I’ll never forget the first time I walked down the basement stairs in our home. There was a pair of mannequin legs leaning against the wall. I saw them out of the corner of my eye and screamed bloody murder before my brain could actually register what was happening. It was a good thing I didn’t know about the rats yet.
The basement was weird all over, including a ceiling covered in fluorescent lights. You’d need sunglasses to be in the room if they were all on at once. The designers made that improbable by controlling the lights in sections with 3 switches installed 15 feet apart. We’d prefer to be able to light the whole space with an appropriate amount of lights with one switch close to the entrance.
The basement has been paneled twice. The first time they used classic 1971 dark paneling which you can see to the right of the door. They covered the dark paneling in 1992 with unfinished pine. There is a toilet, sink, and shower in the basement….each in it’s own space spread out over the whole floor. There’s not one bathroom with all three. If you want to wash your hands after you pee, prepare to take a walk. Even better, they designed the toilet area to look like an outhouse complete with shaker shingle roof and newspaper insulation. We’ve already started taking that down. The shower is behind the brown door you see to the left. Also back there is a bonafide sauna with bench seats and steam rocks. So cool….until you realize that it’s probably the source of the mold. To take care of the mold we had to rip up carpet and part of the pine paneling. I didn’t know about non toxic solutions like Solumel or Thieves oil at the time, so used some harsh chemicals to do the clean up. The basement was ugly before, but now it’s both ugly and torn up…. We’ve used carpet tiles to make the room partially liveable, but I have dreams for so much more.
Here’s my first stab at a concept for the room. The kids love their pool/air hockey table that was left to them by my late Aunt after losing her battle with lung cancer. I have plans to move it to an adjoining space to open up this section for seating. I’d like to use this half of the room for movie nights, to host the church youth group, and for extra areas to expand into when we have our family over for holidays.
The other half of the room is a workout zone with free weights and some machines. Darren wants a smooth bamboo floor down here for the girls to practice ballet and rubber flooring where he lifts weights. It’s better for that if there isn’t an area rug (though I would normally include one to warm up the space.)
I love light, but there’s way too much light down there. We’ll need to sheetrock the ceiling to be able to remove all the fluorescent lights. In the process we’ll add some recessed lighting. That should make the ceiling feel about a foot taller.
Hopefully there will be some useable wood left from the ceiling to fix damaged areas in the rest of the room. Then we’ll paint the paneling white. It’s not only a big money saver but I love the texture of painted paneling. We already own the Tullsta white chair and have some stumps hanging around to be a side table. The sofa is Ikea’s Stocksund. Foam filled denim beanbags from uglysofa.com extend the seating for kids, but are easily stacked up in the corner when it’s time to dance. The wreaths are DIY Magnolia wreaths, but I’m not sold on the wall decor just yet. After painting the built in shelves white, we’d like to use them to store DVDs and family games.
What do you think? What would you would change?
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