Category / House + Home

The Latest in the Basement: The Living Room, Bar, and Golf Simulator

I’ll let the photos do most of the talking here, but as you can see, more progress has been made (and there is still a lot to do!). I’m LOVING the carpet in our living room area, and while I know it serves a technical purpose, I’m really feeling that black ceiling in the golf simulator area!

Picture turf flooring in that space, and behind it in the bar area, this plank vinyl flooringย in “Weathered Wood”.

We are doing a few base cabinets (gray by default, but getting painted our exterior color, Cyberspace)…

(and yes…we will set the trash cabinet right side up) ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

…and we’ll be adding a couple appliances to the arrangement to include a dishwasher and fridge. I’m excited to do black stainless down here to further differentiate the look from our kitchen, upstairs. With the light flooring and walls, I like the deep colors that will fill up this space.

We’re still debating a couple options for the counters in here, one which will run on top of the cabinets, and the other, facing into the simulator, at bar height.

A couple more peeks into the finish living room area, that lacks furniture until the traffic of construction is done, (but Crew is loving the space to run, and it has me thinking twice about adding any!).

The final touches will be stone around the column you see framed at the bottom of the stairs, and wrapped around the back of the bar counter facing the simulator. Then, it’s time to decorate ๐Ÿ˜‰

As for our overall timeline, I mentioned we hit a plumbing snag. We had to custom-order (read: cha-ching and also more waiting) a shower pan around which to tile, and I’m happy to report it was delivered today! I’ll be back with an update after bathroom tiling and bar flooring get checked off the list!

Basement Progress: The Gym

The fan is up, the lights are on, there are handles on the doors and the TV is hung! The gym has come a long way since I last shared about its progress.

We are only waiting on a series of wall mirrors and thanks to my birthday gift (thanks, Mom and Dad!) the ballet barre is ready and waiting to be installed in this far corner. Can you say, “no excuses”?!

More to come, soon!

Our Oversized Modern Floor Mirror

Excuse any gushing that follows (mirror or man related!) but I had no idea how handy the guy I married ten years ago would turn out to be — and more recently, he’s evolved from handy to downright artist.

I mentioned to Page before the holidays that while we were making a few little decor updates in our master, I would love to get rid of the awkward jewelry armoire that stood right inside our bedroom door, and swap it for something more low-profile in the floor space — specifically, a giant floor length mirror.

I had pinned a few inspiration mirrors (West Elm and others), but nothing was quite right. I knew I wanted the clean modern lines, but not too minimal — I still wanted some “chunkiness” and it needed to be large in scale with our high ceilings and not be totally dwarfed by the extra-tall wardrobes on the opposite wall.

This guy can read me like a book. He took my inspo pins, and concocted a design all his own. He even chose the wood — maple — to tie in some of the lighter tones I’ve been using in this room in the form of baskets and jute bins.

I didn’t know or see ANYTHINGย until it was 95% done!

I’m in love with the legs on this mirror and I would have never come up with these on my own. I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to add legs, period, and I certainly wouldn’t have thought outside the box to angle them the way he did. They remind me a bit of an art easel, and I love that they’re the only white element, tying it all back into our trim and doors and wardrobes.

(For the handy ones interested, they are 2.25โ€ square legs made from three pieces of wood laminated together. He routed them with a roundover bit to then cut them at 15 degree angles at both ends.)

Because you truly do see the mirror from the side first walking into our room, I love the chunky profile he gave to it. The glass sits halfway back in the frame, so from the front it doesn’t feel as deep, making the side that much more “wow” factor.

Even with its simple lines, the details are still there. To fit the mirror inside, Page routed a groove inside each side, then added the little square filler notch in a contrasting piece of oak to plug the routed grooves so they wouldn’t show from the outside.

 

Love. Love. Love. Happy birthday to me! (And yes, the builder and his faithful project manager both “signed” it for me!)

Basement Progress: Guest Bedroom and Bath

Following up on last week’s post on our “kid corner” — the understairs play space and our toy closet — I’m sharing more progress today in our basement, as we make our way to the final stages of our basement finish. Today I’m sharing the guest room (well on its way to completed) and our bathroom (nowhere near…but happening very soon!).

Since I last shared any photos of this room, we’ve checked a few items off the list, both big and small — it’s validating sometimes to see just how much it takes to bring a space to fruition (and a good reminder to me to be patient with the progress). Walls have been painted, carpet installed, curtains and light fixtures installed, closet system installed, door handles on all the doors, vent covers reattached to the vents, and we moved in a bed and a couple little decor items. I still love this paint color (although damn if that blush color isn’t suddenly EVERYwhere!).ย I’m on the hunt for an upcycled mid-century dresser to put opposite the bed, both for storage and to hold a television. I feel like I need that in place first before deciding on whether or not to add a chair or bench in here, and the walls are mostly still bare, but this room is officially functional!

In sharp contrast, I give you the bathroom, right next door! We’ve hit a plumbing snag in here that may change the approach we take to this shower, but either way, the lighting is installed and the tile has been purchased and is stacked just outside the shot you see here, waiting for our contractor to work his magic, hopefully starting yet this week. If I had to narrow it to one guiding inspiration room, it’s this one:

source

You can see more of our inspiration for this bathroom in this post, and since then, we’ve more or less stuck to the plan. We went with a black slate floor tile, white subway tile in the shower, and contrasting grout for both. The light fixtures are in, and we’re in the process of picking out black plumbing hardware. Page plans to make our vanity similar to how we approached the bathroom in our last basement in our first home.

That’s where we are today in these two spaces, hoping to share more on them very soon. In the meantime, I’m working my way through the rest of the basement, with more basement updates to come. Happy Monday!

Crew’s Valentines: Heart Crayons and 3-D Suckers

I have to say, I’ve loved every stage, but three is proving to be particularly fun with all of its enthusiasm. When I started to explain Valentine’s Day to Crew, and that we were going to make valentines to give his friends, he was ON. BOARD. to say the least.

I started with something he could truly make — you’ve seen these all over Pinterest — heart-shaped crayons. I will say, grouping these into like colors is key…they look like a hot mess if you just mix random hues. Also — tip: Soak the crayons in warm water to make the paper wrappers easier to remove. Once bare, break them into pieces and bake for 15 minutes at 250, popping them out once they’ve cooled. We used this silicone mold and it was the perfect size and super easy to remove the hearts.

I thought about making the crayons part of his cards, but instead we focused on the holy grail — suckers. Another idea I can’t take credit for, as it already exists around cyberspace: 3D sucker cards. I put Crew in his VDay shirt and among MANY outtakes, (so much “cheeeeese” and eyes closed lately — coupled with holding his arm the right way!) we finally got a shot we could use.

If you attempt this, definitely ask your kiddo to hold his/her arm out in FRONT of them (so the hand is as large as possible to give you space to poke the sucker through) and also out to the SIDE (so the sucker doesn’t end up in front of their face). Don’t shoot too close, allowing plenty of room on the sides to hold both the weight of the sucker and any message you want to add. I laid my text out in photoshop, sampling the red font color from his shirt. I can’t say enough good things about printing with Mpix — I send all my photo clients there! — and when wallets didn’t seem quite big enough to support the suckers, but 4×6 seemed like overkill, I went with 3.5 x 5 prints.

You might say we’re suckers for a good holiday project. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Basement Progress: Under Stairs Playspace and Ikea Algot Toy Closet

We haven’t done much in the basement in recent months (other projects taking priority!), but I’m still behind on updating what we’ve accomplished so far. This time last year we gathering estimates for tape and texture on our drywall, so we’ve come a long way! Today I’m sharing the area just to the right when you come down the stairs — the under stairs playspace and toy closet!

You can see we still need to mount the little house number “5” (Crew’s lucky number!) and trim out the faux wood so that it seamlessly connects with the wall and gives the illusion of a roofline. Crew’s favorite part of this spot is by far the ability to reach the light switch inside and turn on his “porch light”.

(By far, the tiniest room I’ve every attempted to photograph!) This space will change many times I’m sure, but for now it’s a little reading nook with his Pottery Barn chair and a couple shelves to hold favorite books. We kept it clean and simple in here with white walls, and I applied navy decal stars to give the feel of wallpaper on the far wall.

(The view looking up from that little red chair — we continued the star theme with some string lights he can plug in for a little extra magic in this space. The “Be You” sign was originally gold and I spray painted it navy to make it feel a bit more masculine.)

And the view looking back toward his little door. We did a flush mount light to minimize head bonking, and I love that the “Be You” sign is hidden until you’re all the way in here. Some stained wood arrows pointing into the space, and matching book shelving complete this little spot I’m totally giddy about.

I Want My Hat Back / Ferdinand / Love Matters Most / Not A Boxย / Be Kind banner

Back across from the playspace entrance is the double doored toy closet. (And for those who’ve asked, the framed print is from Smallwoods — the lyrics to “Forever Young” seemed so appropriate here!)

This closet has always been at the top of the list for the basement plan, as we saw one similar in a builder’s house we toured before building our own home.

It doubles as current toy storage on the bottom half, within easy reach for Crew…

…and outgrown toy/baby gear storage up high. It’s so nice to still be able to find our bins of infant/toddler toys when babies come to visit us, and until we know if there’s another kiddo in our future or not, this stuff is tucked neatly away.

We also have a couple of bins for things he either hasn’t quite grown INTO along with a couple Christmas and birthday gifts we were able to hide away in all the celebrations, for a rainy day when all the newness has worn off and he’s ready to play with something different.

I’ve used some Elfa products from The Container Store, but decided for this closet to try Ikea’s Algot system. Overall, we’ve been really happy with it. There are plenty of options and ways to configure what you’re after, although Page might write a bit different review about actually mounting the support pieces on which we built this all. I HAVE found that with the lidded tubs (up high) you have to line them up JUST right to get them on and off the rails — which would be frustrating for a small child trying to access bins of sorted toys, so I’m glad we kept it easy with freestanding tubs on the floor and open mesh basket drawers (that don’t come all the way off, but rather function like a normal drawer).

It is SO nice to have a spot for everything, and be able to shut the doors on it all!

striped bins / red tubs / red grommet bins

Cheers to a new year, organization, and a new indoor spot to play on days like today when it’s 2 degrees out!

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Crew Does Two: The Fourth Quarter

Crew Update // Year 2 Quarter 4 (Photo by April+August)

You turn three this week. (Excuse me while I clap for joy and choke back a lump in my throat, all at once!)

Sometimes I can’t believe this birthday is already here, and yet I often forget you’re only 36 months new in this world. You have moments where you’re already wise beyond your years, you’re a smart little cookie, and the number one thing we hear is how verbal and outgoing you are for your age. So yes, I suppose the math is right and you’re due to turn three. And yet…didn’t we just meet, in a hospital room, in the middle of the night, in a snowstorm?

Cut to three years later. You have a lot more hair and a personality that makes me burst with pride. You’re uber-friendly, love fiercely, are developing a sense of humor and like to tell us your version of a joke, then say you’re “just kidding”. You thrive around people and have never met a stranger. You’re positive and excited about any and every experience, you want to know everyone’s names, and you’re full of questions about everything.

You love to play games where we’re all together. You sing All. The. Time. (real songs and ones you make up) and get especially excited about spotting water towers when we’re in the car. You love to cook (imaginary but prefer the real deal) and mazes and magnets are high on your list of interests. It goes without saying, but this is all still secondary to garbage trucks and anything associated (the trash can aisle at Target is one of your faves). You are no happier than when you have a special job or task to do, the most popular of which is bringing all the trash cans in the house to dump into our large kitchen one — whether or not it’s trash day.

You’re freaked out by thunder, noodles, and tunnel slides. In that order. I’m happy to report that after months (seriously, since maybe September?) of you coming into our bed within a couple hours of bedtime nervous to sleep by yourself, you now make it most nights on your own until 5 or 6 before coming in, and once in a while, we don’t see you until morning. #progress

Everything that has already happened, happened “last week”. It could have been this morning, or a month ago — it was all “last week”.

Your manners have improved dramatically — way less reminders to use “please” and “thank you” — and you’ve started to say them with overly dramatic emphasis, especially with our Elf on the Shelf, Dash. (“THANK YOU for my gingerbread house, Dash!!!”)

You would prefer to stay in jammies all day, but when you do get dressed, you still don’t fight me on whatever I want to put you in (yay!). You particularly love shoes and when a new pair appears, you ask to wear them around the house immediately. It makes it hard not to shop for you, when you seem to appreciate it almost as much as I do! I had to laugh at Thanksgiving — I had to wake you up VERY early from a nap so you were less than thrilled about anything, including getting dressed. But when you spotted yourself in the mirror wearing your bow tie and suspenders, you broke into a grin and checked yourself out. So funny!

You moved up to the three-year-old room at school this month. We talked about it beforehand but you were sad and still had a couple tears come day one as you missed your previous teacher. Two days in, you excitedly told me you were headed to the new room that day — it’s been back and forth on levels of enthusiasm and you miss your old teachers and classmates, but you are definitely thriving.

We didn’t realize just how ready you were for the move up. You are tasked with filling your own plate at meals (and we hear you are eating better, as a result!), pouring your own drinks and ditching your pacifier for naps (we followed suit at home and within a week you no longer asked for it at naptime – you love to declare now that because you’re big you only use it at nighttime). You get to enjoy new freedoms like playing on the BIG KID playground instead of the toddler one, and a whole new set of toys and activities to peruse each day. Your previous teachers (and others) have noted several times how verbal and outgoing you are. It’s been refreshing to see you be able to have more significant conversations with your peers now that you’re with this older group. You are always “that kid” giving everyone hugs and enthusiastically yelling out “hi [Name]!” to each friend. In your previous room, depending on a two-year-old’s mood, you may or may not get anything in response, and I could tell it was starting to hurt your feelings when it happened. My favorite thing about this new, older, age group is all the reciprocated conversation and enthusiasm you’re experiencing from the other kids. You play it cool, but sincerely grin at all the “Bye, Crew! See you tomorrow!”s when I pick you up now.

Crew Update // Year 2 Quarter 4 (Photo by April+August)

New favorite foods this quarter are pizza, strawberries, pancakes, and gingerbread anything. Texture is still a big thing for you. You’ve started to actually eat little hard candies (smarties, etc) that before you would just suck on and spit out, nervous to chew. You are still hit or miss on trying a bite of something new, but if we catch you in the right mood, it DOES happen. You are still an avid milk drinker, but won’t touch chocolate milk (or hot chocolate as we’ve tried a couple times this season!).

Of course, you went as a garbageman for Halloween. And I can’t wait to share a separate rundown of your “Trash Bash” 3rd birthday party! Garbage trucks are still your favorite toys — and as many as we seem to collect, they all serve a different purpose and have a spot in your heart! (They are also excellent for hauling around another little treasure — your safety coins that you earn at swim lessons!) It’s so fun to see as you grow which things become “treasures” in your world.

Speaking of swimming, you are still doing weekly lessons and making great strides. But the thing that really gets you pumped up (and frankly, out the door on Monday mornings) is the promise of soccer practice. You’ve been doing a weekly program at school with some of your classmates and you are ALL about it. You also love kicking a ball around with us at home. Thank goodness for Dad; you’ve already passed me up in dribbling skills.

You’d think all this activity would keep you needing sleep but alas, after three very grateful years of a 3.5+ hour napper (and 12 hours at night), you’re finally cutting yourself back. In part, I think because of the lack of a paci now at naptime, and I think you’re just outgrowing the need for so much sleep. A typical day is now 1.5 to maybe 2 hours, and you aren’t ready to truly fall asleep until closer to 8:30 or even 9, still sleeping until about 7:30 most mornings. (You went ONE day without a nap and promptly passed out, HARD, when we got in the car to go somewhere at 5:30 that evening, so I don’t think you’re ready to drop it altogether!)

The holiday season was especially fun this year as you could grasp more of the concepts and the real “magic” has begun to set in. We took you on a Polar Express train ride and you were SO. EXCITED. to see Santa come on board to hand out jingle bells.

You got so excited for Christmas lights on all the houses, and spent every December morning checking on Dash, our elf, to see what crazy thing he’d been up to. You make everything more fun and we’re so lucky to have known you these last three years. Our hearts burst for you when you’re excited, and ache when you’re sad, and we know there’s so much more of that to come. We can’t wait to see what is in store for you as you make your way to four.

Happy birthday week, little light. Thanks so much for picking us for this parenthood adventure.

(Shout out toย ย April + August for the family and lollipop photos, pictured above!)