Ya'll. When I first showed you the beginnings of the basement renovation, I had no idea it would take us 8 months to finish it. I just looked back on the date of that first post, and lo and behold, I pretty much wrote it the day I got pregnant.
Sooooo....that's way too much information, but I feel like it's my best shot at explaining why I moved at extreme sloth speed on this one.
Let me warn you on the front end...this is a long post. I debated on breaking it up into several smaller posts, but I've made you wait long enough. So, today you're getting 8 months of hard work crammed into one long post.
Let's start at the beginning. Eight months ago, the basement pretty much looked like the below picture. I used it as a hoarding room for projects gone bad, it smelled like a litter box, and it seemed to be the official countrywide meeting place for spiders and ants.
I avoided it like the plague.
Once we decided to take the plunge on renovating it (worst timing ever), we ripped up all of the gross cat carpet and old 1970's trim.
And this is where the trouble began. I've been putting off writing this post for weeks because, well....SHAME.
The bottom line is this: Back in October I chose the grossest brown wood plank tile ever.
In my defense, I was newly pregnant, sick as hell, and I totally let some salvage store sales guy bulldoze me into a purchase I didn't really love. I think this picture of Jesse looking at the tile in the store kinda sums it up.
And what's even worse.....once we brought the tile home, half of it was damaged and dirty (we assumed all of the gunk would come off during the dehazing process...and it definitely did NOT), and while the tile looked a little more gray in the store, in our basement it was a lovely shade of poop brown.
But we pushed forward. Because that's what you do when you spend $1000 on tile that you can't return.
Never again, salvage shop. NEVER AGAIN.
Jesse spent about two weeks installing this poop tile in the entire basement. And while I tried to encourage him and cheer him on (he worked so hard and did such a good job), I was also secretly crying inside.
I knew I hated it from the moment he installed the first tile, but I just couldn't speak up.
I feel like it's a life long mission of mine to learn how to trust my instincts. I tend to always know what I really want right from the beginning, but I'm so bad at listening to my gut. I get pressured into things really easily, and I'm the worst at speaking my mind. I basically have to disaster-ify something and then cry about it for a couple weeks before I have the balls to start over and fix it. It's a painfully obvious flaw.
So, as you can see in the below picture, I was really diving headfirst into the 'make the 1970's basement even more of a dark pit' strategy. I was testing out dark gray paint colors on the walls, and obviously....poop floors. I think I felt some sort of self-imposed pressure to make this into a 'mancave', and so I didn't really take into account what would actually look the best in our house.
Also, after several attempts of dehazing the tile, it still dried like this. And the dark gray grout we used dried white.
All in all, a totally ideal outcome.
So, we decided to pay someone to come professionally dehaze the tile, and they weren't able to do it either.
The disaster just kept growing with intensity.
So, I spent a few days freaking out and feeling like we were just going to have to live with this. Because who asks their husband to rip up 1000 square feet of tile he just spent two weeks installing by himself.
Well, after a few days of soul searching...I do.
It took a little convincing, but ultimately Jesse admitted that he really hated the tile, too, and that we should just suck it up and fix it. The minute we were both on the same page, I felt a huge wave of relief, and I knew it was the right decision.
And I'll be honest. We decided to pay someone to come demo the poop tile and install the new tile of our choice. I was obviously pretty worthless (renovation-wise) at this point, and it was just one of those times where we knew it would suck to spend the money, but that it would be money well spent. And it was.
And I never captured a picture of the floor guys demo-ing and installing the new floors (because it's so awkward to tell contractors that you're a blogger and then take pictures of them). But, here's a reminder of what the floors looked like after the poop tile was removed.
After the tile was removed, I spent a lot of time going to different home improvement stores and flooring stores and weighing my options. I was determined to make the right flooring decision this time (and honestly terrified that I was just gonna make a mess of it all over again).
But luckily, I did end up making a great decision.
I chose the Leonia Silver wood plank tile from Lowe's in the 6x24 inch. And I just chose a grout to match the tile because I didn't want too much contrast.
Lowe's didn't provide me with tile or pay me to tell you about this. I bought this tile with my own money like a normal person and I'm telling you about it because I like it.
So, after the new tile was installed (and I felt like I could breathe again), I decided to follow my heart and just make this entire space light and bright and basically the opposite of my original awful plan. Our house is from the 1970's and it just looks better when it's light and bright.
You'd think I would've learned this lesson when I stained the upstairs floors dark brown and had to redo them.
YOU WOULD THINK.
AND YOU WOULD WOULD BE WRONG.
So, Jesse painted all of the dark beige walls white. I used Sherwin Williams Simply White like we did upstairs.
And then, fresh off the energy high of finally choosing the right tile, I decided to do something that I've wanted to do since the day we moved into this house.
I had Jesse paint the fireplace.
For those of you who have been following the blog for awhile, you know I've debated painting the upstairs fireplace for years. And when I mentioned it a few times on the blog, I got a massive wave of emails from you guys. Half of you wanted me to paint it so bad, and half of you were absolutely freaking out about me ruining it. It totally got in my head, and I never painted it.
So, since the basement fireplace is much smaller, easier to paint, and well, in the basement, I decided to take a leap of faith and just do it.
I tested out a little dark gray paint first and decided it looked awful, and ultimately went with the same simply white paint we used on the walls. The goal in the end was to just make it blend in with the walls and ultimately make the space feel larger.
And it totally worked.
Here are a few before and after shots so you can see how much it brightened up the space.
Before...looking into the living room.
Before...looking towards the fireplace.
And here's the room as it looks today. We painted the inside of the fireplace box with black high-heat paint and it really just added the perfect finishing touch. I might add a mantle like I did upstairs, but I'll get to that later.
And here's how it looks from the other direction. We're making some major changes upstairs (which I plan on showing you in my next post) and so the upstairs furniture has been moved downstairs. And all I really added was a Homegoods ottoman. Because where else can you find an ottoman for $100.
I know painted fireplaces aren't for everyone, but in the end, we're both really happy with the way it turned out and the entire room just feels bigger and more modern. And Jesse was very apprehensive about doing this and by the time it was finished, he wouldn't shut up about how awesome it looked. So, it was really a great learning lesson in trusting my vision.
And for the record, since the day we moved into this house, Jesse has basically let me turn our house into a frilly dollhouse and he's never once batted an eye. But every time I mentioned painting the fireplace there was a tiny look of terror on his face. So, a huge thank you to Jesse for trusting my judgement (even after the brown tile disaster).
He's a good one. :)
He's a good one. :)
We also updated all of the light fixtures in the basement. The worst offenders were the dark brown boob lights in the living room area. Always a fave.
We upgraded them with some beautiful chrome and glass flush mounts from Lamps Plus.
And I haven't hung any wall art down here (or even upstairs) and am still feeling very minimalist in my approach to the walls. There's something about spending the better part of a year renovating a space and then feeling very 'iffy' about poking a bunch of holes in the wall.
So, that's the living room!
Now let's move on to the rest of the basement.
Remember the bedroom? This is how it looked before we renovated it. We had ripped up the carpet years earlier (CATS!) and it was just a disgusting box of carpet glue and dust.
And this is what it looks like with the new flooring, freshly painted walls, and brand new chunky trim.
We're currently using this room as the new guest bedroom and home office. It's a massive room and gets tons of daylight, and it's been so nice to come down here and relax from time to time.
We replaced the light fixture in here with the same flush mount that we used in the living room, and we added an amazing new rug from Rugs USA. (It's the Satara Edison in Nickel.)
The upholstered bed was a craigslist find and the bedside tables are the Ikea Rast dressers I stained gray in this post.
And just yesterday, I changed out the hardware on the dressers with these super affordable chrome cup pulls.
You can see in the above pic that they still had the gold hardware, and I think the chrome works so much better in this space. It's the little things.
The bedding is just stuff I had around the house. The pink velvet pillow is from Etsy and the patterned pillows are from Target
(I think they're still there.).
(I think they're still there.).
And this is just all the stuff from the upstairs office, styled as minimally as possible, because who wants to add a bunch of trinkets to a room that Tootie spends 3/4 of her day in.
Not this cat mama.
And now let's move on to one of my favorite parts of the basement: the bathroom. I'll preface by saying that it probably won't blow your mind. My photography is pretty bad and it's a pretty minimally styled space. But, it makes me so happy to have this little bathroom finished and nice and new, and so, just do me a favor and pretend like I pulled off the best bathroom makeover of all time.
Here's the before. So gross.
Nothing worked. Everything smelled.
And here's the after. So clean. So new.
Makes me wanna waddle all the way downstairs just to take a shower.
The vanity is from Lowe's (the only one I could find that looked good and didn't make me go broke), and the shower curtain is from Target.
The light fixture is from Lamps Plus (my absolute favorite...I love the little crystal globes.). And the mirror is a thrift store find that I painted silver.
And then the last little area of the basement...the hallway. It's not really all that exciting, but I think it's a great example of what a big difference paint can make.
This is the 'before' view, looking towards the guest bedroom and bathroom.
And here's the after. All we did was paint the panelled walls with Simply White, replace the doors, and paint the trim and doors Ultra Pure White. And then we replaced the light fixture with this modern chrome sconce from Lamps Plus.
Here's the 'before' view looking the opposite way, towards the door that leads to the garage. (That's how the tile looked before it was grouted.)
And here's how the hallway looks today. For now, we just painted the door to the garage, because Tootie enjoys her cat door, and frankly, we ran out of steam to replace another door (exterior doors aren't cheap, ya'll).
But still, how much better is that hallway?!
And that's the entire basement makeover in one big, long, brutally honest post. Thanks so much for being here, ya'll. And thank you for allowing me to just be a real person about all of it.
I'll be back soon to share some really fun stuff about the upstairs, but first I'm going to take a little time to hang out with Mathias who is home from the Navy for a couple of weeks. It's the first time I've seen him since I've been pregnant...and I'm slowly adjusting to errrrrbody grabbing my belly the minute they see me.
I'll be 33 weeks on Sunday...still truckin' along! :)
'Til next time!