finished basement

basement built-ins and fireplace

in the planning stages we made a list of needs, wants, and would-be-nices. a ventless gas fireplace to cozy things up was in the would-be-nice category. the more the idea marinated, the more we decided we really wanted it and should invest in it now while everything is being ripped apart and put back together. how glorious is this set-up below? you would never know you’re in a basement.


we researched and shopped and discussed with our contractor and the all-in price tag for the fireplace would be somewhere in the ungodly neighborhood of 6k-8k (for the unit, the gas line, the labor, etc etc). absolutely out of the question. we were sad. then we thought outside the box and researched electric fireplaces. sounds lame and fake, but after seeing some of the technology out there, it was clear that we could get the same warm, cozy glow for way way way less with one of these units that plugs right into an outlet.

we wanted an insert to go inside the built-in unit. we kept coming back to this same dimplex model.

i like the “linear” look (as its called in the industry). at 50″ long, it will really make a statement in the unit under the tv. the going rate for these is about $1400. not cheap, but not $8k either. it was doable. i shopped around (these are sold by a number of vendors). and bought one on sale with an additional 5% off (and free shipping).
BLF50 Dimplex Linear Wall-Mount Electric Fireplace
$1,199.99 x 1

Subtotal: $1,199.99
Discount: $60.00
Shipping: $0.00
Sales Tax: $0.00
Total: $1,139.99

i was pretty pleased with myself. funny how looking at the cost of the gas version made this feel like a steal (while it is really still so much $$!).

if you are an amazon person, like me, they also carry the same dimplex model (here).

the guys are working on this now, so when i am back from vacation, i should be able to show you how it becomes a reality!

by the way, if any burglars are reading, my sister will be house sitting all week with our fierce bulldog. and she has guns.

oh god am i going to miss this pup.

1. lighting
2. ceiling
3. fireplace
4. built-ins
5. paint
6. carpet

a ceiling

i felt strongly about the ceiling for the basement since day 1. i wanted to avoid a dropped ceiling at all costs. maybe you didn’t know about the self discovery involved with finishing a basement .. I discovered that my hatred for dropped ceiling tiles runs deep.

after some pinteresting and houzzing, i decided i needed to have beadboard… something like this.


it took a couple weeks of work.. plumbers, electricians, etc, dealing with heat ducts and wiring up there, but finally the ceiling panels are going up. first was the “strapping”..

and next the planks (just sheets of wainscotting we got at home depot)..

obviously a lot of painting will be happening after the ceiling is fully intact. you have to use your imagination a little, but i’m liking what i’m seeing.

as you can tell we are creeping toward a finished product. so much work to do before anything is “pretty”, but the heavy lifting is almost done! a carpet and a mother load of paint will make a world of difference. (you are all invited to the painting party. i’m serious.)

the final task for the contractor is the built-in shelving/entertainment center. basically the heart of the room. my head is spinning with ideas, you have no idea!

1. lighting
2. ceiling
3. fireplace
4. built-ins
5. paint
6. carpet

keeping it together

there is a lot going on in my world. we have the basement project… 2, 5, 10 guys coming and going during the week and on saturdays drilling and banging and all those decisions and the communication involved in the process…
we’ve had a few health related set-backs over the past couple weeks. first, there was something going around dane’s daycare that gave him a bad cold and mild fever for a few days, then i got a miserable stomach bug toward the end of last week. dane tripped and hit his face on a table at daycare wednesday… he’s ok, but has a fat, sore lip… 
we have our family vacation coming up the week after next, which just takes a lot of careful planning since we’ll be traveling out of the country with a toddler. meanwhile, i’m trying to be extra productive at work and of course cramming in extra workouts whenever i can in light of the aforementioned vacation that will be taking place in tropical (read: bathing suit) weather. i’ve really been hustling the past couple weeks and i feel pretty good about my hard work.. aside from some of the time at the office i’ve had to miss to be with dane, but i can’t beat myself up over it.

we made it to the boston childrens museum sunday with our besties the colantos, and this weekend we are heading to killington vt to party with more of our very best friends (where dane will be the only little.. wish us luck!)

photo cred to lizzy


now where am i going with this? i don’t know, but i need to start getting into the basement progress.. there has been a lot!

the only fun purchase i have made so far is this moravian star pendant for the bottom of the stairs leading into the main room. this “aged tin” star only ran me $96.

i’ve admired them for so long in hallways or foyers like below, but never had a place to put one until now.

there were canned lights down in the basement already since it was originally somewhat finished. a bunch of them. all wired into the dropped ceiling which was the first thing mike tore down in preparation for the re-do.

an electrician came by and told us that the lights were not made to be built into a ceiling and could even be a fire hazard (yikes) so they couldn’t be salvaged. we had to buy and rewire all new lights. so that’s done. and that’s sort of all there is as far as lighting goes.
the other phase 1 decisions we have made are as follows:

1. lighting
2. ceiling
3. fireplace
4. built-ins
5. paint
6. carpet

so i’ll get to each of these over the next week or two with a little vacation recap in the mix 🙂

dreaming up a basement bedroom

my vision for this guest bedroom evolved as the construction slowly came together.
here is where i stand (little inspiration board below). i’m going for a calm, organic, industrial look (if that makes any sense).  natural textures and metals with green accents and white bedding.
here is the drywalled room with the new window location. we left the old window hollows as they were for the heck of it (interest? character?). 
mike half-joked about painting the insides with chalk paint and i said, YES. do that.
you can see where the lines are drawn for the mdf boards. it will be a board and batten look around the bottom, then up the whole wall with the window (which will be the head of the bed).
here are mike and rowdy probably questioning my pendant lighting choice. they will soon find the choice is FLAWless. (ha. i hope).
this wall color was not a calculated choice. we grabbed it from the mess-up bin at our local benjamin moore vendor. they have a paint can full of sticks dipped with colors they have mess-up gallons of in the back and sell for $10. this was really high quality regal select bm paint (normally $50/gallon at least) and i thought i could make the greeny work. i know you might be thinking this is similar to the gypsy teal in brewster… not what i am going for. i think if i mix in enough earthy green accents, i can stay away from the punchy teal feeling.

the best part. hopefully. eventually. will be a sliding barn door across this opening between the bedroom and the main area.
..until next time!

basement phase I

when we decided it was time to tackle the basement, there were a lot of immediate decisions to be made. we figured we could get started on the little space that would be the bedroom with the help of our talented neighbor (whose name is rowdy.. the same guy who did an amazing job with the entry molding) and then move on to the rest of the floor after getting our feet wet. the bedroom will be about 10×20, a manageable little space to start drywalling and finishing off. here it is just after we cut open the wall & poured the cement.

and here it is after moving the windows (we transferred them from the long wall.. which is under the deck.. to the adjacent wall where they will let in way more natural light), putting up drywall, plastering the ceiling and adding some preliminary trim. 

the fun part about starting from scratch and working with rowdy down here is that the possibilities for customization are endless. the scary part is that endless possibilities are expensive(!) there is a ledge that runs along the 3 walls and there will be future pendent lights on either side of the future bed.. and then after seeing how nice the entry came out, i couldn’t help but ask for a little molding action along the bottom of ledge in here as well… you will see what i mean later.
i want this room to be really hip while REALLY cozy and inviting so people are dying to come visit (“people” being my sisters and our friends from the other side of the world.. otherwise known as the metrowest).
we have to bundle up when we go down here because there is no heat yet!

ahhhh, the view from the bedroom. a far cry from cozy and inviting.. but not for long!

more progress to report soon.

finishing our basement

the first phase of finishing our basement was unfinishing our basement. one of the first things we did when we moved in two years ago was have the whole lower level remediated for mold. this involved tearing up all of the carpet and removing the bottom of the dry wall. we also installed an auto-pump bucketless dehumidifier to keep the basement dry.

in retrospect this was a huge blessing in disguise… its the reason the previous buyers backed out of their purchase agreement and the reason we are now able to rethink and reinvent the whole space. thanks mold. love  you.

the basement was really really really really gross the first time we saw it. the next few picks are from the home inspection walk-through.

these are the stairs down – off of the kitchen..

and here is an inflated, moldy aero-bed. quick nap anyone?


so the entire area was stripped down, sterilized and will be rebuilt.
the most significant change we are making is the addition of a bedroom (and eventually bathroom). its hard to explain, but when the previous owners put an addition on the kitchen upstairs (basically bumped out the back of the house) they had to build a support structure/foundation below, coming off the basement. so the window on the back wall of the basement that used to look out to the yard, now looked into a weird, unfinished, “secret room”. it seems as though they had originally intended to make it finished living space, but either ran out of time or money or both.
here is the secret room.. where the house bumps out in the back, under the deck (the basement is a walk-out).
and you can barely see that window along this wall below on the left that used to be the only way to see into the weird semi-room.
the room had no concrete base (just dirt), but was otherwise built as if it was intended to be an addition to the basement. we decided it would convert nicely into a 4th bedroom that we will likely need for guests down the road. so we blew open the wall and poured concrete (also, we were told that without concrete, the enclose area was likely to grow mold of its own).  
concrete is not cheap. luckily mike won his fantasy football league last year and his profit is now a floor of cement (don’t get me wrong, i’m sure we could be building in indoor pool down here if we still had all the money he has lost from previous seasons of fantasy sports, but lets focus on the positive).
we couldn’t afford to do all the refinishing right away, but now two years later we are diving in head-first. mostly because TOYS ARE TAKING OVER OUR HOUSE.
all of these toys.. ALL of them will be going down into the future play room.
here is what said play room is looking like as we speak:

don’t worry we hired people. real qualified people to do the putting back together. mike is only the demolition (read: destruction) specialist..
below is the rough (not to perfect scale) layout. things should be moving very quickly, so i’ll [hopefully!] be checking in frequently. if you can’t tell this is sooo exciting for us. checkout my pinterest board for some of my random inspiration.