Showing posts with label home improvement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home improvement. Show all posts

Thursday, September 11, 2014

things to fill with other things

While I wish I was the kind of person who does, I almost never go to antique or thrift stores. Mostly, I don't have the time or patience to hunt through...but finally, I've had success! I've been wanting to find some little things to go in the studio, and I scored!

I opted against the corks...I have enough of those already.

For the past....oh, year or so, I've co-opted one of our laundry baskets to hold all of the burlap sacks I've collected for projects and have yet to deal with. I found a large wicker basket with a wood bottom that worked out just perfectly! And hey, I can stop sorting one of our loads of laundry on the dirty floor!

While backyard chickens is a dream I toy with from time to time...I decided to use the vintage egg basket for, well, yarn. Currently it's holding the stash I picked up at stitches midwest this year that I just wanted to get out of my reusable bag, as you can probably tell by the artful arrangement. The basement studio, while far from actually being "finished," is actually getting crazy close to ready to move in the big furniture, and I think these two baskets will be a great start to the "effortlessly put together and collected over time" look I'd love to achieve. Until then, these cute baskets will be unceremoniously shoved into the closet, which I call crazy overstuffed and my sister called organized. Ha!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Basement studio update, and a long winded decor discussion

Suddenly it's been a while since my last basement remodel update! It's been a little over two months since then, and while sadly, we aren't finished yet, we have made progress. And I've finally chosen a paint color....which I'm happy with and already second guessing.

So, as a refresher, this is the plan:

 This was the room at the end of June:

And this is the room today (by the way, the colors all look ridiculous because the room is currently lit by a single bare bulb, and these were taken at night, because, you know, life):

Looking toward the den area

Looking back at the sewing studio area

The only actual feature in the room right now - the removable bench/water meter casing (bench pulled out in the foreground for easier mudding) and future shelving area. You can also see a peek of the windows and how they are framing up so far. My husband has been taking on most of the work lately, and I think the plan is to frame those out with wood.

If you can't tell, the difference is walls. :)

Ok, the difference is actually electrical, heating ducts, sheetrock and 3 layers of taping and mudding of the joints. So I suppose that's an amount of work that makes sense to have taken 2 months outside of work and other such life.

As far as my decor, this has been really hard! I don't want to sink a ton of money into finishes, so we're doing a lot of re-use of things we already have. While we've not had any water issues in the basement to date, I also hadn't planned on putting a lot of money into the finishes. My idea is to epoxy the floors (though a wood look vinyl has been suggested and is VERY tempting....), and I've chosen white from the standard Drylok colors.

 (Here you can see two samples that my sister brought over last night which are out of my price range, but again, very tempting! These run about $5/square foot, so she's going to look into some that run more like $1-2/square foot.)

I've discussed this before, but my rationale is that the gray floor tones would look SUPER basement/prison-ey, and I just don't like the tan, which leaves white! I also plan to paint the ceiling and parts of 2 walls white (Decorator White, rumored to be the perfect white) so I can have a nice, clean photography backdrop. Obviously, all of this WHITE plus the idea that I'd like to keep the wall color light because this is a basement after all and I don't want it to look like a cave, well, it all makes me nervous that the space is going to look super cold.

From my Pinterest board, this is the inspiration I've tagged on white floors that look really nice:

This is one of few I found that's a finish similar to what I am hoping to achieve, and while I like it, honestly it could use a rug or two.

While the fire certainly helps to warm up the room (har har) the major factors are probably the wood table and chair legs, wood columns and exposed brick. Now here's a weird thing....we actually have a chimney in our basement that has a very similar finish...that we drywalled over. Why? Well, we didn't want to have to bother with exposed steel beams and pipe columns in the room, and the chimney is on the OTHER side of the beam. So to expose it, we would have had to jog the wall just to expose the brick. Because we don't currently plan to add a fireplace (but how AWESOME would that be??!), it seemed like we'd be trying too hard just to expose the brick.

Again, great exposed brick, cool planked wall feature (and an odd little fridge nook)

Oh vintage rugs. If only, if only.

Great light and wood furniture go a long way.

Again, the use of natural wood is key, though the soaring ceilings certainly help.

Love the cushy rug, love the layering.

A common theme I've noted from my inspiration images is that the majority of white floors I love are painted wood. So in addition to the vinyl wood samples my sister is getting, I've asked her to look into a whitewashed vinyl wood look as well. (By the way, my sister is an interior designer, so sadly not everyone has a sister like that at their disposal!) I'm definitely on the fence about this flooring situation, but I figure that if I decide to go vinyl (which can be glued down to below grade floors unlike a lot of laminates) I can always use the white epoxy (which I already purchased, argh) in our garage which is always crazy wet and could use a moisture barrier.

Anyway, as for the rest of the room. I so wish I'd gotten a decent picture of my couches (one couch and one sofa), even though my sister says they are basically a neutral, it would have still helped me for color selection. I really thought I could find a similar couch online because they sort of scream standard 90's to me, but I couldn't! So....well they look like this right now:

Great visual, right?

Luckily they really ARE sort of neutral, unlike my mom's other 90's couch, which was a green and red and white plaid that we aren't going to talk about. She has really good taste otherwise, so we'll just blame that on the selection that was prevalent at the time! However, as inspiring as that jenga couch configuration above is, as it crowds out my laundry space, perhaps this is a little more helpful for a mood board sort of discussion:

It's got a little bit of everything, gray, white, blue, and peach....I don't plan to highlight the peach. :)

So this is the paint color we chose. It's Silver Strand by Sherwin Williams, and while its description as a "cool neutral" makes me a little nervous, it didn't look that cold in the space. While I AM Scandanavian, I haven't quite developed that all white aesthetic that they do so well, so I'm hoping this "almost color" on 2/3 of the walls will work.

I want to find some kind of great rug to ground the seating area. I'm sort of thinking something in a blueish tone, and I love the idea of a traditional looking rug.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Then there's the overdyed rugs that I've considered for YEARS....

Option 4

Option 5

Decisions, decisions.

So additionally in the space, I'll have my sewing table, which is the Melltorp from Ikea, and a refinished desk chair from a few years ago (it's holding up well Sara!)

Both of these will sit on this rug

The other pretty large thing is the sewing area will be the yet to be built cutting table, which I'll build from Ana White's tutorial.

I can't decide if I want to do the base in white or navy, but I'm pretty sure I'll do the top in a stained wood.  I'm going to put it on casters so that I can shove it around as needed, and my sister made a great suggestion to put a groove in one side for cutting straight lines in fabric! I wonder if I can get ahold of one some kind of metal to put in there like you see at craft store cutting counters? I'll have to do some research on that. Then the shelves will be the same wood tone as the cutting top.

I've done very little planning for what will actually go on the walls themselves, and I could ponder it here...but this has gone on long enough and surely I've lost most of you by now! Hopefully by my next update I'll have painted walls, a finished floor, and I can move in the basics! I doubt the room will be "pin-worthy" for quite some time, but it will be exciting just to spread out if nothing else.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Simple sewing room organization

I think I got my sewing machine almost 15 years ago. It came with a little sampler pack of thread that was probably intended for little hand sewing jobs, and from there I've purchased and lost a ton of separate spools of thread. The spools I managed to hold on to, along with their corresponding bobbins, were neatly stored in an equally organized dresser drawer in this box.

It was obviously super effective, and spoiler alert, I'm all done doing it that way. If you are jealous and want to implement this method, I will totally send you this bottom half of a box of checks, just as soon as I find homes for these things which definitely needed to be stored with thread.

So now my thread storage (purchased at Joann's during their storage sale) looks like this:

When I get into the new space, I'll hang it on the wall, preferably near the sewing machine. The location actually isn't critical as it's not like my work space will be enormous. I don't find I do a ton of color changing mid project. In fact, it might end up making more sense near my fabric. Anyway, it's awesome that my sampler threads are no longer tangled with my bobbins, and I won't fill bobbins with the same color thread I already have (I'm looking at you, whites and tans), and I'll actually be able to see what I'm out of and what I need more of. This was honestly such a relief!

Hi there starter threads. We've come a long way.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Basement update

So last time I left you with a basement update, we were framing out the walls.

Since then, we've been making slow progress. We typically only get about one weekend day every two weeks to work on this, so that pretty much explains the lack of speed of renovation. While we've had several work days, many of them were filled with boring but necessary things like electrical and ductwork. All I'll say about that is that the drill bit on the left is the worst and the one on the right is the best.

I had to put my full weight on the first one to get anywhere, and the other just went through like butter.

So here is the current state of things - pink!

We've started putting up the insulation, and the drywall is on deck. Hopefully one more day or so of work and we can start laying up wall board, and the end will be near! Or at might be able to picture an actual room?

We've made progress on that funny corner too. In the image above, we used to have a duct transfer on the right hand side of the room near the doorway. We would have had to drop a soffit down there to enclose it, but that was going to be a bummer because the ceiling height in this room is just over 7', and we didn't really want to drop the height right at the door. My husband was able to pull the transfer across the room to the left and hide it in the one soffit we already had to make. Remember my little sketch?

And here we are so far!

The soffit encloses the duct work and a gas line that came down below the joists, and you can see the framing for the removable bench that houses the water meter.

Slowly but surely...maybe by the end of summer?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Basement Progress!

About a month ago, we were deep in the thick of basement demolition. Luckily, I've managed to do a bit of cleanup since then!

So we went from this

 to this

to this!

Super exciting, huh? Basically, we cleaned up the mess, and got to the super fun task of doing some of the "behind the walls" work. We're pretty lucky in that our basement stays pretty dry. The far right corner in the images above is one of two that makes me a bit nervous, so I was pleasantly surprised to see zero mold when we pulled up the carpet. I also knew we had one spot on the right wall that wasn't covered by drywall that had some efflorescence (the salt deposits left behind when water comes through the block) but was never wet, and one more was revealed when we removed the drywall. My husband pointed out that the location of those spots is a pretty good match to some large tree stumps we removed from the front yard several years ago, evidence of large trees planted far too close to the house. Those have been down for many years, and the stumps were pretty rotten when we pulled them out, so we think that any water that came through did so a long time ago, and we haven't seen any evidence since. Nevertheless, since we plan to cover all the walls again, we wanted a little insurance.

I washed down all the walls with soap and water, and then rinsed, and rinsed....and rinsed. Oh man it took so many passes to finally get clean walls, but the bottle of Drylok Etch I picked up from Home Depot said it needed to be applied on a clean clean I did. After I put that onto all the walls, I filled any of the holes or cracks with Drylok Fast Plug. I planned from the beginning to paint the whole room with Drylok waterproofing paint, so I picked up 5 gallons for the three exterior walls of this roughly 500 square foot space....but then I read the directions and it said that it wasn't meant to be used on floors, even as an underlay coat - my plan was to put clear epoxy over the Drylok paint. So I ended up just painting the walls, and now I have 2 gallons to return. I did a little more research and found out that Drylock makes an epoxy as well, so I think that's what I'll go with for the floor. (I plan to use white. My husband thinks this is a mistake, but I'm going to go for it anyway. I don't want to go with gray, because that just looks like bare concrete or a garage, and I'm not so much into tan right now. He thinks it will show dirt or stains, I think it's epoxy and if it can stand up to tire burns, it should be ok for a craft/rec room.) I did end up painting a roller's width around the edges, since that will be covered by the sill plate for the walls and never walked on.

Speaking of wall framing....

The actual contractor with an actual truck was really surprised that we could fit 100 2x4's in our Prius wagon in the Home Depot pickup lane. We can't quite handle drywall sheets (we'll have to either rent a truck or arrange for delivery when we get to that stage), but the wagon has really served us well!

We dragged all our materials downstairs and got started! Immediately upon starting to snap our lines for the sill plates, we ran into a few roadblocks. Namely....water main and gas line. 

Yep, can't quite block those in easily. Or with a straight wall. We mulled it over for awhile, and like any architects....found that a picture was worth a thousand words. I grabbed the pencil and crudely scratched out my idea on that roller's width of white paint on the floor!

(I snapped a picture that was totally illegible when I uploaded it, so I added some darker lines) Basically, we need to maintain access to the water main on the floor, so we're going to build a bench that can be removed should we ever need to. Then, we'll bump out the wall a few inches to clear the gas line at the ceiling, and add some shelves in the resulting niche. Win-win, more storage, and it turns these problem spots into a "design element." Pro tip - any time you have to do something that might be's a "design element."

Another pro tip I've learned these past few weeks.....

keeping your bottle cap around keeps the sawdust out of your beer. Er, construction fuel.

Wing wall that will divide the bench and shelves for that "design element."

We got about this far on day one of framing, and got all but about 6 studs up on another day this past weekend. That gas line that necessitates the wall bump is also, conveniently, leaking. Yay! Our gas service was updated last year, so when the guy came out to replace the meter, he sealed off the leak with some kind of fancy tape. Technically this worked, so we're not in imminent danger or anything, but it should really get a permanent fix before we enclose it. We...well, the stronger of us....tried wrenching on the pipe leading to the leaking union, and it wouldn't budge. We're going to have our burly contractor neighbor come and take a look, but I think we'll end up calling in a pro for that, so that's one of the areas we haven't finished framing out yet. No need to make the job harder for the pipe fixers! We also didn't finish framing out the door until we actually purchased said door, because that made good sense. We've since picked one up, but it's nothing exciting. Just a plain, primed, flush door. It would be nice to get something paneled, but since the doors in the rest of the house are peeling hollow core didn't make sense to put the very nicest one in the basement! (Even as a plain flush door....given that it's not peeling up at the's still the nicest one.)

But otherwise....we're almost fully framed! Next up, more very boring "in the walls" stuff like running new electrical, putting in air returns, redirecting the vents so that the heat comes in at floor level like it should (opposite of the rest of the house....), and insulation. Then comes drywall! That should be sort of a horrible job, but exciting in that it will then look like a room!

edit to add....I would be remiss if I didn't mention this ridiculous snafu. We just put up the last of the studs in front of this desk/work table. And I realized that because there is a large brick chimney to the left of this photo (you can see a peek of it at the bottom of the picture)....and a steel column touching the right side of the desk....that we had completely enclosed it. Whoops!

We decided that the path of least resistance would be just to unscrew the top from the base and shimmy it out that way....but man. Sometimes.