Friday, April 11, 2008
The Mother of ALL Projects!
We started this HORRIBLE lovely project the middle of January. It's so nasty here that time of year, you might as well stay inside and find an elephant to eat, one bite at a time!

The basement storage room was just a mess, nasty, dirty, yucky - how many words are there to describe it? It was also so big it was awkward. We'd put up a huge curtain, dividing it off to create a sewing area for me, but decided the time was ripe to dress it up a bit. Since I'm blessed that DH is handy-dandy, we knew it wouldn't cost much. Labor is generally about 60% of any home remodeling project. His labor is relatively free, if you don't count regular meals, freshly-ironed shirts, and we just won't mention any other forms of showing appreciation for his efforts, now will we, because our kids read this and it would creep them out we're family friendly here.

First step, DH told me I had to EMPTY THE ROOM! Somehow that hadn't occurred to me. So we took everything except the fridge and freezer out, and shoved them to the rec room, next door. We don't really 'rec' down there much anyway. Honestly the only living creature in this house who plays pool is the cat. (Note - pool table will stay when we move away. Cat will go with.)

I pushed into the rec room the stuff that I had to either sort, or give away. Cans of paint, camping equipment, etc. were left on the storage room shelves and pushed to the other side of the room so DH could work. We did a lot of pushing and shoving, of stuff, not each other, to keep a free workspace.

DH started his magic, framing up a wall, with closets on both side. This side is the storage room, and it's still huge, even after dividing it off. The other side is what became my oh so lovely sewing room. The storage room has a 9 foot closet, with a 6 foot opening. The craft room has a 6 foot closet, with a 4 foot opening - fabulous, fabulous for keeping a room neat.

So here it is with the wall up, and the closets framed in. DH also added some outlets, so I could plug in the appliances in a different spot, and more were added to the sewing room too. You just can't have too many outlets, and most older homes don't have nearly enough.

Once the wall was up, and the closets were in, next job was to pull out the shelves so I could paint the walls. We cut the shelves back from 9 to 5, getting rid of any of the older ones that were nasty, rusty, etc. They have a new home in the garage with the other rusty stuff. You can see from the floor that I had to paint this room in steps - move that, paint here, move it again, paint there. Made the whole project take much longer, but less work putting it all back too. The walls were painted with Dry Lok, a moisture barrier that we had tinted to match the sheetrock wall. If you paint a cinderblock wall with latex, you can never go back and waterproof it.

So two coats of gritty Dry Lok were applied. I'm still just amazed what a can of paint can do for improving the looks of a room, any room! The room looked much better. Me? Not so much, the gritty paint flecked into my hair, onto my hands, and somedays DH would come to a wife who was a frightful mess. Note - you may not want to attempt this project unless you've been married at least 25 years, so they don't turn and run when they see you!

We painted the cement floor with a sand color, to brighten it up. It was grey, but looked too utilitarian for me. The closet doors and baseboards were painted a fresh coat of white. The fridge and freezer were moved into place, where the new outlet is behind them.

Then began the most monumental bite of elephant of the whole project, in my book, but then I didn't have to hang the sheetrock either. I had to go through every single box of keepsakes, ours and the kids, sort, toss, put into ziploc bags, etc. In other words, all that stuff on the pool table. There were days I found myself procrastinating because the job was so big, so I finally grabbed the kitchen timer and started working on it in one hour increments. Sure enough, soon as I got going, I didn't want to quit! The side dish of diet coke didn't hurt...

THIS JUST MAKES MY SEMI-OCD HEART HAPPY! Each shelf has categories, the last one on the end is all the kids' keepsakes, from cabbage patches, to trophies, to matchbox cars, books, barbies, etc. etc. etc. When we move next year, each kid will become the proud owner of their boxes - Note: Sarah, you have two, Leslie, you get three, and Dan - you are the proud owner of seven boxes, one Steel-trac, a baseball bat, football helmet and karate trophy that would not fit in a box. All yours kiddo!

Here's the closet - what a fabulous idea my DH had putting this in. It holds golf clubs, the carpet cleaner and downstairs vacuum, unused baby furniure that will be used by future grandbabies, seasonal decor (sled, scarecrow), folding chairs and table, wedding dresses, ,etc. Because really it's just hard to file away a sled or scarecrow neatly. I love that it's all handy, but I can just shut the door and it looks wonderfully neat.

This end is the pantry DH put in for us last year - and tucked under the stairs is all the Christmas decor (I gave half of it away at last year's 'Free Garage Sale'.) That drafting table will go with us for DH's fishing room, and I use it as a gift wrap / package center right now. I also keep a row of boxes under the last pantry shelf, to fill up with Viet Vet donations. Makes it easy, when they fill up, I go online and schedule a pickup. We've done eight pickups since we began this in January. Another one is scheduled for next week, winter clothing we didn't wear enough to warrant keeping it. I think the end of any season is the best time to go through clothing and give it away. It's much easier to decide whether to keep or give away then.

Drum roll please, heck entire marching band parading through the basement. I'm over the moon at having this project done. We haven't seen the top of the pool table in three months. There are boxes that still need going through, for fine tuning what to keep, etc. I still have to paint the baseboards and trim in this room white, those french doors need another coat of white, and the stairs will get a second coat of that paint we used on the storage room floor. A few family photos in black and white, then HALLELUJAH, an entire floor of the house will be done. Please excuse the inch of dust on that little black table. From my previous post on dusting laser beams in garages, you know about how often I dust anything.

If you hear a burp, that's just me, enjoying that last bite of Elephant!

  posted at 8:10 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

    I have a deep, abiding love for full octane coffee, sewing, knitting, quilting, reading, cooking, gardening, God and my family - not in that order.

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