Wednesday, August 27, 2008

while you were out, my version

aka: while I was away from the blog
aka: while I did the most physical labor I've ever done in 96 hours
aka: while my husband was livin' it up at a great wedding in a beautiful city surrounded by family and old friends and enjoying relaxing plane trips with a well behaved toddler on practically empty flights

I couldn't really use that last title on account of the length. But it's all true.

Regretfully, I didn't take before photos of my while-Ryan-was-gone-project. I was totally kicking myself for that, because only in seeing the condition of our basement prior to this week (and especially immediately prior to this week) can you truly appreciate the after effect. But oh well.

I am almost always totally clueless as to what to get Ryan for birthdays. I hate it. I love surprising him and getting him things or doing special things that I know he'll really like, it's just so hard to come up with what that is most of the time. So here's what I came down to this time. Ryan loves our basement. He loves his big tv. That's where our DVR is. That's where his pool table is. That's where, in theory, will eventually be the best game room, best home theater, best hangout spot on our block. Someday. But for now it's a concrete basement. With bare concrete floors and gray concrete walls. With exposed beams and pipes and other utilities. And though originally we thought we would be able to finish the basement in the first year or so of living here, turns out that is not the case. It will be quite awhile.
But Ryan still likes to hang out down there. He could care less what it looks like; that's where his cool toys are, that's where it's roomiest, and that's "his" space. But he also wants me to hang out down there with him. When he watches sports, or we watch a movie or we hang out playing games, that's where he wants to do that. I, on the other hand, don't really enjoy hanging out down there. I'm not a fan of concrete dusty gray on gray. Doesn't exactly say inviting. And the whole time I am down there I'm distracted by the "unfinishedness" and am picturing in my mind all the things we want to get done down there and feeling depressed that it'll never get done and I'll never get to really enjoy my basement and all it's potential.
So. While Ryan was out of town this past week, I decided to do something about that.
I spent two whole days going thru, unpacking, sorting, recycling, disposing, garage sale flagging, reorganizing dozens and dozens of boxes in our basement. Heavy boxes. Boxes we haven't touched or unpacked in the year since moving here. Boxes we've partially unpacked looking for things and then haphazardly shoving things back in the boxes or back on the shelves. It was a mess. All of our books were still in boxes, those are now on shelves. I condensed a whole wall full of storage into about six boxes, two shelves of books, a few files of officework, and tons of boxes marked for garage sale.
Then I cleaned all the walls and floors. And rolled out our three area rugs with pads. And primed the walls. And painted (hand painted because after priming with a roller I decided rolling uneven pockmarked concrete walls was more hassle than it was worth)(but then second guessed that decision after hand brushing what seemed like miles of wall myself) three out of the four sides of our basement, including some of the shelves. I hung drapes, covered some of the bare lightbulb lighting, put a new storage cupboard down there for extra pantry items, moved the mini fridge, changed my mind and moved it back, made Ryan a "bar" corner, hung pictures on the walls, threw some new throw pillows on the couch, and recovered two of our extra dining room chairs.
I spent $30 on paint, $75 on drapes, $30 on pillows, and maybe another $40 on frames for Ryan's posters and some knick knacks.

So, for just over $150 and A LOT of grunt work, it's a pretty dramatic makeover. It was really a ton of work. Once I started, I was sure I'd gotten in over my head and I really wished I had been doing this project with Ryan instead of trying to do it all myself and surprise him with it. It was a big undertaking for one little girl like myself :).
But now it's done. And last night when he got home, he was totally surprised and impressed and we're very excited to hang out in our "new" basement.

I did a little video virtual tour thing this morning, but then realized I don't know how to render it to get it uploaded, so that'll have to wait for Ryan's expertise tonight. Here's a sneak peek with a few snapshots instead:

Oh who am I kidding, forget sneak peek, here are the big shots:

video to come later :)


K.M.L said...

I'm completely impressed!!!! That looks amazing! No wonder you've been mia.... :)

Christina said...

What an awesome birthday present for your honey (by the way, Happy B-day Ryan)! I'm really impressed too! Good work Heather!

jenny said...

that looks awesome heather! it has to feel great that you were able to do that all yourself (even if it was exhausting)!?

Anonymous said...

WOW! that is a great gift and it looks completely cozy now! and way to go on cleaning up the last of the moving boxes... we still have to get to that... it hasn't been a year yet for us but it's closing in fast. :)

also - i know exactly how you feel... in our old house, we had HORRIBLE dirty ugly brown carpet in our downstairs. i never wanted to hang out down there, because i could only think about fixing it up, and when i'd try to explain to tom that it really bothered me, he didn't get it. so i'm glad someone else knows what i felt like, now i don't feel so weird. :)

Jody said...

You did an awesome job making your basement a fun place to be. I really like your little office space. I love it when a woman is brave enough to take on a big job alone.

Nicole said...

WOW! That looks great! I hope he was surprised :) Happy Birthday Ryan!

Whew... no wonder you've been MIA. I was starting to wonder if something was wrong or if you were mad or something.

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