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2.25.2013

Project: Basement Makeover - Our House History & Painting


Whew! Are you guys ready for this? Good!
I'm not gonna lie, I sort of feel like I'm sharing a deep, dark secret by showing you our basement and telling you the real story behind it all. You'll see more why a little later on.
 Nevertheless, it's got to be done, so here we go...

Welcome to our first basement walk-through in our home.

Yup, we were just babies havin' babies when we built our first (and current) house 6 years ago.

Wait, let me back up for a second to give you some perspective on how things have actually gone down for us and our house history over the past 8 years.
Our VERY first "house", right after getting married was a basement apartment in a really old home that Cason's Dad owned, that we both helped remodel and build. (who knew that DIY'ing homes was going to be a constant life-long job/hobby for us!?!?) We don't even have photos, so I had to google map it, but you get the idea... and yes, it looks like a cave. ( felt like one too)

It was infested with spiders ALL the time, the shower had a really yucky smell that would seep up through the drain, so we would neatly place a toilet plunger over it after showering, the windows leaked when there were big rain storms and Cason had to duck down a lot, just to get through the door jams and one of the hallways. BUT, we were in total marital bliss, so to us, it was perfect.
:)

Our second house felt like a mansion compared to the first, yet it only had two small bedrooms with a shared hall bathroom, a tiny kitchen with about 3 cupboards and a small living room. We loved it though!

Honestly, we planned on staying there for a while, but then about 2 seconds later, we found out we were pregnant with our third. We COULD have made it work, but wanted a bit more upstairs space with three kids. The market was AWESOME, so we finished the basement, redecorated it and then sold our second house about 18 months later, for almost twice as much as we bought it for... hence the good fortune we had when it came around to buying (building) the home we live in now!

For those of you who aren't familiar with basement living, here in Utah basements are typically peoples "downstairs", especially if you live in a rambler-style home like we do. Even though you're below ground level, the ceilings are usually nice and high and the windows still bring in tons of light.
That being said, it's also really common to buy or build houses with UNfinished basements; mostly because people find that they're just too expensive to finish off once they've completed the upstairs.

This was our case. We built our house, completely finished the upstairs and then about a year later went back and started finishing our basement, so we could have almost double our living space.

Cason and my Dad drafted up how everything was going to be laid out, then we hired a friend to come frame, Cason installed all the insulation and after that we had professionals drywall and mud.
All the finishing work was done by our Dads, Cason and his brothers. Let's just say it was a big team effort. ha!

One of the biggest changes that we made to the basement was knocking out the small door at the bottom of the landing. This was about 5 years ago, so please excuse the not-so-great pictures. You get the idea, right?
:)
It really opens things up and makes the house look a lot more cohesive; like one big space, instead of two different areas.

I also found this picture of Cason and I priming our basement (for the first time in 2008) and well, as we were repainting it last week, at one o'clock in the morning, we couldn't help but try to reenact it, through some grainy, badly lit photos.
What's the saying? "Older and wiser... more mature with age" (?)
Hmm...
To be fair, Cason had the clicker for the camera and right before each shot he would make a ridiculously, loud sound effect. At first I was trying to get him to be serious, but obviously my efforts failed and we ended up with most of the pictures looking like this... men.
Why is everything so much funnier when you're super tired and it's after midnight?

Aaaanyway, in the end, our basement looked like this!

UGH! okay, okay! It REALLY looked like this...

You guys! It was ALWAYS messy! We've spent so much time and money working on the upstairs, that the kids and their toys just took over down here, completely! We actually referred to the basement as "The Toy Graveyard" at one point. ack!

THIS is why I feel like I'm telling a big, deep, dark secret to all of you. I mean, it's never been a "secret" but I would always just giggle behind my computer when someone left a comment like: "Your house always looks so clean, how do you do it!?" or "Wow, don't you EVER have mess in your house with three kids!?"... Well, now you know! Of COURSE we do! The only reason it's always been pretty easy for us to keep the upstairs tidy and toy-free, is because we had a big ol' space downstairs for all of our kiddos' things!

Now that our girls are getting a little older and in school most of the day, we've realized that the amount of toys has gone way down and we're dealing with more art supplies, papers and books instead; something that we're both really excited about. To be honest, we both could never get into the idea of converting an entire space into a "toy room" because we just felt that it was a waste of time! We knew our kids would grow out of it so fast, and in only a couple of years we'd have to turn around and change it into a pre-teen hangout space or extra bedroom. The only thing that we DID regret, was not designating a good system for storing toys... but ya live and ya learn, right?

Now we're in this stage.

We sold all of our big, hand-me-down furniture last year at our garage sale, so thankfully we didn't have to deal with moving any of that this time around, but we did have to haul an old big, bulky TV up the stairs.

After giving everything a good wipe-down we started priming away.

We've decided that we want our upstairs and downstairs to flow really well, so we're painting the whole thing the same color that we love so much upstairs... Autumn Haze by Glidden.
I posted the above picture (of that primed wall) to our Instagram feed a few days back and tons of you wanted to know what that little window was.

Hopefully this explains it much better. 
As you can see, under the stairs, instead of just closing it off or adding a little door for another unfinished storage space, we arched out the wall in the front, added a window to the side and made it into a little kid playhouse!
The girls have LOVED it, and now (as you can see in the picture on the right) tend to use it more for reading, coloring and playing "house" with their baby dolls. I'm actually surprised at how MUCH they use it!

So to wrap things up for this first post, we've finished painting all the walls Autumn Haze and now have windows, door casings and baseboards to finish off. blaaah. They were actually NEVER really finished or painted, only primed, so we had to go back, fill in little nail holes, sand them and THEN paint. Just in case you're wondering, that kind of stuff is the monotonous, boring part to DIY'ing... but someone's got to do it!
:)

 ...till next time!

47 comments:

  1. It will be wonderful. It's fun to have your house change as your needs change. Smart too!

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  2. Cool evolution of your basement. I am liking the lighter color. The little play area under the stairs is adorable. I want one to play in. ;-)

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  3. I feel your pain. We've been working on our basement for the last six years since we built. Little by little as the money comes in. You know all about that. We just finished a big phase - drywall and paint! Yea! Painting trim and filling nail holes is definitely boring.

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  4. Looks like a fun adventure and I love the back story about your house! So cool Utah homes come with extra living spaces, so wish Cali ranchers had basements!

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  5. looks great! So much fresher and brighter already - and LOVE the little play area under the stairs.

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  6. Oh how jealous I am of your basement! I can't wait to see it finished!!

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  7. I absolutely love that paint color! Your basement has come a long way, can't wait to see it finished. And honestly, i spent the first half of this post cringing (about spiders) and 'squee!'-ing about baby twinsies. lol.

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  8. Ha Ha Ha Oh goodness...this is sooo ME!!! Except I live in TX where we have no basements, so my "Toy Graveyard" is the upstairs!!! I try so hard to keep the downstairs clean, and then hope and pray guest don't venture off upstairs!!! =)

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  9. It looks great. I'm a newbie to your blog, but I love it! You guys seem awesome! I wish I could have you over for dinner!!

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  10. We actually have the same house as you do. We are trying to decide how we want the basement to look. We feel like our builder kind of messed up with the basement. The original plans say that the family room is supposed to be split in 2 and be kind of a horse shoe around the stairs. I am wondering what you did with the other side of the family room. We have thought of making the bedrooms a huge family room, but then we would have a long hallway to get to the family room. Do you have any regrets on the way that you designed the layout of your basement?

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  11. Love the photos of you and Cason!! So fun!! I am envious that your basement is finished!! Love the color too. :) Our basement is not. That doesn't me we still don't use it. It is wired up. All the switches and outlets and recessed cans are in. I have the carpet (and pad) we pulled from our living room this summer down there, with furniture, and a TV and DVD player. LOL My online friends laugh at me when they see pics!! LOL

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  12. I'm loving this color! We currently have our living room done in First Anniversary from Glidden and it seems a little too dark for us today. I still love the color but want something more fresh!

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  13. I think autumn haze might just be the shade for my study. Seems like nothing in the neutral or gray family has worked thanks to our tinted windows, ( we live in Florida)

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  14. What a fun little play nook for the girls! I'm looking forward to seeing the finished project!

    ~Abby =)

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  15. Oh my goodness, the little playhouse under the stairs is genius!

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  16. This is really fantastic! Way to take the reins and make a change! You guys are super inspirational in your desire and motivation to keep working hard to make your house a home. You have given me a ton of food for thought, and helped me get my own blog started, so thanks! I am excited to see the "finished" product--like rooms are ever finished!

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  17. I love basements especially the non cave like ones. I cant wait to see how this space turns out.

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  18. The wall colour looks great! Can't wait to see this space evolve!

    Jenny
    Www.simcoestreet.blogspot.com

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  19. Love how honest you are about the real condition of your home! So refreshing! Keep up the good work!

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  20. What!! You're just gonna leave me hanging....?? Just when I thought your house couldn't get any better you show me the basement...LOVE IT so far!!

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  21. Nice to see toy messes exposed :) Your paint colour upgrade is great.

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  22. love reading about your big dark secret! I would kill to have a basement! I can't wait to see how it turns out!!

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  23. I like your basement and I am sure that your kids love it too! It is very important to have a place to host the children's toys but also it is important for the kids to know that they have their personal place to spend their time. It was a great idea to renew it. Very nice post...!

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  24. I think you basement is amazing (as I feel about the rest of your house!). I love seeing the pictures of your girls as little toddlers and you and hubby looking so adorable!

    We are preparing to paint a very large portion of the house and I am a complete paint idiot. Can you answer a few questions for me?

    I see you chose Glidden paint. Have you tried the glidden duo? We are considering Glidden DUO (with primer) Or Behr Premium (with primer). Have you used the paint/primer combos before and would you recommend them?

    Also, I have no idea what finish to use? Did you use satin? Semi Gloss? eggshell? Do you use flat for ceilings? I am so nervous! HAHA!

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  25. Wow! I can't wait to see what it's going to look like finished. We still haven't finished our basement and we've lived in our house 6 yrs. It was going to be a playroom, but now that the kids are older, it needs to be more of a hang out.

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  26. Ohhhh looks pretty so far! excited to see it all come together!

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  27. I am so glad you are talking about your basement and sharing ideas! We haven't been able to afford even starting finishing ours yet (one of these years...) I'm so excited to see what you've done with yours. I'm sure it is gorgeous. I LOVE your home.

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  28. I grew up in Utah and have always had a basement. It was SOOOOO weird to me when I moved to Albuquerque and they don't do basements here! When we asked WHY NOT!?! We just got weird answers like, "we don't have natural disasters, so we don't need them." ?????? We are hoping to move back to Utah soon and I cannot WAIT to throw, er, move all the toys down to the basement!!!

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  29. I love how much brighter it looks down there. The little kids nook is so adorable. If I was a kid, I'd love it too.

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  30. I love how much brighter it looks down there. The little kids nook is so adorable. If I was a kid, I'd love it too.

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  31. What a wonderful space you have. Where we live we can't have basements because of the history of this place, the water table is too high. UGH! I would love a basement for the grand kids to play in. And I love the little space under the stairs. Heaven for little girls! And boys too. You are so talented! I'd love to borrow you and have you help me with my home!

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  32. How fun! Can't wait to see what you do- we are doing the finishing work in our basement RIGHT NOW, so I totally feel ya! You will probably finish before us though haha! Our deadline is April when the parents come to stay with us :)

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  33. Love your honesty. I have several spaces like that as well because we are in the midst of project redo for several rooms. You are just so inspiring and I love your ideas.

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  34. We bought our home with a finished basement that, with a house full of boys, has become ground zero for neighborhood Nerf wars. Every time I think about re-painting it, I think about how upset I'll be when I walk down to see the skid mark on the ceiling where the Nerf football "went long", and I've decided the re-paint might wait until they leave for college! Kudos to you for doing it with little ones!

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  35. We bought our home with a finished basement that, with a house full of boys, has become ground zero for neighborhood Nerf wars. Every time I think about re-painting it, I think about how upset I'll be when I walk down to see the skid mark on the ceiling where the Nerf football "went long", and I've decided the re-paint might wait until they leave for college! Kudos to you for doing it with little ones!

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  36. Can't wait to see it finished! We are just starting ours so I'm hoping for some inspiration! We are also trying to make it "flow" better with our upstairs! Good luck!

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  37. If it makes you feel better....we've lived in this house for 5 years and although we've ALMOST redone the whole thing (minus the bathroom that is under construction right now) we still have not finished our baseboards (the painting, like you are doing) and we still have a wire hanging from the ceiling by our kitchen sink. Awesome right?!? But after a while, I stopped noticing (or caring?). LOL!

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  38. hooo boy! can't wait! how about you come redo (and design) my basement? we have about 1000 sq ft that was first finished in the 1960's. its so dark and ugly that my kids refuse to use it!!!

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  39. Thank you for your honesty!!!! Out here in the "blog gawker-lands" we start to feel bad if we see one toy on the floor because we think, "Other people's homes look nice always; why not mine?"
    We need this honesty to reassure us that we're still normal! Love your blog!

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  40. We are just about to start working on our basement too! It's finished but with linoleum tile. So we will need flooring. And wall color. You make me exhausted just by reading your post! Lol :) it's one project I'm not sure i am looking forward to! Suck a large space!! Good luck on completing your project!

    Serena
    Thrift Diving

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  41. very interesting- I wiah basements were the norm in oklahoma but sadly they are not- yours will be great though!

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  42. Great post... And I don't even have a basement!!! Look forward to your blog posts. Thanks for sharing!

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  43. Great post... and I don't even have a basement!!! Can totally relate to the toy issue though :-) I look forward to your updates, and enjoy your realism. Thank you!!!

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  44. Serious lover of your blog, a considerable number of your blog posts have really helped me out. Looking towards updates!

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  45. Serious lover of your blog, a considerable number of your blog posts have really helped me out. Looking towards updates!

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  46. I remember the toy explosion days! You guys do such awesome work, I'm very envious!
    Do you remember what the name of the before paint color?

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