February 22, 2016

My Dirty Little Secret… The Basement

We’re finally at a place at home where we’ve been able to slow down and spend some time getting our house organized.  It feels sooooooo good.  We’re
not doing any real “decorating”yet and will be doing it fairly gradually over the next couple of years, but we are getting it comfortable, clean, organized
and livable for us.

{our “new” basement}

Over the past couple of weekends, we did a mini basement makeover which basically entailed replacing our basement carpet, waterproofing the floors under
the carpet, and repainting it a dark greeny-gray and using only existing furniture… which wasn’t much.  It’s been a good exercise for me in
COMPLETELY letting go of what I want and letting the boys have their fun space.  We didn’t have a basement in our last house– only more shared
kid-adult spaces- so the basement is really about them- their toys, rough-housing, wrestling, dancing and all of the fun things that little kids do
in basements.  There’s a main room with a TV and pieces of a sectional in it with a smaller room off of that with a fireplace and toy shelf.  There’s
a bathroom and a fairly large workout room with kitchenette which I’m working on turning into part-time guest room for our parents.

I used dark almost-black charcoal super-plush wool carpeting (the previous beige berber wasn’t awesome for us) which I was SERIOUSLY regretting as it was
being installed.  (I was literally missing the dirty beige berber at that point) I knew it would make it dark and thought I was ready for it,
but I totally wasn’t.  I craved floating hardwood floors or seagrass or sisal or even a light-colored wool or a pretty woven berber, but it was
time for me to get real.  I went plush, dark & wool for durability.  With really thick padding.  My first comment was, “It looks
like a laser tag place.” And my eight year-old son chimed in, “Yeah!!! I love it!!!”

AHHHHHHH. For real.  It’s bad.

And I’m sharing this with you so you too, can appreciate my basement in all its glory…

{We removed some built-ins that weren’t working for us – on the left- and are keeping (for now) the base cabinet to use as a media cabinet for the TV.
We removed it from the wall and moved it out of the room so the carpeting could be installed under it before bringing it back in.  Nothing special
but it’s working for us.  We plan to get two more of these RH corner sectional pieces to toss on the other side of the room.  We like how
easy they are to move and we can convert them into a sofa or move them into another room really easily.  They also make a great half-pipe for
the kids.}

But now, a week or so later, I’m “meh” about the carpet.  I don’t really care much one way or another, but I have to say, the kids are loving it…
They’ve been camping out down there and we can cuddle on the floor because it’s so plush lol.  I have a love-hate relationship with it.
I loooove hanging out down there now…  we wrestle and do gymnastics together and it’s seriously soft…  and we’ve had movie marathons
complete with dropped pizza on the carpet and I don’t mind a bit.  I workout down there in sneakers and don’t feel guilty.   But it’s SO
my dirty little  secret.  (until today, that is 😉   (On a total tangent- sometimes I kind of feel that way about my whole house.  It’s
working SO WELL for us and I’m loving living in it but I’m loving the whole house itself yet.  I don’t think I will until we’re able
to get our indoor-outdoor living situation working and I start to develop a stronger sense of place out of our tiny little property.  It doesn’t
really feel like any sort of “escape” yet…   This spring we’ll be working on some privacy and living walls and that kind of thing to get it
there so fingers crossed.)


{Louie hanging in the basement fireplace room with the old ikea toy shelf that’s moved everywhere with us.  Eventually our “textured” ceilings will
have to go.  I’m thinking wood…  And I’m thinking some sort of wine situation in here one day in the far far future 😉 ;)}

I’m learning more about myself here in this new house…  Even though I generally think of myself as a low-maintenance type of person, I’ve learned
that in main areas of the house that I’m using daily, I’m actually totally fine with something that’s higher-maintenance, like our painted white floors.
They’re kind of a maintenance nightmare in the kitchen but I still love them & wouldn’t go to a darker color because I love the vibe so
much and it just makes me happy.  (FYI- they’re low-maintenance everywhere else.. just like a normal wood floor… but in the kitchen with a food-slinging
baby, we have to clean daily… probably something we should have  been doing anyway?? 😉  But in the basement, which I’m not necessarily
hanging out in every day, I want something that always looks perfect and that I don’t have to think about.  Now let me me clear here…  there
are ABSOLUTELY a ton of super-durable lighter-colored carpets that I could have used and that would have held up just fine, but I was looking for bullet-proof.
Like really bullet-proof.  Like, drop the pizza. pepperoni-side down and not care or have to work out a stain EVER.  (Cleaning? I’m
okay with….  Working out mud stains or marinara sauce? Not wanted.)

As we were painting, I got some of our things up on the walls and hung a gallery wall which makes the space feel a bit cooler.  I used framed family
photos, newspaper clippings, vintage educational charts, and a few black and white drawings… basically just pulling from our things to put a collection
of things together that the kids enjoy looking at, and that we can talk about, and that made it feel a little more like “home.”


{Yes, art may have gone up before the painting was completed. Paint is Benjamin Moore’s “Clarksville Gray”.  We used it on the walls and trim.}


Eventually we plan on finishing some of the unfinished storage areas. -when the kids are older-  and can do the floating hardwood floors and nicer
finishes then, but for now, we’re enjoying the fact that it’s fresh and clean and comfy.

I’m thrilled to be finally getting this place a bit more organized and to have had some time at home.  Last weekend, David stained the floors
in our attic and we’re in the process of turning it into a little home studio.  The kids art/ painting supplies are there and I’ve moved up all
of my design books/ magazines and work table.  We’re replacing the window (below) with a large one and doing a big comfy window seat.  Massive
skylights will be key in getting the sun-drenched space I’m craving.  I’ve been mostly working from home since I had Gisele and the library off
the kitchen (with the open fireplace) was feeling a bit too in the middle of things to really concentrate so the attic studio has been A-MAZING.  At
around almost 700 square feet, I’m loving having so much space and privacy.


The view out that side of the house is really special -it’s one of the highest points around for miles- and I can’t wait to snuggle up for work on a window
seat overlooking it:

Here’s what the attic was like when we first moved in:


And here’s where it’s at now, functional but not (yet) anything to look at:

{Skylights will go on the right side, which is the back of our house.  It’s hard to tell from this photo but the main section of the attic is almost
thirty feet long so there’s lots of space to spread out & add more functions to the room.  We found old wood in our basement and bought a
few bricks last weekend to make bookshelves for all of my design books & magazines.  My grandfather has had shelves like these in his house
since I was a little girl and they remind me of him. I’ll keep you posted as we move along with the work.}

We’ve still got a looooong way to go in the attic – trim, windows, doors, stair railing, lighting, built-ins etc., but we’re basically at the outer circle
of what needs to be done right now, where we simply get things livable enough to unpack the house fully- floors done, walls done-ish (we totally have
to go back and repaint the basement we did such a horrible job, but baby steps.)  We attacked our mudroom last night and just did a small stopgap
with repainting and hooks until we really go after that room in the next year.  It’s REALLY not worth sharing photos with you because one, it’s
still terribly unattractive and two, I’d probably scare my clients 😉 😉  But walking in and seeing a freshly painted white room (instead of pale
pink and yellow!) and actual hooks (instead of nails!) made my morning.   Getting all of the little things in order makes enjoying this place
easier.  We’re (mostly) organized and that plus less travel means quality family time has been easier to come by.


{It was warm enough to have a little fire with the kids in the backyard this weekend}


I’m off for the day to but wanted to mention something before I sign off…  something I constantly feel horribly guilty about but I want to mention
again in more detail because I worry that people will get upset…. We receive hundreds of emails a week from readers or people who’ve come across
our work or read the book asking questions or saying kind things…  Some come in through email, others come in through our website inquiry form,
and others through Instagram or my personal Facebook account.  Seriously, they are the nicest notes and I’m truly thankful to
be reaching so many wonderful people.  But I want to mention again- and feel terrible saying this- but we can’t physically answer these emails
and questions.  It would take approximately 25 hours per week to answer all of these questions and we do not have the hours to do that.  My
blog is not a monetized blog, meaning I put what I put out there but I don’t receive money for advertising or clicks or any of that, and I do it when
I can, but as a result, I can’t treat my blog as a business.  I (and any employees) have to spend our time on the design business, which is a
full-time job demanding all of our time.  My husband & I try not to answer emails during our time off/ family time and so unfortunately, there
are thousands of unanswered emails that have come in that we aren’t able to answer.  I try as best I can to remember sources I’ve used in magazine
stories and the information is almost always in the back of the magazine, and I often list paint colors on my blog to try to get as much info as I
can out there.  As much as I truly wish we could answer all of these questions, we just can’t.  I really hope those of you who have inquired
and have heard nothing back can understand this and know that I am so thankful that you’ve reached out and are reading or listening but that we just
straight up do not have the manpower to answer these types of questions.  I really do wish you the best and hope that what I have put out there
is still enough to help you in some way.

Oh, and ps- my other dirty little secret is that I loooooove watching terrible reality TV

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