The walkway connecting the side of our house to our garden has been wrought with issues – grass wouldn’t grow there, and in the winter months it would pool with water and turn into an ice rink. In Summer it is just a muddy mess. We decided therefore, while we were adding wood cladding to the pool that we would keep the momentum going and build a mini walkway by the gate. A mini boardwalk, which seemed fitting also as we live close to the Beach.
It started with us digging out the ground, in order to place some rocks for better drainage. We were originally going to just make a straight walkway and end it parallel to the stairs – however I decided at the last minute, much to some annoyance of Aubrey, to connect the walkway with the staircase, in order to make the whole area seem as one, and create a “pond” of our grasses.
It ended up making it a bigger project than we originally assumed, as now we were tying in the walkway with the stairs. But as it started to come together, it was clear that the extra effort was indeed worth it.
I am so ridiculously happy with how it turned out!
And the wall build (from this side at least) is complete. If you go through the archives you’ll see the progression of this space. But going back to the verrrry beginning of the home reno you can see the left hand archway in the below picture, is the area that we filled in.
We’re already hanging out down here WAY more, as it’s nicely separated from the hustle of the main floor. The countertop was a surprisingly easy decision after we researched quartz, or custom pieces (traditional counters for a kitchen). It wasn’t worth the investment, and I was going for a more “chillaxed” vibe down here anyway, so unfinished wood was in my sights, specifically the whitest wood I could find (that was affordable).
We went to Lowes and I decided Poplar had the right tones I was looking for. A single piece of wood wasn’t big enough for the cabinet top, so we had to find two pieces that I felt seamlessly worked together. This took a bit of time as some pieces were yellower than others or, had big knots in them.
Lowes isn’t the best at cutting wood to size according to Aub, whereas Rona is way more helpful. So Aubrey took the wood to Rona, to get them cut so that they would simply fit ontop of the cabinet perfectly.
It's funny how houses change over time. Or perhaps it's more of a thing with smaller homes, where as family needs shift, kids get bigger, interest change, it's a necessity to find ways to readjust our homes to accommodate the changes. Over the holidays, I managed to keep a pretty good handle on the "stuff" in the house, but even so - it became apparent to me that we could make better use of space in the home in order to function better, have more places to hang out as a family or, when friends were visiting and a place to store the "stuff" that needs to be here.
I was standing in the basement just before Christmas and wondered why none of us hung out down there. I mean, I didn't even like hanging out down there, even though we had an AMAZING couch (The Willow - I highly recommend it) I knew we were not using the space properly but I could never figure it out, until that day. And I realized in the name of "open concept" for the basement, we had dead space that wasn't being used properly at all and it was actually making the basement feel confused - was it an office or a family area. Take a look through the basement archives, as it may help you understand the layout slightly better.
If you take a look at this picture below taken at one stage of the basement's decorating. My office is at the back, and I put a cabinet to divide the office from a TV room area. To the right of the cabinet was an opening that looked to the staircase...
Now, we rarely sat down here as we looked at these openings to the staircase and it was just awkward. We had a TV on a pullout arm which I wrote about here but to be honest, it was heavy and more of a pain than I had hoped. I decided, a few days before Christmas as family and family hangout time was on my mind, was that what we needed to do was close in this opening and create a wall, for a TV to hang on it, AND, behind it, build a closet, to store our every-growing everyday "stuff". To show you an overview of the basement I did a quick sketchup of the basement. The first picture is what it was, and the lower one is the proposal.
Aubrey was totally on board, and started right away. I'll post more in the upcoming posts but here is Aubrey starting - which I show to give you a sense of the opening size and how it was a wee bit of a lost space in the basement.