basement beginnings

without plans, permits, contractors or anything more than a spectre of an idea of how we’ll finance this project — a key reason for doing this next june being i maybe won’t be working full-time — we’re definitely way ahead of ourselves, imagining what the end result might look like.

but, if you’re going to go through several months of having your basement reduced to clay pipes wrapped in tree roots (you know that’s what’s under there) and doing your laundry in a sketchy laundro-mat on queen east, you really gotta have the endgame in mind. in all it’s glorious, dry, high-ceilinged, hex-tiled glory.

so the e-mails have started. not about scheduling, financing, or getting quotes. about enamel lamp shades.

green enamel lamp shades

oh hello.

supposedly (i admit i do have a vague recollection of this), in exchange for decorating the main floor however i liked — this wallpaper was most definitely not pierre’s idea — i agreed that pierre could design the basement. maybe i thought it was something that would never really happen? maybe i thought he wasn’t really up to the challenge and would let me do everything regardless? maybe a little bit of both.

luckily, these green enamel shades were his idea (and i have the e-mail thread to prove it). and they’re pretty great. so i have high hopes i can somehow convince him that antique doors, cement floors, recreating our mouldings from upstairs, exposed brick in the bedroom, and a chandelier in the bathroom are all part of his dream design.

but just in case none of that happens — except the doors, the doors are non-negotiable — here are some photos i’ve been gathering for, oh, the last three years.

mudroom afterstarting with the mudroom — i like this one for its black-and-white tiled floor, the beadboard, old door, slim banister, and fancy window, and because it’s a really realistic inspiration shot for the space we have and our budget. even though we’re going to be ripping the mudroom right off the back of our house (to access the basement), taking it down to its foundation, and rebuilding it from the ground up, we’re not changing its footprint at all; we’ll still be working with something that’s about this size and shape. so it’s no use saving photographs of family-sized mudrooms — doggie wash station, washer/dryer, and individual cubbies for everyone — to my photostream. we may be starting from scratch, but we’re still going to have just enough room for some coat hooks and a basket for mittens. but, it will be properly insulated. and it’s definitely going to feature some black hex tile. and i really think some high-gloss black brackets and hooks and barn board shelves would serve us pretty nicely in a room like this.

IMG_0091 IMG_0093
we don’t have a plan for sleeping arrangements once the basement’s done, but i kind of imagine — with the semi-ensuite bathroom and closet space that’s planned — we may move our master to the basement. maybe not, though. pierre is adamant we be on the same floor as any future children, and the only floor with two bedrooms is the main floor. some sort of shuffle may be possible… down in the basement for a few years, back upstairs in our current master with the studio becoming a nursery for a few years, then back downstairs and giving our toddler our current master, turning the nursery back into a studio. our current bedroom is a good size for a kid or teen with a twin or double bed, and the closet’s plenty big enough for one. the only thing that causes me to waffle and want to stay in our current master is the aforementioned wallpaper.

but on to these photographs. we’ll have a decent-sized, above-grade window in the downstairs bedroom, about half the size of our upstairs bedroom window. it’s hard to describe why i like these bedrooms — white, rag rugs, maybe some botanical sketches? the bed is weirdly similar in both, too, though i doubt pierre would let me buy a frame that looks like this again.

that’s right. i said “again.”

long before the house, long before the blog, i bought a cast aluminum headboard and footboard off kijiji from a woman who lived just south of us on logan, near the park. they did not fit in the civic (along with everything else i’ve ever bought off kijiji), but we forced them into pierre’s brand new car anyways. even though the pieces were so light, we could have walked them up logan to our apartment and then gone back for the car.

when we got the car home, we discovered the pieces had been spray painted black and all our pushing and squeezing had caused the spray paint to leave marks everywhere in the car’s interior (which i still haven’t cleaned up, even though i promised). i’m leaving out all the yelling, death stares, and image of pierre crouched in the parking lot with his head between his knees, but we got the headboard and footboard into our bedroom eventually.

but we didn’t attach them to our bed frame because a lot of the spray paint had come off, and maybe they looked better brown? i spent all weekend rubbing several bottles of rubbing alcohol all over both with makeup remover pads finding out. (and had a three-day-long headache that i could not figure out. really. i was all, “ugh, i feel like i’m hungover or something, but i haven’t had anything to drink.” nope, just huffing rubbing alcohol all weekend, nbd.)

okay, so then, we buy our house, we’re moving, my dad’s putting together our bed in our new bedroom (somehow) and he strips a screw. he says something like, “op, guess you’re never getting this apart again,” but i’m not in the room — i’m like, buying bagels or something.

so the day — a year, two years later — that pierre comes home from work and i say, “i sold our headboard and footboard on craigslist. i don’t want them anymore. annie will be here at eight. can you take the footboard off?” doesn’t go well. annie’s pulling up in the driveway with her $60 and we’re trying to dremel the footboard off the bed frame. sparks — literally, there’s fire — are flying. pierre is possibly more mad than he was when we were trying to fit this thing in our trunk and i was ruining his new car. i close the bedroom door (somehow). “he’ll just be a minute,” i tell annie.

so yeah, the beds in these photographs look kinda like that bed did, only white.

IMG_0096oh bathroom, you’re still the bathroom of my dreams. we won’t be able to have a big window like this, but everything else is possible and it will be so much fun to source everything for this room. people throw chairs away like that all the time. and just today i saw a door like that, albeit sawed in half, put out for garbage pickup tomorrow. but if i’d gotten there a moment earlier…

IMG_0094 IMG_0095the main room in our basement will be a living room and white brick won’t be a departure from what’s down there now. we’re definitely doing cement floors, too, probably throughout, except for the bathroom.

if i ever get a second to think about this project — the last 3,600 seconds have been pretty nice — i get really excited for us to tackle this next year. but the problem is we don’t think about it as often as we need to if we really want to do this in june. pretty sure we should’ve already had a dozen contractors by to tell us how large a percentage of our life savings (100%) this is going to cost us. but because we haven’t… well, that’s why i can continue to think that bathroom and couch is doable.

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