Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Weekend Basement Warriors

So, inspired by some friends in Cleveland who have an uber-cool basement with a London theme and monikered "The Underground", Eric and I decided to reclaim the first room in our cavernous basement. The room was heretofore home to the furnace, dehumidifier, shelves of comic books, an armoir full of crafting supplies and a pile of project furniture that I've had every intention of decoupaging for the last 3 years (yeah, that's really only about 1/2 the stuff that was in there, but you get the picture).

First we filled in the various holes in the wall with cement and then we drylock painted the entire room - even those walls that did not really need to be sealed, as they are internal walls, but we figured it couldn't hurt. Then we picked a lovely brick red color (same as the one we used for the "wine cellar") and we painted the entire ceiling to camouflage the 100+ years of grime and discoloration - or at least make the beams not so immediately ugly:
While we were up there we also wiped down all of the ducts and cross beams. See the makeshift beam support in the middle of this photo (look for the pole between the ladder and the ShopVac that holds a porch beam to the ceiling):
Eric added some crossbars in a couple places that allowed us to remove the random pole in the middle of the room (apologies to those of you who wanted to practice your stripper techniques):
Then 3 of the 4 walls received a coat of "interactive cream" paint:
With good friends like Suz helping out one afternoon we knocked out the wall painting project in no time:
Suz is also priceless as a photographer and captures a rare "couple" image. We're standing in the corner that we hope houses the bar one day soon:
With the walls and ceiling painted it was time to tackle the concrete floor (after numerous vacuumings and a couple passes with a mop). We believe that once upon a time (eons ago) the front room flooded as it was covered with a very fine layer of silt which we have been sweeping and vacuuming up since the day we got here. Now we're just sealing in whatever little of it is left. First up, a coat of concrete sealer:
And a second coat for good measure. The whole floor is left to "cure" for a week:
And then it gets a nice coat of subtle sage floor paint:
That has to cure for a week as well:
We hang a curtain and rod in the "good room" to shield the view of all of the stuff we hauled out of it to undertake this project. Curtain rod from Big Lots: $10; curtain from Pier One on clearance: $17.50; not having to stare at the almost impassable adjoining room: priceless.
A view of the curtain in action:
The one wall on the left as you enter the room we left white just in case we ever have to re-seal it one day (God forbid). But I was allowed to paint the upper wall and ledge. Now, who can spot the very subtle change in this photo from the one three back?
In the upper left corner you might notice a horizontal board and a cord. The ingenious Mister Martineau created a brilliant contraption to store the dartboard and shield the newly painted walls and wine cellar door:
What you have above is a dartboard on a hinged platform that hooks up to the ceiling when not in use. Hanging from the rafter behind it (and also hidden when not in use) is a bamboo curtain that can be dropped down to protect the walls and door from displaced darts (not from Eric or I, naturally).
In the "while we are at it" category, we decided to replace the ugly vinyl tile on the steps down to the basement. First we had to pry them up:
We found some vinyl tiles at Lowe's that look very similar to our kitchen floor (real tiles). $22 and 1/2 an hour later and we have a swanky new entrance to our future lounge. The oak trim and tin bar signs are from a previous Mister Martineau improvement project:
And now we're onto adornments. From a fence finial found in our backyard (on the old fence when we moved in) Eric created a nifty dart holder:
And in a quest to display some of the cool barware we own (rather than keeping it hidden in our cupboards), I set out to create a shelf that will fit into the wall behind the bar (see the "couple photo" for visual reference). I picked up all of the supplies yesterday afternoon at Lowe's in the midst of the snowstorm. Thank goodness for the help of my husband who's aid (and superior carpentry skills) made this project go twice as fast. The nearly assembled shelf has the decorative molding clamped below. It will also get molding on the shelves, then a coat of stain and poly: