Around the time of the 2017 Superbowl, we bought a fridge for the basement. That was the beginning of the basement makeover, moving it from Anita's favorite silly-putty color to something more modern, with a rustic edge.
It took a while to get the whole thing together. We started with the back bar, and, since we also wanted an island, this meant Eric had to tear out carpet in order to put down tile. He did so carefully, and then foolishly I decided that it would look best if we used slate tile. Eric dutifully tiled with slate, and quickly discovered that slate is horrid for floors. The tiles are not even in depth and are flaky. They don't sit evenly and grouting them is akin to attempting to patch metro-Detroit streets.
|Rec Room a la Anita|
We then needed to paint, and decided that we wanted to create a tin wainscot topped with pallet wood chair rail. That was an undertaking, as it took quite a while to find the corrugated tin that we could actually cut. We finally found roofing material we could use, and Eric painstakingly made the panels, then adhered them to the walls. While I was off on some trip somewhere, he stained the chair rail and got that up.
That was it for a while, as we had a summer intern staying with us and so renovations to the basement had to be put on hold while someone actually lived down there. However, she was gone one weekend, and we pulled out the stops and got the hallway not only painted, but the baseboards and door surrounds replaced. When Bruno finished the basement, he used ends from other jobs, and the wood didn't match consistently, so it was time for that update as well. Unfortunately, the basement hallway isn't straight, so Eric had to play puzzle master fitting all the angled baseboards together. I stayed on paint duty, and even got the built in shelving painted to a clean, flat white from the yellowy-pine it had been.
Let the destruction begin, along with quite a bit of yelling, as that tile counter top was double-screwed into the 2x4 frame, then duly sealed with the same grout I believe they use to keep masonry on Notre Dame. It was something to get it off. We replaced the lower counter top with matching Ikea laminate, but for the top bar... we decided that we needed to match bar for bar as well, so we were off to find another piece of live-edge beetle kill pine. This piece needed to be much wider however, and we knew our last supplier wouldn't have any in the width we were looking for. Fortunately, Eric's intrepid internet skills led us to a random guy in literally the middle of nowhere west of Wilkerson pass, who had a field filled with beetle kill trees and a machine to make planks. We searched and found what we thought we wanted, and, since they were long enough, made a snap decision to also buy a length that would accommodate creating a vanity for the basement bathroom as well... because why do one project when you can do them all?
Repeat sanding and polyurethane.
Getting the custom bar to fit around the existing walls and into the bar frame was an exercise, literally. We carried the bar top up and down the stairs about 30 times, each time cutting a tiny bit more around the wall notches each time, until it finally fit snugly but flat to the base. Eric finished the backsplash with more pallet wood, we touched up the paint, and then Eric stained the lower cabinets to be a closer match to the new cabinets. We tried our best to find a dish washer that would fit in that space next to the sink, but it was a lost cause, so the cabinet and the tiny refrigerator with the wood panel front, are staying.
Tile and grout went down, and then we replaced the baseboards and door trim to match the hall. While we were still at the bare floor stage, we painted the walls and ceiling, because if you don't have to put down drop cloths, so much the better.
Our friends Doug and Pam came to visit, and while here, helped us narrow down our sink choices and watched us hit the "Buy" button on two Amazon specials: copper vessel sinks in a bucket style and matching tall faucets. Eric's one requirement was that the faucets had to use just a single hole, so we didn't have to drill more hole than absolutely necessary into the vanity top.
Eric had a minor meltdown reinstalling the toilet, as when he picked it up out of the bathtub, the tank lid slid off and shattered all over the new tile floor. It turns out that when you buy dual-flush toilets with the buttons on the lid, replacing said lid is more complicated than you would imagine.
Install mirror, install sinks and faucets, find towel rings and baskets to go under the sink. Add backsplash. In the Willowstone Market Antique Mall/Garage Sale/Flea Market, we found a stall going out of business that significantly discounted a shelf that was just the right size to fill in the overly large and awkward gap between wall and toilet. Add a new shower curtain, and we were done.
Phew. That was a long year, but the basement is done... well, except for the need to paint the basement bedrooms and the stairwell. Anybody got a spare brush?
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