Continuing on with the basement changes …. Aubrey built the new wall with plywood. We knew we were going to be installing shiplap (in stock, available at Lowes although go to a bigger Lowes as not all of them have it) so we didn’t worry about needing to add drywall here, which would have been the nicer choice had you just been painting the wall. We also didn’t install it ALL the way to the floor because a cabinet was going in front, and it saved us some money in materials.
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.
Before having Oscar, I intended the basement to have one purpose – to be my office / studio. However over the years, many things changed – I had a child, my business grew, my business changed, and slowly we realized we needed two defined areas of the basement. A family area, and, a well designed office for me.
Working with one major open space is pretty tricky, so over the last few years we’ve contemplated how to make it work. We lived with a transition of styles – I think it’s a fairly common problem in households. You decorate as you have the budget and needs and uses of rooms change. The end result, at least in this situation, is that a room starts to feel like a hodge-podge of styles. Fast forward to today, and even though our lives are still changing – I felt comfortable enough in how we as a family use the space, to invest some time and money in making the basement done. Here is the progression of our basement from one open area to two defined spaces – without adding any walls up. Ps., You can see all blog posts about the basement and changes here.
– THE BEFORE PHOTOS –
THE AFTER OF SPACE NO. 1
We bought the largest couch we could fit downstairs – and it also happens to be a pullout couch! A QUEEN! Small spaces don’t mean you need small furniture. Having a pullout couch means that this space doubles as a guest room now – without having to sacrifice a bedroom (which we don’t have). [The couch is the WILLOW couch from Crate and Barrel)
The white couch gets rotating pops of colour as my mood strikes. I found this Trina Turk pillow at HomeSense. I did a flip when I found it. (I love Trina Turk) but then I did another flip when I realized what I paid for it (I didn’t look at the price tag, and was talking with my Mom during the checkout) but by the time I got it home and put it on the couch, I had bonded with it. So it has stayed. (Moral of the story – just because it’s at HomeSense doesn’t mean it’s $29.95)
Aubrey and I have been searching for the perfect couch for our basement for a few years now. I did a ton of research and fell madly in love with the Crate & Barrel Willow Couch with the pullout bed function. The pullout bed feature makes this small space usable as a spare bedroom, if someone wants to crash. Since my office is now separate using a room divider (more on that below) I don’t feel as though I need to clean / organize or put major things away if someone comes unexpectedly.
The cabinet that I scored out in cottage country got a coat of white paint and new hardware from The Home Depot to bring it to life. We store our toys in here and are accesible to Oscar at any time.
THE AFTER OF SPACE NO. 2
MY STUDIO / OFFICE UPDATES
My new desk (see this post) brightens up the office. I hung a gallery wall of my Penny Paper Co. prints and left the wall above my computer blank – as I found too much hanging in front of me while I worked tended to be distracting.
Instead I hung inspirational images by my computer using the glorious washi tape. It doesn’t leave residue on my walls and yet allows me to hold up pages that inspire. I prefer this look to a structured bulletin board, which I moved into the “family” area of the basement.
On this side of the office, I have my “work” desk where I work on products, paint, package orders, or sketch up new lines.
A vintage chair I found at Value Village is softened up with this geometric pillow I found at HomeSense. Beside the chair you can see that I have my much used graphic tablet tucked into a lucite box, for easy grabbing when I need to draw, but it doesn’t clutter my desk.
My favourite candle, vintage stamp dispenser via ETSY, and samples of the Fall 2015 Penny Paper Co. stationery line Prints are organized, ready at hand to ship. Samples of my Fall 2015 wrapping paper line is being tested. (Eeeeee!) From where I sit at my desk I can watch Oscar play in the “family” area of the basement. Toys naturally stay in that area, and Oscar will wander between the areas, to come visit me while I’m responding to e-mails. He’ll sometimes hop up ONTO my desk and sit with me while I work.
It’s important for me to address this storage / bookshelf that I’ve shown above. It’s actually NOT permanet. It’s a bookshelf from Ikea, put ontop of a base cabinet (again, Ikea) and we’ve built a false wall around it that is temporary. From the other side it looks like a wall (we’ve painted plyboard the same wall colour) and attached it all together to make it look like it is a wall. But infact, it’s not. Instead of building the “wall” to the ceiling, I’ve instead left some relief so that light comes in and doesn’t make either room feel small. It is exactly the same height as the cottage cabinet we purchased, so it looks like it was all planned as such. Little details do make the difference!
My paint brushes are held in a vintage crown jar.
That’s it! The basement isn’t styled, so you may see toys, or a random piece of paper floating about. Cords are everywhere, but I have tried to tidy up for the photos as much as possible. But when you’re running a busy household nothing stays like anything for long. Now we have two distinct areas of the basement – one for work, one for play, and yet I don’t feel closed off from either area. Oscar is free to walk into my office whenever he so chooses (no door!) and magically respects that the two areas are indeed two different spaces. He comes in sometimes to get printer paper to draw with, or to hop up on my desk while I’m working. It’s really a lovely space that I feel so fortunate have. I hope you maybe find some inspiration from this long winded post, for something for your home. Whether you have a bachelor apartment and now have a vision to how to divide a space without needing walls – or perhaps you were looking for a sleeper couch (GET THE WILLOW COUCH!) I leave you with the shopping list below. Enjoy!