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I’ve alluded to changes and projects quite a bit here so it’s well past time I fill you in on exactly what’s happening. Mr. Much More Patient is starting his own business and needs an office here. So, we’re making an office.

We already have a den/office type of room, but we both very much like using that room (which started as the original first-floor master bedroom) as a den and since Mr. MMP will require a fairly large desk, most of the things that make the den the cozy spot we like would have to go away. Similarly, the guest bedroom isn’t really big enough for both a bed and a desk setup. So that means the office is heading underground to the finished half of the basement.

I’m certain I’ve written about the basement here before and I may have even written up grand plans for sprucing that space up, but for the first time things are actually happening down there.

This is the epitome of a “warts and all” before picture. The terrible red wall is my doing. But you can also see the pink vinyl floor. Behind the curtained wall is a storage are that actually works pretty well but needs some cleaning out.

Half of the basement was finished by a previous owner. Everything was clearly done as cheaply as possible. Fiberboard was used instead of drywall and furring strips were put over seams instead of taping and mudding. A cheap and exceptionally ugly pink and blue vinyl floor was glued to the concrete. The trim was just flat pine boards straight from the lumber yard. Three lights run down the middle of the room. I’m sad to say that when the current owners took over (um, that would be me), the atrocities got worse. Let’s just say there were some bad paint color choices involved. In my defense, it was literally the first room I’d ever painted in my life and after years in beige apartments I was desperate for color. Hey, at least I did it in the basement and not the living room.

There is a shining star though, and that’s the fireplace that extends from the one upstairs. A previous owner had the flue for it closed off so it no longer functions, but last year we removed the really ugly insert from it so at least it looks ok.

Time is of the essence with this project (and painting is underway) so I’m going into this with far less of a plan than I usually approach these projects with. And the budget is small so we’re tackling the necessities and the cosmetics more than anything. Lighting upgrades, more insulation and even another heat vent (there is one that comes in the room but it’s inadequate for the size of the space) would be very practical upgrades, but they are both time consuming and expensive so none of those is happening. Instead, we’re working with what we have for the most part.

The fireplace is a nice focal point and the wicker chairs came with the place and I love them, but I’ll need to make new cushions for them.

That starts with paint. We’re painting everything—ceiling, walls, trim—the same color (Benjamin Moore Mascarpone, which is the trim color in the majority of the house and also the wall color in the living room) to both lighten it up down there and hopefully visually raise the height of the ceiling. I might have picked a different color but we had a lot of Mascarpone around so we went with that. I’ll pick up new fixtures for the ceiling, hopefully ones that put out a bit more light than what’s there.

This corner will be the office space. The wood box on the wall hides the electrical panel and the tall wood box to the right covers a sump pump.
The stairs are across from the wall above. Yes, I painted it blue and red. Don’t judge. Actually, do judge. I deserve it.  On the far left of the photo you can see the doors that lead to the unfinished portion of the basement.

We absolutely must do something about the floor and not just because it’s ugly. It is also very cold, so we need to cover it with something maybe layer area rugs on top of that. Unfortunately since it’s a larger space, there is no truly inexpensive solution. We’re still weighing the options for that.

I made a trip to Ikea to pick up a desk and a Besta credenza a couple weekends ago and we have plenty of other furniture for the rest of the room.

Here’s a better view of the larger space. 

The lighting is just three ceiling lights, all of which will be replaced. About a year ago I got a quote of about $1,100 to add more lights to the room, so rather than do that, we’ll supplement the lighting with strategically placed lamps. The bump outs on the right for the air ducts are really low. At 5 feet 2 inches tall, that’s not an issue for me, but Mr. Much More Patient has to duck a little to get under them. Hopefully painting everything the same color will make that less noticeable.

I’ll show you our progress as it happens. No matter what, I think it can only get better.

Do you have a finished area in your basement? If so, do you really use it?

9 Responses

  1. That’s a big project, but as long as you are enjoying it, I think it simply provides the doze of energy that you need! 🙂 Keep up the good work, curious to see how it will look like when everything is done!

  2. Our basement is a creepy 1920's limestone basement that may or may not have been a set for a horror flick. Sooo….I only go down there if I see a tornado coming straight at me.

  3. Our basement makes yours look like a dream! We have a bit of finished wall in the largest area but ripped out the only finished room after years or water coming in behind the paneling. Luckily no mold problem. But if we want to finish the space we first have to spend about $10,000 to put in drainage and a sump pump. So nothing is happening while we decide what we really want to do. Look forward to seeing what you do.

    1. Ugh. That's a lot of money to invest in a space. We have two sump pumps (one on each side of the basement) and in spring they seem to run almost nonstop. I can't imagine what it would be like without them.

  4. I have never had a basement that I have had to deal with. It is nice that yours is already liveable if not up to your standards. One thing a person could say about you is that you aren't afraid of color. I was a little surprised since the rest of your house if mute. It is more restful when the living areas are quiet and quite lovely.

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