All posts in basement

lady, get on that!

I have a bee in my bonnet. And this is a good thing.

There are a handful of projects that I’ve been meaning to tackle since before I even moved furniture into the house.


finishing the edges and trim in the kitchen…

touching up paint mistakes in the basement…

and turning the garage into a truly usable space.

It’s time for me to get on those projects, my friends — plus a few others. I can’t tell you why (yet! maybe ever.) but there’s a reason and it’s a good one. And even if “it” never comes to pass, it is providing me exactly the motivation I need to finish some long-standing items on the to-do list.

Will you help? Encourage me with your comments, texts, phone calls and stories of your own DIY mis-adventures!

*Project name lifted directly from John and Sherry over at YHL

two-year anniversary: the house now

Two years into living in the little farmhouse, a lot has changed. You can see the whole transformation here… but for those of you who have been following the transformation all along, here is an up-to-date tour of the house, top to bottom!

Dining Room

Living Room


Yellow Bedroom

Blue Bedroom
Master Bedroom



Front Porch

what do I know about circuit breakers?

Not a lot. But today, a lot more than yesterday.

Today has not been my favorite day at the farmhouse. I debated blogging about it (especially since I have a backlog of other posts to finish) since it is not a happy story. But that is life, and this wouldn’t be an accurate portrayal of my life as a young, first-time homeowner if I didn’t tell you some of the not-so-fun stories. So here goes.

The story starts a few weeks ago. I got home from a trip and the internet wasn’t working. Four days later, inconvenient turned into “what the heck is happening” when the cable guy showed up and pointed out that my neighbor’s tree had a fallen branch that was leaning on my cable and power cords. (If that doesn’t sound good to you, you’re smart — it’s not). The nice cable guy rerouted my cable line around the tree branch so I could get back online, and I proceeded to work with my neighbor to figure out how to fix the rest of the tree situation.

A week or so later, a friend and I were having dinner when the power started flickering. The energy company paid a visit, and quickly decided it was related to the broken tree branch. No other tests or investigating possible causes. File that away, please.

This morning, on the 12th day of my parents’ visit from California, we were getting ready for a quiet day of projects and relaxing when half the power went out. Just half — all the lights in the basement and main floor, and some of the upstairs outlets (the downstairs outlets still worked). So, we called the energy company … they sent someone out … blah blah blah, “it’s probably the tree branch but let’s just check a few more things”…

When the energy company guy pulled off the cover of the main box on the back side of the house, it was obvious even to me that something was really, really wrong. One of the four lugs (that’d be the technical term) was blackened and the insulation on the wire leading up to it was burned away.

I quickly learned two things: that I was lucky to have escaped a fire, and that this was not going to be a cheap fix. Oh, and the furnace was connected to the side of the line that wasn’t working. And it was getting kind of chilly in the house…

So often I have to deal with these things alone — and although I’m sure my parents would have rather not spent our last day of their visit calling electricians and sitting around without power, I was so grateful to have them here. It was not my happiest day and it was a lot nicer to have them here to help me figure out what to do.

Also, nice to have people to laugh with when the flashlight broke, and the carbon monoxide alarms started going off, and the security company called to “make sure everything was okay” (although tempting not to, I told her it was.)

Eventually, we tracked down an honest-sounding electrician who had the parts in stock to replace the main electric box and wiring today. I’m sure they had fun working out in the snow all afternoon.

They replaced the entire box that connects the power line to the circuit box in the basement, plus the wiring just to be safe. It now has a fancy bypass switch (and apparently this is a big deal? Who knew.) And while they had the power off, dad helped me hang some twinkle lights on the front porch. So now that the power is back on, it looks like this:

My wallet might be a little lighter, but the house is safe and the heat is back on. So that’s a wrap on today. I’m going to eat a pint of ice cream or something now…

under-the-stairwell magic

Situation: storage closet under the basement stairs. Three doors (all access points for different appliances) but not a lot of room for storing boxes.
So far, I haven’t used the space for anything other than the cans of paint that the previous owners left. (Sorry – didn’t think to take a photo of that gem.) A serious waste of space.
To the rescue: customized InterMetro shelving from The Container Store. Three sets of rolling shelves to fit under the stairwell. Like this:
Luckily, the shelves were the perfect width for the under-the-stairs nook, and we had the posts cut to fit according to the height at each level. All we had to do was assemble the shelves, add the wheels and roll them into the closet.
Ta-da! They’re perfect. And did I mention 25% off? Thank you, annual shelving sale.

couch in the basement!

Make that couch AND ottoman. Victory.
Okay, so it was kind of a saga at IKEA last week. I’d been putting off the decision of what size couch to get … full-size sofa, loveseat or some sort of combo with a chaise lounge. And then there was the color decision. White? Light blue? Funky pattern with blue, white and green?
In the end, I didn’t really have to make any decisions. IKEA and my basement made them for me. The sofa was too big, and the loveseat-chaise combo wasn’t available. Light blue cover available for sofa, but not loveseat. Green in the patterned cover clashed with the wall paint. So…
White loveseat it is.
I did get the exact ottoman I wanted, though. Dark brown leather with a removable cover for storage inside. Per.fect.

And just in case you’ve ever wondered what an unassembled couch looks like:
The basement is still a bit messy, but it’s definitely coming together. Next step: a TV antenna and cords for my DVD player so I can actually sit back and relax on the new couch 🙂

one step closer to a finished basement

Despite the hassle of receiving a “signature required” package from UPS when one is hardly ever home, I finally got my TV!

It doesn’t work yet, of course. I need new cords for the DVD player, and an antenna to get signal in the basement.

But that’s okay. The bookshelves are done, and as soon as I get a couch down there, it will be quite the cozy hideaway.

Here are a few of the couches I’m considering… any fan favorites? I’m looking for a couch that will fit down the narrow stairwell, match the white furniture and lemongrass walls, and fit at least 2-3 people (I’m thinking I’ll put an armchair down there eventually, too).
Kivik sofa – IKEA

Karlstad sofa with chaise – IKEA

the TV stand with no TV

The third big project I tackled last weekend (other than covering up the polka dots and painting the yellow room) was assembling a bookshelf/entertainment center for the basement, with the help of a strong and patient friend.
Here’s the space I wanted to fill:
I found a piece at IKEA that fills about two-thirds of the space, and I’ll fill in the remainder of the wall nook with another smaller bookshelf. I also chose this piece because it’s designed for a TV – and although I don’t have one yet, I imagine I’ll acquire one eventually. But for now, it will at least get my books off the floor of the basement!

The big assembly:
It was a monster, that’s for sure.
Yes. It’s a lot of books. Trust me, I’ve moved them all multiple times. And this isn’t even all of them.
But I had to save room for the imaginary TV, you know.

creative space

Sometimes you just feel like making something. (Or, if you’re like me, a million somethings). You buy the supplies and you daydream about what it will look like when it’s done.

But then, you don’t have enough room to spread out and work. Or you fill your weekend with other plans. Or you get started, and then you get stuck and you don’t have anyone to help you figure out what to do next, so you give up.

That’s why this picture makes me so happy:

Saturday marked the first of what I hope is many, many crafting days at the farmhouse. In fact, it’s something I had in mind from the very beginning of the house hunt. I fell in love with this basement from the get-go because it just had that creative space feeling.

So I invited some friends over and we put it to use. We set up an extra work table next to the desk, and Kristen and Danica brought a sewing machine…

… Onyx was here to keep us company (and remind me how much I want a dog, even though that’s about the last thing I can handle right now). He had his paws in everything.

Jen and I did some serious spray painting out in the garage (you might recognize the carpet remnant from the basement “before” photos). She had some great baskets that needed a fresh coat of paint, and I was working on an assortment of frames.

Watch for these to show up in the house soon…

Kristen’s project: a sewing machine cover (from this awesome book)

Danica + an old t-shirt + a bag of lace pieces from MN Fashion Week’s annual garage sale

Genevieve’s new earrings

Hope you’ll join us next time!

racing to the finish line

It’s now 34 hours before the movers arrive. Let’s not talk about how little I’ve packed, and instead celebrate two victories: the basement and my bedroom are finished! (At least to the point of being ready for furniture.)

A huge thank-you to my friend Jen, who helped me paint on Monday night (and kept me from banging my head against the wall whilst deciding what to do with the living room walls).

It’s a whole new meaning for the words “finished basement.”

baseboards on Monday

baseboards on Tuesday

doesn’t this room just scream “fill me with furniture?”

As much as I love painting (and I do, strangely enough) it’s actually kind of a tragedy that I’ve been stuck inside the last few days because the weather here has been gorgeous. And awesome for my little tomato seedlings, which finally get to hang out on the patio instead of my kitchen counter:

So, that makes three rooms down (and only four to go). Hooray!

– LG

weekend transformation #2

While dad and uncle Steve were upstairs working on the new floor, I spent most of the weekend in the basement. Having painted the first coat of yellow last weekend – and not loving it – I started over with a new shade: more lemongrass-y, less orange-y. And it was definitely worth it.

11:30 am Saturday – “Midday Sun” on the walls (aka macaroni and cheese in paint form)

4:00 pm Sunday – painting the brick wall

6:00 pm – after two coats of “Rice Wine”

lots of tiny footprints and paint drops: the reason I have to repaint the basement floor

9:00 pm – basement floor, after painting myself into the stairwell

There’s a little bit of work left in the basement, but it’s come a long way from this, wouldn’t you agree?

March 25th