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Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Great Basement Makeover

I have always been one who believed that summer is the time to take on projects (which probably also explains why I think VBS is God's gift to homeschooling moms).  When my kids were little, the projects were things like filing papers and purging outgrown clothes and overabundant toys (ALL of which still need to be done regularly, but now the kids can help).  Now, my projects are a little...ummm...larger.

The first project this summer was The Great Bedroom Swap, which I have already blogged about and is really wonderful now that it's done.  It's amazing how our old room (the girls' new room) had 5 windows and our new one has 3, but it's SOOO much lighter...and the rooms are side by side!  But I digress...

The second project has been The Great Basement Makeover.  See, in FL people don't have basements because the aquifer (our source of drinking water) is very close to the surface, and if you dig a basement, it's likely to be underwater.  But we are built into the side of a hill, and our basement is really at ground level on one side of the house.  So we have a basement.  A 1200 square foot basement.  Yes, you read that right-it's actually larger than our first house.  And when we moved in...Oh! The plans we had for it!  But I was pregnant with baby #3, and my other kids were 3 and 1 at the time, so the reality was anything that got put down there (which was anything I did not have a definitive place for in the house) stayed down there, untouched for years. 10 years. 

I mean, sure, we went down there.  For a brief period, maybe even a year, part of it was actual usable space.  But really, our trips down there were mostly to bring up Christmas decorations in December and put them down again in January.  Or to put a box of outgrown clothes down there for the next sibling or retrieve one for a child in need.  And the answer to ANYTHING that we were given didn't have a home?  Put it in the basement.

But the rub is that we live in an old house, and there is no storage space.  Each passing year saw more and more homeschool supplies and longer and longer school days meaning the dining "room" (really a large area outside the kitchen that you have to pass through to get to EVERY other room in the house) was constantly cluttered, sometimes the table was buried, and we were running out of places to put things like globes and microscopes, etc.  And all of that is just crazy when you have 1200 sq ft sitting right below you being used for absolutely nothing important.  And sooooo, this summer finally brought The Great Basement Makeover.

I have no true "before" pictures.  See, when I first began my work down there about 2 weeks ago, I started in a small room I call "my room" because I used it to house all my craft supplies, and all the gifts I shop for year round for special occasions for others or for my own kids' holidays.  Well, when I started moving things in "my room", I found (if you are eating right now, stop reading...really) 50,000 maggots.  Okay, not really 50,000, but probably well over 100.  And I popped every. Single. ONE.  And they aer what they me on this.  The stench was indescribable.  Combined with the subtle stench of something that had clearly died somewhere behind a wall (hence the maggots) and the high humidity (this is summer in FL after all) and the lack of air conditioning, and it has been one truly nasty experience.  There just are not words...and I was a little to busy to take pictures- you wouldn't have wanted to see them anyway-trust me.

So I cleaned it all up, and mopped the floor with bleach water, and wiped the walls with bleach water, and we used expandable foam to plug the gap where we think the critter died, but wouldn't you know it...

About a week later, it was like Lord of the Flies.  I mean, we went from no flies to flies thick enough that you didn't walk down there with your mouth open in one day flat.  It was beyond description, except to say it was disgusting.  They would land on your hair...on your body...ewwwww....

So my son Scott and I went on a killing spree...and that night The Hubs brought home 10 fly tapes.  We hung 7 downstairs and 2 upstairs (one broke right in the container).  And I did take some before pictures then, so if you look close, you can probably see flies whizzing by. ( You can definitely see them on the fly strip!)  And today, I took some "during" photos for comparison.  Be very prepared to see a colossal mess.

 You can't fully appreciate how many flies are on this is covered all the way around.  And there are 6 more just like it.

 Here is the far side of the basement in its "before" state.

And here is the "during".  I have to paint the walls, so not much is actually in place yet, but all 3 desks and workbox shelves will go here.

 This will be my "office" area- my desk, file cabinets, a bookshelf, etc.  Plus my photography props.

Here's the "during".  I'm painting the walls a "pumpkin" color, which is really looking more "Creamcicle".  Unfortunately, we had some water seep in from the outside along the front wall (to the right), so I have to wait to finish painting until we paint on some "Dry Lock".

 This will be the arts and crafts area.  There are 2 sinks over here- one is the white thing you can see on the right and one is under all those suitcases.  Can you believe we NEVER looked inside those cabinets?  Ever?  Not even once since we moved in?  They have all sorts of outdated lighting fixtures we now have to purge.

Here's the "during", which isn't quite fair because it shows a different view of the space.  From here, all that sink area is to the right.  This corner DID house all my Christmas and holiday decorations, but now will have all the art and craft supplies AND science experiment stuff.  The sink area is a mess right now with craft stuff that needs a home on these shelves (just haven't gotten that far-only one of me- although the Magician's wife, who has a great eye for what should go where, came over to day and helped me organize my space and my thoughts...she also did more than her fair share of heavy lifting ;-)

 Above and below is "my little room" which will now just be the storage room.  I have no before pics-this was the flies' favorite hangout spot- but it's relatively done now.  I was going to paint the walls, but decided not to because the paint I was going to use (that we already had) went bad, and it's money and time I didn't need to spend to paint in there.  This houses all our Christmas and holiday stuff, camping supplies, canning supplies, clothes that was waiting for the littles to grow into them, and on the wooden shelves, gifts waiting to be given, Easter baskets, pictures, mementos, and antique rocking chair in need of repair, and lots of other things to be gone through when I get the chance.  We think the door to this room is in another part of the basement, and we may put it back on to keep inquiring minds out of the presents!

 And above, this is the area you enter into when you first come down the stairs.  It will be our reading area, but obviously the mess had to go.

 Of course, to move the white plastic shelves, they had to be emptied, and so now the pool table is covered!  I can move all that once I paint the walls so the bookshelf can actually be loaded with books.  Below is a glimpse of what it will look like (minus the speaker, LOL).

Below is what my husband's project was all day long.  Before we moved in, they had installed a drop ceiling down here.  But the ceiling is LOW, and we are tall, and the drop ceiling was clausterphobic, not to mention it really meant if you were over 6 ft.  you hit the ceililng.  See the picture below this one?  That's my fingers marking how tall I am, and the white metal bar shows how close the ceiling was to me.  We got the ceiling tiles taken out months ago when we had electrical work done adn needed to access the wiring, but the grid came down today...I could not be more excited- I wish I had a picture.  I'll get on though.

See all that junk below?  That's all The Hub's stuff.  It's 9 computers, 2 monitors, a printer, 2 BOXES of cables, several boxes of books, and tons of miscellaneous computer parts (he works on computers for a living).  He has to go through all this, so I just put it all in one place for him :-).

Okay, that's it for now...I have to get to bed!
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Sonya said...

Glad to see momentum! Looks better, even jumbled up because you have a plan!

Mrs. Taffy said...

Amazing HUGE project! You will be so happy once it's done! What a great space to organize. Post more pictures as you continue through the project!

Melissa said...

WOW! Well done!

April said...

Took lots of gumption--as they say in the Mississippi back woods--to get started on that one! :) It is looking better already!
Can't wait to see the progress!

Crystal said...

Hello from the crew! Beautiful blog!

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Paisley Parmer said...

Oh, I'm so jealous that you have a basement! That would cure my tornado/hurricane fears so much. We've talked repeatedly on how we can build a partially underground cellar/storm shelter some how.