Basement Remodel: Paint and Crown

Last week, I showed off the new basement floors.  It took us a while to get to the point where we were ready to install the floors. Earlier this Spring we hired out the job of painting the ceiling, installing some crown and doing a final count of paint on the walls.  It was probably the best decision we’ve made in a while! (Thanks Jim!)

On the left is where we started (this picture was taken during our home inspection) and the right is where we were when all the painting was done. What a difference right?Basement Update Before and After

Looking back, I almost can’t believe we bought a house with a basement that looked like this! All of that wallpaper! The hideous dark brown molding everywhere! The blue carpet. The hideous wetbar.

Basement Wet Bar - Before

Oh, and then when we got the first layer of wallpaper off, we found the second layer… Oh man, then stories this wallpaper must have been able to tell.Tikibar Basement Wallpaper

The place already looked SO much better after Jim got the crown up. We selected a narrow composite crown molding since our ceilings are low and we needed it to fit between the window molding and the ceiling.

I was really happy that we realized that the ceiling needed painting, as it looked seriously yellow once we had the crown up.

Walls and Ceiling - Crown

And here it is after Jim got some paint on the ceiling. What a difference right?! Oh we also updated the bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling with inexpensive lights from Ikea. Andy’s dad helped to install them last fall when he was here (thanks Chris!) and although they’re not the most beautiful, they are unobtrusive, inexpensive, and bright!Walls and Ceiling - Ready for Floors


We have Basement Floors!

Overall Memorial Day weekend we finally installed the floor in our basement.  If you’ve been around for a while, you know that this basement remodel took a bit more time than we initially attended. We finally have the walls done with planking we painted white (I owe you an update), molding around all the doors and windows, a painted ceiling AND crown molding (thanks Jim-the-contractor!), so the floors were really the last thing we had to do.


We used the TrafficMaster Allure Hickory Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (describe on the box as “The Easiest Floor Ever!”). They have no idea who we are – we did some research about what floor we could install over the glue we couldn’t get off the cement, and found this. We special ordered it from Home Depot about a year ago and we have to agree that this floor was pretty darn easy! And affordable, which really counted in it’s favor for us. Look at us NOT overcapitalizing our house. 🙂

Overall, it took about 8 hours total to install our about 350 square feet of flooring.  The longest part was figuring out how to start (since NONE of our walls are square) and cutting the final little pieces around the doorways. Once we got into a rhythm the floor was definitely ridiculously easy to install!New Floor - Beginnings

Here we were about 30 minutes in (once we started laying the floors).

New Floor - 30 minutes in

And after about 60 minutes of putting planks down.

New Floor - 60 minutes in

This is where we found our rythm, so another 30 minutes allowed us to do pretty much the rest of the main room.

New Floor - 90 minutes inAt this point we took a break to have a late lunch with friends (this was about 4 hours in).  We found that working really hard in the morning and then doing something fun in the afternoon makes us happier and more likely to be productive on Sunday. This night, we came back from lunch, lounged around for a few hours, and then worked from 7 to 11 pm.

The final long stretch along our back wall took a while as each plank had to be cut in a different width, and one even had to be cut at an angle! Getting halfway down the hallway took about 2 more hours.  Here we are! The end is in sight.

New Floor - Finish Line Is In Sight

We made the turn and got most of the planks into the landing area. We realized we were going to have to make some complex cuts to finish the floor. Luckily we had to presence of mind to realize we were too tired to make these accurately, so we went to bed and saved the finishing touches for Sunday.

New Floor - Done for the night

It took a lot of patience (and a little bit of cussing) to finalize the last 2 rows of planks, but it was worth it! The floor looks awesome.


We are so excited about the basement! And so is Penelope, even though the whole thing is like a giant slip and slide for her! We obviously still need baseboards, but the furniture is down there & it’s a functional space. I’m hoping we’ll get some art on the walls this weekend. I also need to order blinds ASAP so we can use the space as a guest room later this month.

Have you gotten any major projects checked off your “Get it done in 2015” list?

PS. Sharing at Show and Tell and Tutorials & Tips

Making Progress!

We made some much needed progress in the basement this weekend.  Since all the walls are up, we primed patched, caulked, sanded, and painted. We primed and patched all the walls, painted about half the main room and even got a second coat up on one of the walls. It looks SOO good. I can’t wait to get it all shiny bright and white!

Making Progress - Patched


Making Progress - PrimerMaking Progress - First Coat

Making Progress - Second Coat


There’s still plenty of a to do list, but we’re focusing on the painting for now!

Sarah Signature

The Current State of Our Living Room

Our living room finally has a clock! When my in-laws were visiting, they peeked at my wish list and surprised me with this gorgeous wooden clock off my list.  Thanks guys! It looks even better in the room than I hoped or thought it would.Big Clock - Birthday PresentWhile that side of the living room is looking pretty good, we’ve got a bit of a mess on our hands between the couch and the bar.  I decided, more than a few months ago, that I’d like a big L-shaped sectional in the living room when we finish the basement and move the current living room couch (which is a sleeper sofa) down stairs. After measuring everything out multiple times, the Karlstad in Isunda Gray had the right dimensions, look, and price tag, so we knew we’d be getting it eventually. But then Ikea had to go and put it on the friends and family sale this month.  At 15% off, we couldn’t leave it at the store, so now we’re storing it behind the couch until the floors are down. (Andy didn’t think my idea of setting it up an having a giant square of living room furniture was a good one. He’s kind of lame, no?)

Don’t worry, we can still get to the wine! Hopefully this mess is the kick in the pants we need to get the basement DONE!

The Current State of our Living Room - Karlstad Boxes


And while we’re on the theme of turning the living room into a mess, Target ALSO had to go and put some gorgeous lamps on sale.  I think these will be perfect in the basement space (white wood plank walls, dark wood floors, lots of green and blue accents).  At half price, I couldn’t leave these at the store, so I grabbed two which are now sitting on the dining room buffet.

Three lamps are totally normal in that amount of space, right? (Maybe if I actually cut off the tags, removed the cellophane, and unwrapped the cords.)

Target Lamps for the Basement Target Lamps for the Basement - Price Tag


Any big renovating-in-progress messes in your house? Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Sarah Signature


Basement Floors

Sticking with the basement theme, I’m back today to talk about the floors.

This is Take Two (btw)! As you may recall, initially we wanted to use peel and stick plank flooring in the basement, but our inability to get the glue residue from the original sheet vinyl off the concrete foiled those plans.  We considered a few other options, but we really wanted the flooring to feel more cohesive in this home, so we were set on a dark wood look-a-like.

Basement Flooring #thissarahloves

We picked up the boxes from Home Depot and dropped them in the living room to acclimate while we finish the basement walls. This is a floating vinyl plank floor which we settled on after reading lots of reviews about this floor and others like it. We decided on the hickory finish, which appears closest to our exiting oak floors on the main level.

Basement Flooring - Closeup - #thissarahloves Basement Flooring - Closeup 2 - #thissarahloves

The floors obviously won’t ever be directly next to one another, so it doesn’t have to be an exact match – just the same overall feel. The major difference will be that we have narrow planks upstairs and these planks are 6″ wide. (You can see our existing floors in the photo below).

Original Hardwood FloorsNow we just need to prime and patch the walls and door molding, paint the walls, hang the crown molding (?), and then we can lay the floors. Our goal is to have the basement DONE before Christmas.

Sarah Signature


Basement Progress: DIY Planked Walls

Remember how we started the basement remodel, oh, about FOREVER ago?  Well we’re still going!  The walls have all been planked, all the doorways (and the window) have fancy new craftsman style molding and we’re busy priming ever square inch.Basement Progress - Primer - #thissarahloves

We’re pretty happy with how the walls are looking.  It was a massive job! We used 17 4’x8′ sheets of thin plywood, cut into 8″ strips to cover all of the walls and thousands of nails (sorry future homeowners).  We’re particularly proud of how we framed out this odd little bump in the hallway (there’s a support post behind there, so it had to stay.)

Basement Progress - Support Post Bumpout - #thissarahloves


We realized early on that we were going to have to embrace the imperfection of this project, so we purposefully did NOT line up all the seams.  This was surprisingly easy to do since neither our floors nor our ceilings were level. Basement Progress - Walls 1 - #thissarahloves


Next on the to do list:

1. Finish priming walls and molding

2. Patch the 2 million nail holes

3. Paint the walls and molding (it’s all going white, although the molding will be a higher gloss)

4. Install crown molding

5. Install floors

Other things we want to do (which are not on our pre-December to do list):

  • Build in a desk in the nook near the exterior door
  • Paint the exterior basement door (I’m leaning toward navy blue right now)
  • Add molding to the interior doors

Basement Color Inspiration

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing around the blogosphere, and happened upon Lucy from Craftberry Bush’s Summer house tour.  I spotted a gorgeous painting in her house and I just had to have it. Luckily, after clicking around a bit, I realized that not only is Lucy the artist, but she sells prints of her art, including this gorgeous seagull print.

So about a week later, this arrived at my doorstep.  Gorgeous no? These colors will be the inspiration for the basement, you know once we have the walls, and molding, and floors sorted out…

New Art - Seagull Print


Of course I couldn’t possibly just leave this gorgeous print in its shipping tube for the next few months, so when we took our visitors to check out Ikea, we also picked up one of their giant frames (the Ribba in high-gloss gray) and another print that had a smaller mat in it.  The mat the frame came with was slightly off-white and much too big for the print. However they had some pre-matted art prints on sale for just $10, so we picked up a print we didn’t care for just to use the mat.

Inexpensive Art Upgrade


Here’s how it turned out. Apologies for the glare – I did the best I could to minimize it.

New Art on the Wall - Seagull Closeup

Rather than lean another piece of art against the wall, I grabbed a nail and hung it in an open spot in the dining room. It looks gorgeous there, and I think in the long run I’ll replace it with another large scale print, when we move the seagull (and probably the fabric covered canvases) down to the basement.

New Art on the Wall - Seagull

How do you pick art? Any new favorites?

Sarah Signature