basement progress—main room

I'm not sure what to call this room. Main room? Big room? Craft room? Family room? Play room? Check. Everything room? In any case, this is the final room of the basement remodel tour.

As I have said with the previous spaces, I have a lot of decorating to do as time and funds permit—window treatments, rugs, artwork, etc. The basics are in place, however.

You might recognize some of my Craig's List finds throughout the basement (the chair, lamps, side tables, and coffee tables above, and my desk chairs.) The couch belonged to my Grandpa and I bought it in our family auction. The rest of the furniture is mostly IKEA and came with us from Utah.

This is my office/art area. As you can imagine, I have a lot of plans for this space. As you can also imagine, it doesn't usually look this clean. The great thing about giving virtual tours is I can stash stuff in the neighboring room for the photo shoot.

As for the original fireplace, I usually get one of two responses—either "I love the brick!", or "What are you going to do with the fireplace?" as if we just haven't gotten that far yet. Well, it stays. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a sleeker looking fireplace, but this wood fireplace serves as backup in case of a power outage, and that isn't unheard of around here. I think I will use artwork and accessories to work with it and make it feel like it belongs. Any ideas?

basement progress—media room and guest room

What was once a storage room (with no windows) . . .

. . . is now our media room (or Tom's man cave as we have also called it).

To make this room more useful, we opened it up by relocating the closet for the guest room next door, as highlighted in pink in the floor plan below:

The giant bedroom could afford to lose the space it took for the new closet, and it also helped us hide an exposed pipe in that room.

Since we still have a storage room in the other corner of the house, it was really cool to be able to carve out a usable space from this room.

We already had this cabinet from IKEA, so we recessed it in to the wall to showcase Tom's Nascar car collection. This is his room to display all of his sports memorabilia also. (Well, an approved, edited selection of memorabilia. Ha ha.)

In the other corner of the room (currently serving as storage for unpacked excessive memorabilia) we plan to install a kitchenette. It will have a sink, stove, microwave, and space for a small refrigerator. This space will be very helpful when we tear apart our kitchen upstairs!

The couches came with us from Utah, as well as the coffee table and media center (IKEA). The sconces are from Lowes.

This is the neighboring guest room:

You can just barely see the window in the the photo above and how we reframed all of the windows (and doors and base boards.)

This closet is waiting for doors to be painted also.

This furniture also came with us from Utah. The dresser and armour were purchased from Pier One about 10 years ago. The bed is Ethan Allen and was used in our Master until we recently upgraded to a King mattress. The quilt was purchased from Pottery Barn and the Eiffel Tower lamp from Target, both quite a few years ago. I am a fan of reusing what I have as much as possible! Oh, and yes, that is our cat Zoe who is quite good at making herself comfortable all over the house.

That leaves just one more room to show you—the large main/family room. I am still working on getting it cleaned up enough for photos, so stay tuned for pictures in the next day or two.

Tell us what you think so far! Of course I have lots of decorating to do . . .

basement progress—bathroom

I'm back this week with more photos of our basement progress.

It's hard to appreciate how far this bathroom has come without seeing the old one in person. But trust me—this is probably the room that saw the biggest improvement.

It is difficult to miss the hard-water corroded faucet and sink, formica counter top that wrapped oddly up the wall, the mirror that wasn't lined up above the sink, the vanity doors that wouldn't slide open without falling out of their track, the plastic tile shower surround, and the concrete shower floor and brick base.

Because now we have this:

The photo is labeled "in progress" because we have a couple of key things to finish: a floor to ceiling narrow cabinet that will go between the vanity and toilet (the current 2x4 wood support on the vanity will go away) and the tile backsplash that we will install after the cabinet is in place. And hanging the mirrors.

The sinks are Decolav and the faucets Glacier Bay, both from Home Depot (also both in stock items which is so much less expensive!). All the floor/shower tile and marble countertop tile is also from Home Depot. (Going with tile for the counter top was SO much less than getting a granite or marble slab). We bought the mirrors for $10 each from IKEA, and although they are a little bit narrower than ideal, they were much less than cutting custom mirrors. The light fixtures are from West Elm, and the baskets are from Target.

This is now by far the best shower in the house. It features dual shower heads (love)!

The tile is all my dad's handiwork. He also built the cabinets that I will show you once they are installed. (They are waiting for Yours Truly to apply 2 more coats of varnish.) We are so blessed to have someone with so much talent helping us doing most of the work on this remodel and otherwise probably wouldn't be able to have half as nice a result. Thanks one hundred times over, Dad!

basement progress—Abby's room

Welcome to Abby's room! (Part 2 of our basement remodel tour)

We have some artwork to create and some things to hang on the wall, but for the most part, Abby's room is complete. (Try to ignore the blue tape in the upper right corner of the door. Of course you probably didn't even notice until I pointed it out.)

We used the desk and bed from our old guest room in Utah. Her shelves were in her old room. Her bedside pendants were from CB2 and I had purchased them ages ago after our dining room light fiasco. After finding out they were not hard wired, I stuck them in a closet to use eventually. I was so happy to use them in here! The throw pillows on her bed were purchased from Target and used to be on the couch in our family room. In fact, the only thing we bought brand new for her room was her cute Land of Nod duvet and shams and a mirror from IKEA. I love how we have a completely new room with things we mostly already had!

She will have closet doors—as soon as we get them painted. And we are going to put some magnet boards up above her desk for her to hang things on.

I wish I had a picture of the old light fixture, but it wasn't pretty. The new rooms are all fitted with multiple can lights on dimmers. It is so much nicer than one central dim light in the room.

As it goes with older homes, the floors in every room of the basement were cracked and heaved in the middle. As a result, carpet was about our only flooring option (except for the traffic areas where we laid cork). Abby's room features the same carpet we chose throughout... a very subtle green. Her floors were particularly uneven, which presented quite a challenge when trying to level the shelves below her window. Oh well, with the wide-angle lens warp, you can't see the uneven flaws anyway.

The trouble with not touching a house for 40 years is that some of it is actually back in style now. And I know at least a few of you are going to say "What??? Why did you change that?" But I'm pretty sure brown shag carpet and orange bedding didn't suit my 8-year old daughter's taste.

Her new room is a bit more grown up than her old one. (Sniff, sniff.) She also had absolutely no trepidation about sleeping in the basement, even before her room was nice and new.

What do you think? More to come!

basement progress—stairs and hall

If I waited until our basement was completely finished before snapping photos I may never get it done, so I decided to give you a glimpse of where it stands today. Here is the stairway and hall as it was before:

Beautiful, isn't it? I know some of you think it was a total crime to get rid of that wallpaper. (But hey, we had no choice. Those walls were gutted at one point.) And this is what it looks like today!:

This is a slightly different angle, of course. You can see the cork flooring we laid in the traffic areas and the carpet that we laid throughout the rest of the basement. We are happy with both.

The stack of doors are for closets and are waiting to be painted, as is the door you can see at the end of the hallway.


Here is a better look at the new stairs. (When I do my final after shots I need to do a better job of capturing the same angles!) I love how this turned out. We have a few more pieces of trim to install, and then I can finish caulking and painting this area. We also plan to put up a rail of some sort.

Under the stairs we added a little playhouse for the kids. It is a hit and a much better use of that space for us. (The air intake for the new forced air heating system runs through there, so we simply built a platform over it.)


In the photo above left you can see a bit more of the trim that needs to be finished.

We reused the bookcase (seen above in the first photo in this post) that was there, chopped off the top, painted it, and installed it in the back of their play house to store toys. It fit perfectly.

The girls love the little window and use it as their drive-thru window. Hey, take-out is hard to come by out here so we'll take what we can get! (Even plastic hamburgers.)

I put legos and other small toys here because it keeps them out of Eva's reach.

More coming soon!

a gigantic haven't-posted-forever big-update post

I know, it has been an eternity since I've posted. I'm having such a time balancing everything that needs to be done around here! If I'm caught up on housework I'm behind on everything else. But, I'm not going to whine about it. Being here on the farm and at home with my kids—I wouldn't have it any other way. Gotta love and hug this baby while I can...

Anyway, here is a roundup of highlights and lowlights since I last posted.


1. After Christmas we went to the "center of Montana" (Lewistown) to visit my Grandpa and swim in the Yogo Inn pool with friends. The Yogo was a swanky hotel in its time... it's time was 1950 I think. Oh well, we had lots of fun.


 2. And then, for New Year's, we spent the weekend at a cabin (or "cabbage" as Sarah calls it) in West Yellowstone. "Mom, remember at the cabbage how we got to see our cousins?"

Here are a few of my favorite photos:

On the way down to Yellowstone we saw a couple of mountain goats, some elk, and a moose. That almost never happens. Pretty cool!


3. Abby is in Little Dribblers right now (as in basketball, not drooling as you might assume.) They each get to team up with a varsity player and get introduced on the floor at the beginning of a varsity game, and then they sit on the sideline for the first quarter. I thought that was a pretty cool way to get them excited and motivated. They get to have a scrimmage during halftime of a varsity game this week.


4. We've had plenty of snow so far this winter. Around here the wind usually comes along and does funny things with it.


The warm winds come after a few days of below zero weather, and the snow packs down to make a thick layer of ice on the roads. It rains on them and makes them really slick like a zamboni. Then it gets cold and snows and the cycle begins again. Point is, we are putting our ranch limo through its paces.

I do love the snow, though. We are getting more than we did for many years when I was growing up. The farmers around here hope its a sign that weather patterns are changing back after too many years of drought, bringing more moisture and better crops.


5. We love games. It's a favorite way to wind down around here, and we feel very lucky to have family around to play with often. (We do miss game night with our old neighbors, though! Hi S & A!) Speaking of games, did you know you can play scrabble on Facebook? Tom and I have a game going right now with Brad and Amy in Bozeman. Amy is kicking our hineys.


6. We had a little retirement/going-away party for my Uncle Bob & Aunt Marilyn. They are our closest neighbors and have been farming around here since before I was born. It will be sad to see them go for sure. This could almost go in my lowlights column except that would be selfish. it is happy occasion because we know they are excited and we are thrilled for them!


7. Progress has been a bit slow on the basement. This is because the guys have needed to haul grain to the elevators, mostly. You may wonder why slow progress would be in the highlights column. Well, that grain is our bread and butter, and if we don't sell it, there is no butter. No butter, no basement. I am just happy to have the guys spend their spare time on the house.

This is what has happened lately: Everything is painted, trim is going up, and doors are being hung. The bathroom is almost ready to tile. Carpet, cork, and tile have all been acquired. It is coming together! Tom has posted pictures on his page since he is really the one making the progress. He and my dad. We are so fortunate to have my dad's knowledge, skills, and efforts to get this project done as well.



(Is that even a word? It's not allowed in the scrabble dictionary. :)

1. We've had some sickies around here. Sarah had a mild fever for a couple of days. Abby had one solid day of throwing up and staying in bed, then bounced out of bed the next day ready for school. ??? I guess she hasn't learned how to milk it yet. Eva was sick for at least a week. We thought it was her ears. But then she was throwing up and not eating. I am soooo happy she is feeling better now and we are slowly gaining back lost ground with sleeping (not through the night yet) and eating. 

Speaking of eating, she hasn't been catching on to eating solid food very quickly.

This is pretty much what she thinks of it. But we are slowly making progress. We've discovered that she eats much better if she can feed herself, so we've been known to just dump a pile of mashed peas on her tray and let her go at it.

She absolutely refuses to take a bottle. She was taking one fine before she got sick, but now she won't have anything to do with it. I am still nursing her, but it would be nice to have a back-up option. It's been awhile since Tom and I have had a date.


But, fortunately, there have been no more lowlights besides the sickies. We try to make a practice of not complaining—it's a much happier life that way. And we just plain don't have much to complain about.

I hope I haven't bored you through this long haven't-posted-forever big-update post. I will probably have to sacrifice sleep to keep up with my posting going forward, but do I have some things to blog about. You know how everything in January has to do with either weight-loss or organizing? I have some things planned in both vents, so check back soon.

basement progress—painting

So, progress has slowed a bit in our basement due to the holiday festivities, but we have been trying to get some painting done in our basement. We had a bit of a hiccup, however. We got our paint from Home Depot (Behr—Sandstone Cliff), and it looks like the swatch on the left (below). The problem is, the first can we opened looked like the swatch on the right. And we painted a room and a half with it before we realized it was a bad can.

But we ran out of paint before we could finish edging the first room, so we have to repaint it all in the lighter color. In the second room, Tom finished rolling in the lighter color, but it had some darker mixed into the paint tray. So when I did the edging, it turned out like this:

So we will be rerolling that room too. Nothing like doing the work twice. Oh well. Soon the rooms will all look like this:

The ceiling is Behr also (Powdered Snow).

Our base and case is due to arrive on Monday, and our doors the following Monday. We are making a trip to town next week to order flooring. Next on the agenda: make a plan for the tile in the bathroom. Lots to do!

basement progress

You'll have to forgive my sporadic blogging as of late. Things have been a flurry around here as we prep for the holidays and work on the house. We were fortunate enough to have my Uncle Dave (professional dry-waller!) come to help us for a few days, so the guys are working hard to get that phase complete while he is here to help them do it right.

The stair walls were in rough shape after removing the panelling, but we are going to do a skip-trowel texture throughout to help cover the flaws.

I like how the kitty is checking things out in the photo above. Little did she know this was the last look she'd get for awhile. I banished her back outside now that the temps have creeped above zero again. She has a cozy place in the garage so don't feel too sorry for her. She crapped in the house.

Abby's room is looking a little brighter with new sheetrock and no more brown carpet.

Here Tom and Dave are prepping to sheetrock the ceiling in our media room. Thanks a trillion for your help, Uncle David!

basement picks

Our balmy fall weather has officially gone south. The wind is howling and every leaky window and door in our house is whistling. Shingles are flying off our new roof. I know. Not good. Eva and I are nursing colds and coping with way too little sleep. So, needless to say, I've had perkier days.

We have a few deadlines to meet on our basement now as we have an insulator and taper lined up to help us. Demolition is complete and framing and wiring commenced. I'm starting to stress out a little about all the decisions to be made, like moulding styles, door styles, carpet and tile, bathroom fixtures, lighting, etc. The dreaming and idea gathering process is loads of fun until you have to actually commit to something.

We have to replace all the exterior doors on the house to improve heat efficiency (and whistling on windy days!) and keep the mice out. We are planning to just get regular Jeld-wen exterior steel doors, and some with half-lites (windows in the upper half). We will paint them brown to match the exterior trim (or what the exterior trim will eventually be), but should the insides be painted brown too? Or left white? I can't decide.

exterior door

interior option 1interior option 2










We are also choosing new interior doors, and I'm looking for something a bit contemporary. Of course I would love solid wood doors or carved styles etc. etc. but the molded types are more within our budget. Do you like option 1 or option 2?

For the bathroom I am thinking of choosing a basic travertine with a trim tile like this mosaic:

bathroom floor and showerbathroom trim












For the traffic areas we are thinking cork floors, and for the main living areas and bedrooms a cut/loop style carpet sort of like this:

cork for traffic areas

carpet for living areas and bedrooms












I suppose we will do carpet on the stairs also, but for wear I wonder if it would be cool to do cork instead. Might be difficult to do, but would it wear well? We are planning to update the railing as well:

The last 2 rungs are duct-taped. They show the wear of too many cousins swinging on them. :)

Anyway, there is a little update on our basement progress. Leave a comment and tell us what you think. Honest opinions, everyone! :) (Really offensive comments that insult my intelligence will be deleted. Ha!)


house progress report

With all the craziness around here it is hard to keep up with a daily posting habit. But this time the craziness is due to this: We have finally started working on the house! The weather turned colder this week which turned the guys indoors. I'm not complaining about the cold.

So now two of the back rooms in the basement are down to the studs. Most of the interior walls will remain intact, except in this room where we are relocating a closet. The exterior walls are all getting new insulation and updated wiring.

And I've been busy doing this:

Seems a little silly now that we bothered to unpack anything in the basement, just to repack it a couple of months later. Abby is moving back upstairs into Sarah's room for ahwile, and we are making as much room as possible in our storage room for our basement furniture to be stored out of the way while we work and until carpet is installed.

My job has been to consolidate the boxes in this room, and hopefully soon it will be stacked to the gills with our basement furniture. So there you have it—our first progress report and one happy momma!