Wednesday, December 10, 2008


A few weeks back I had shared my grand cleaning plan, the intent of which was to have a space for more regular sewing/crafting. Since then I've had manic cleaning/organizing episodes (because it seems like it's all or nothing around here when it comes to available time and energy) which have resulted in a clean bedroom, an organized office, a "redesigned" living room arrangement (not really part of the original plan, but hey, when the urge hits you run with it), and the latest accomplishment (thanks to yesterday's "snow day" happenings which kept everyone home from work/school) an inhabitable basement! And while the details of the original plan have had to be tweaked (really, thinking I could get my sewing desk into my already stuffed office was just craziness talking), I'm so, so happy with the end result of almost 2 months of hard work.

When we bought our house 5 years ago this month, it was not really what we had had in mind for our first home. As many first time home buyers were optimistic about finding that great bargain fixer-upper that we would in time turn into our dream home. You know the two story, 4 bedroom, 100+ year old craftsman home with a solid foundation, inhabitable in it's current/raw state just waiting for some love and attention to let it's true potential shine. Well...after getting a good look at what type of fixer-uppers were in our price range, we decided to go with the much less exciting, much less distinctive, but much more practical 3 bedroom ranch with a full unfinished basement, a 2 car garage, and a huge yard in a very nice little neighborhood of similar homes. Even though I bitch and complain about needing more space, this is our home. I've become quite attached to it over the years and it provides us with what we need to enjoy a happy, healthy life. (And once we add a deck, fence the yard, get new windows, insulate and re-side, replace the carpet...OK, so it's not perfect, but really quite adequate.)

One of the untapped resources our house offers is a full, unfinished basement that has potential to add a nice sized family room (with wet bar), a 4th bedroom, a nice sized laundry room/craft area, and a 1/2 bath, while maintaining some storage space. (Should one have the resources necessary to turn a raw space into a finished living area.) Scott and I have had it all mapped out in our heads for 5 years now. While remodeling plans are no where in our near future, some of the space is actually nice enough NOW to offer some additional living space with a little effort and a few inexpensive supplies. Over the years the basement has been more of a "holding" place for random junk, though we have tried on several occasions, mostly unsuccessfully, to organize things into usable spaces.

Well, with the coming of Christmas and the need for me to have access to my sewing machine in a somewhat private setting (after all how would it look if Santa was working on her gifts at our kitchen table while the kiddies ran around observing) I decided yesterday to go down and SIMPLY organize the area around my little craft desk so that when my dear friend Jen sends back the PJ pants she's helping me put together for the girls, I can get right on finishing them up for our Christmas Eve tradition. I'm sure you have some idea of what I'm going to say next...

Yes, after 7 hours of cleaning, sorting, moving, and piling I present to you....our totally rearranged and somewhat livable basement!

(Warning, really bad photos are posted next. Partially because well, it's a dark, gray, unfinished basement. Partially because I was being lazy and used the point and shoot and didn't Photoshop. Deal. You at least get the idea of what I'm talking about here.)

The large space just to the left after you come down the stairs, the space that lies directly below our living room, has been converted into the "family room" area.

This space has typically been more of a "temporary storage" area for things as they have migrated from the main floor to the basement. As you can see this space is pretty raw. The floor and walls have been painted a dark institutional gray and the ceiling is unfinished. There's also a major lack of lighting AND electrically outlets (not to mention heat/AC) in this space which is part of the reason we've not really used it for much in the past. I'm hoping since there are a couple electrical boxes available in the space that we can have a couple outlet dropped in and I'm already considering paint color options. Any ideas? I want something warm and inviting (to off-set the cold concrete) yet also light.

For the first time in 5 years, one could actually find a specific book on our bookshelves instead of having to sort through various piles and in random boxes. (Thanks to the hubby for spearheading this little task!) AND, not that this was any question in my mind, I realized I have A LOT of books...including some I had totally forgot about. Oops!

The girls have gained a small coloring/crafting space of their own which I hope comes in handy during the day if I want to be downstairs sewing when it's just Brea and I at home.

The area that runs perpendicular to the family room and lies directly under our upstairs office and "master" bedroom, which we have in the past tried to use as living space due to the fact it has a ceiling AND has been updated with electrical outlets, has now become my craft area!

This area is lighter because of the paint and white ceiling and gets a little more natural light from a section of glass bricks that face the east rather than the north (like in the family room section). I'm so excited to not only have room to stack all my craft boxes/supplies (which as you can see from the picture above need some MAJOR organizing still...they're the pile in the top left of the picture...the pile in the top right is kids clothes waiting for the right season or age) but I've been able to set up this great drop leaf table to give me a raised cutting surface and extra work space! (Recognize the table Meg?)

And here it adorable little sewing desk. All ready for some action. The basket setting up top by the machine is sock monkey making supplies. Hmm...I wonder why that would be setting out?
As you can see, there's still plenty of boxes and random piles of stuff that need dealt with. A Goodwill run (or multiple runs as the case may be) are in our future along with a trip to recycle some old electronics. I have maternity clothes that need to go to the consignment shop and I'm wrestling with what to do with some baby items we no longer need but have not yet gotten rid of for various reason. All this cleaning and organizing and purging has proven to be quite refreshing even with as much work as it is and as tired as I feel at the end of a long day of work. It feels good to see progress and to have a sense of moving forward after a period when it's felt like we've done nothing but back step.

If you need me in the near future...I'll be in the basement...sewing!


1 comment:

Laura said...

UUmmm, our basement could use a bit of the same treatment, if you run out of activities and need to come over...Congrats on the great transformation!