parents, who were moving, who actually stored a bunch of their stuff there last summer and fall while they were between homes. However, this meant that we couldn't start clearing out all of our stuff until all of their stuff went to their new house, which happened a few months ago. A few months after that, our stupid less than 6 year old washing machine irreparably broke, so we had to replace it.

Nice matching appliances in fancy blue:

Sad new washing machine in dumb floor sample white:

In the time since this photo was taken, the man of the house pushed the washer back next to the water pipes, and moved the dryer to its right. Which is AWESOME....to actually be able to toss things right into the dryer from the washer, rather than either carrying them across the room wet, or using a basket to transport them. It's the little things I guess. Oh, and he swapped out the flex duct to rigid. Apparently flex is a fire hazard. As an added bonus, you can see that our basement actually gets great natural light most of the day - this is with no lights on! A not-scary basement was on my list during house hunting. Also, I ultimately plan to replace the giant, gross, leaky wash tub with a smaller, single basin. I actually bought it years ago for $10 on craigslist...just need someone (ahem, man of the house) to do some plumbing work and brace himself to get the concrete monster up the stairs. It's possible I'll have to help with the hauling.

Anyway, so here is the ultimate plan for the basement. Drawn in CAD, because that's how I roll.

And because I accidentally closed the pdf editor before saving (cursewords), enlarged plans of the finished side are without refined annotation.

The "den" portion, which will include the ability to stream my netflix stories right to the TV so that I don't have to use my laptop and can use it for other things, once we get some wires to connect new netgear box to old tv:

And the craft studio side:

The plan is to mostly work with furniture we have, to keep the budget down and give this project a chance of actually happening. In fact, the only new piece is the standing height cutting table, which I plan to build from an Ana White plan and which will be AWESOME!!!

Modern Craft Table

The only other new things might be the studio lights and some of the wall storage for all of my fabric and crafting paraphernalia and some of the storage for office supplies and books and such. Most of the cost will be to put lighting where we want it, rebuild the wall running vertically down the basement, since studs at 48" on center are not exactly sound, and to re-paint the walls and floors with some of that fancy water blocking stuff. Our basement stays mostly dry, but some of the corners DO get a bit damp from time to time, so we want to make sure that we've done what we can before putting up new drywall. We also have the unique idea to use moisture resistant boards and studs which I can only guess that previous owners did not do....They definitely didn't use moisture resistant ceiling tiles, which is gross and saggy and I have only been too happy to start pulling down.

There's the stupid wall that will come down. I had a few hours to myself on Sunday, so I ran to Home Depot and set up a bagster in our garage to give me a place to put all the tiles. I did it in there because it keeps freaking snowing and I didn't want it to fill up with powder. I figure the tiles are light and we can drag it down to the street before starting to fill it up with heavier stuff. Like that stupid wall.

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