Finishing the Basement: The Guest Bedroom

Guestroom in progress

Having built two homes, I’m very familiar with picking out elements for my home without being able to actually see/touch/walk through the ACTUAL finished space beforehand. Finishing the basement level is a little bit easier because at least I can reference the room size and take measurements anytime I want (versus trying to do the math off a set of blueprints and “guess” what 4 feet feels like!). Even so, the walls aren’t yet painted (as we speak!) carpet isn’t yet in (although we’ve picked it out — it’s a slightly cooler/lighter color than what’s pictured below, but same pattern) and the lights aren’t yet turned on (fixtures on order!). So, pulling together a couple versions of a quick inspiration board helps me immensely to figure out the vibe I’m going for in a room. I like too many styles and one moment I’m pinning everything “transitional farmhouse”, the next it’s all “rustic/industrial”. Trying to keep a balanced blend that isn’t too pigeonholed is tricky!

Guest Room Planning | www.lifeinyellow.com

Bed | Ceiling Light | Throw Pillows | Artwork | Dresser | Wall Sconce
Carpet pictured is Tuftex Peak Talent in “Misty Dawn” — (ours will be in “Drizzle”)
Paint color pictured is Sherwin Williams “Faint Coral” — see all of our paint picks here

Guestroom Inspiration Board | www.lifeinyellow.com

Alternate Headboard | Alternate Ceiling Light

Over the next couple weeks, I’m excited to share a room-by-room plan for our lower level. Unless our money tree blooms out back overnight, it will certainly take a little time to pull together all the finishing touches, but we feel pretty stoked about the progress that’s coming along and, furnished or not, we hope to have some usable space by summer!

For today, I’m sharing the inspiration for our guest bedroom. The people at Casper and I created a little checklist of the elements needed in this room to make it inviting to future guests!

Guest Room Essentials | www.lifeinyellow.com

Bedding. Coming into the warmer months, I love the idea of keeping it fresh/crisp with bright white sheets, a light down comforter, and a couple light blankets folded at the foot of the bed. But I’m also already thinking ahead to the holidays, and how to bring in some Christmas coziness — flannel sheets and some festive throw pillows.

Artwork. A must for giving your guests a glimpse of your decorating personality! I have a couple little pieces to sprinkle around the room that are specific to where we live and represent Des Moines for the people visiting us here. I also am planning to make an updated version of the art in our upstairs guest room that displays all the deets for accessing our wifi. For a larger, focal piece in the room, I’m loving the colors in this print from Minted.

Pillows. There’s nothing worse than sleeping on a flat/cheap/”extra” pillow when you’re staying over, and I’m all about investing a little in the foundation pieces; a good mattress and quality pillows. You don’t want your guests tossing and turning all night!

Travel Conveniences. As I mentioned, we’ll displaying our wifi in the room, and a TV will have DirecTV for more entertainment. I’ll be adding a little basket in here with everything from some spare toothbrushes and travel-sized bath products, to a small emergency kit (nail clippers, stain pen, etc) and a couple of leisure books and magazines. I want to wait and see how big the room feels after the bed is moved in, but I’m planningon either a bench at the end of the bed, or a luggage rack in the corner to make accessing suitcases easier. When guests actually arrive, I like to add bottled water and a fresh glass on the dresser.

Lighting. The less-than-stellar shot of the room above was taken on my phone, and what you can’t see to the left is the little nook entry from the hall. We need a very flush sconce on that wall to bring in a little light, but still let the door open, left, into the room so that our guests can easily reach the light switches on the right wall. (So many things you have to think about!) Guests aren’t as familiar with the layout of your home as you are, and you want to make it easy so they aren’t bumping around in the dark, fumbling for lamps. Aside from a small bedside lamp, the lighting in here (both the sconce in the entry nook, and the star ceiling light over the bed) will all be tied to a single set of switches. Side note: While I’m always a fan of a ceiling fan in a bedroom, because of the way our soffit bumps into this room, we opted for something smaller on the ceiling, and an oscilating fan on the floor…I’m not going to lie, it’s been fun picking out pretty light fixtures for the ceiling in here, instead of boring old fans!

Storage. We definitely don’t want guests feeling like they unzip their suitcases…and then have nowhere to put anything. My plan is to use a dresser that can double as a TV stand, so there is plenty of places for guests to unpack things if they want to. The closet is generously sized, so I’ll likely use it for some of our own off-season things, but have a section dedicated so guest items can be hung up.

Any must-haves I haven’t thought of??

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Crew Does Two — The First Quarter

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com  Now that Crew is two, I’ve scaled back to quarterly, rather than monthly, updates on everything from growth to preferences to all the (mostly) fun little quirks of his personality. Much has happened in his first quarter-year as a two-year-old!

It’s April and you’ve been two for a quarter of a year already! Most traces of “baby” are long gone and you are a super talkative and energetic little boy.

You started the year off with more swimming lessons with Dad and began gymnastics with me…both much-needed activities to burn some energy on days you aren’t at school and while the weather was still cold and crummy out. You’ve gotten so comfortable floating on your back in the water, and can finally jump with both feet leaving the ground in sync, as opposed to the gallop you started with.

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

A couple fun outings included some ventures to Tot Town, an under-five indoor play session through a local community center, and a trip to the Botanical Garden downtown. Your favorite part was the automatic doors as opposed to the actual gardens but it was a great spot to let you run around and explore in what felt like an outdoor space, but without the need for all the winter gear.

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In February we headed south for some much-needed family R+R time. You loved some daily splashes in the pool, the sand, and just the ability to be outside! It was so nice for all of us to get out of the frigid Iowa temps and soak up a little Vitamin D. You had your best flights yet – your first with your own seat and we experienced firsthand the little wonder of the CARES harness. (I have to go on a side note for anyone traveling with a kiddo up to 40 pounds…using this allowed us the lightest travel we’ve had since Crew arrived – so liberating! And each flight, the attendants mentioned that it’s THE safest way for a small child to fly!)

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Your attention span has grown by leaps and bounds — you stay engaged in conversations about a single topic and string along multiple thoughts about the same thing, and can follow along much more with movies and storylines (as long as you have the freedom to roam around the room and play AS you watch). Your language has absolutely exploded since turning two. Words like “probably” and “maybe” have crept into sentences and you actually use them correctly. Some of my favorite things you say right now are “hmm, I dunno…“, “oh shoot!“, and “I hold Mommy” (even though it’s the other way around, I will never correct this one!) <3

You refer to yourself in the first person most of the time anymore, although you still refer to us in the third. “I go upstairs, get big dump truck, come back downstairs. Mommy comin?” Yes, somewhere along the way, “dada” and “mama” got replaced with “Daddy” and “Mommy“. I say it every day — slow down, time!

crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You have your frustrated moments, like any two-year-old, and wanting to do things yourself but still needing assistance is a hot button. It has certainly taught ME patience, and to plan on an extra few minutes to leave the house as you get your jacket on! (Sometimes I swoop in from behind you and help with a sleeve, then jump back and excitedly applaud that you did it yourself, so you won’t notice I helped – ha!!) The more you realize there are OPTIONS available in day-to-day life, you more you are annoyed when the options are not available choices for you. No, we can’t have fruit snacks for breakfast. No, we can’t stop and play at that park right now — we’re headed to school. For the most part, you recover quickly and can be led to think about something else. You’re working really hard on asking, not crying or whining, for something, and stopping to “listen” (you always point to your ears) to what we are asking you to do.

You are counting, counting, counting. You can count to ten without error, then it gets a little spottier “nine…ten…eleven…twelve…fifteen…NINE!” You sing your ABC song at about 90% accuracy, and you are obsessed with a couple of puzzle apps we put on the iPad. I swear I can SEE your brain working and you are so proud when you finish one — even if no one is nearby I hear you say, “Good JOB Crew!“. As much as you love the devices, you will drop them in a heartbeat if we ask you to come play something “real” with us. Mom and Dad still win — I wonder for how much longer?! 😉

You continue to be an awesome sleeper – bed around 8, up around 7 and still logging 2.5 to 3 hour naps after lunch. You’ve figured out fruit snacks are the bomb, you only want pouches if they have a banana prominently displayed on the packaging, and you love pretzels, chips, corn, mandarin oranges,  anything cinnamon/spice flavored (grahams, muffins, etc.) and m&ms (“nom-a-nom-a-noms“). Of course, the donut obsession continues — the only thing you love more than those is a garbage truck!

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You constantly have an “owie” (make believe most of the time or the TINIEST scratch becomes a major deal) and you need all.the.band-aids. to show anyone who will pay attention to you, while pouting and saying “oh no, I have owie…poor Crew“. You’re showing more interest in the potty and have had several “successes” so far. I’ll be honest, we’ve waited a bit to potty train just out of laziness/busyness on our part, and also because I was waiting to hear when you would move up to the next room at school (which also impacts your routine and your “normal”). Now that we know that won’t be happening until early summer, I think it will be full steam ahead with this bathroom business.

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You LOVE babies and several of your buddies have new siblings. You actually announced at school that “Crew having a baby” after one of your classmates welcomed a new brother — I definitely caught some raised eyebrows my direction! Sorry but it’s just the three of us, buddy!

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You understand the concept of presents much more now (every boring Amazon box or paper towel delivery via UPS is met with you exclaiming “Oh! Mayyyyybe presents?!“). You’re pretty happy to just open up anything, present or not, but it still cracks me up you don’t give up hope that everything will be for you. You get the idea of the Easter Bunny coming far more than you understood Santa just a few months ago. Every couple days you ask about your basket and if the eggs are still empty.

You did turn into an alter ego of yourself for about ten days mid-March. You were whiny and clingy and didn’t want to eat anything (even your favorites) and would cry about everything, even stuff that didn’t make any sense. We ended up in the ER (your first visit) one night when you had a sudden, severe attack of Croup, and went home after a nebulizer treatment and some steroids that helped you recover quickly. But even after that was addressed, the whininess continued, and we were back in the doctor’s office to be sure you didn’t have an ear infection or something else we hadn’t thought of. In the back of our minds the whole time, we thought this COULD be teeth, but kept checking and didn’t see anything. But sure enough, a couple days ago, 3 of 4 molars have popped through. Teeth never bothered you much to this point but wowza, this last round tested all of us!

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You’re still a bit of a mama’s boy and I love that for about 90 uninterrupted seconds every morning, I get all the hugs and smiles and snuggles — before you promptly ask to turn on garbage trucks (YouTube) and eat some breakfast. You think Dad can fix ANYTHING and if something’s broken, I’ve noticed you never bring it to me for help ha! With Dad working in the basement more lately, you are constantly asking me what he’s doing, telling me what he’s making, or asking to go “check on Daddy“. You love your little family and that makes my heart swell.

I can’t believe the next time I get one of these posts pulled together you will be halfway to three already. I couldn’t pick a favorite phase in your short little life so far, but this talking, loving, learning phase, with all its frustrations but ALL its discoveries and enthusiasm, is ranking pretty high on the charts. Love, love, love you, Crew Man!

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Seeing Green | Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

st pattys | hanna andersson jammies and serena & lily bedding

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In between some basement walk-throughs with our painter and potential trim guys, we made some treats for our friends and I’ve been putting the bedding together in our master (Crew has been giving it a test-jump!). Hope your day and weekend is filled with happy!

st pattys | hanna andersson jammies and serena & lily bedding

IMG_0052st pattys | hanna andersson jammies

st pattys | hanna andersson jammies and serena & lily bedding

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basement paint colors.

Basement Paint Scheme | lifeinyellow.com

With drywall finished, and trim installation up next, I got a head-start on looking at paint colors. (Note: All colors you see in this post are Sherwin-Williams.)

Working off the paint colors throughout the rest of our home, we wanted to go lighter in the basement, since the only natural light comes in through two egress windows on the south side, and filters down the stairs from a large window on the landing. I’m okay that it feels cozy down there, but not dungeon-like!

“Requisite Gray” that you see below, is the color that comes down the stairwell from our main level and sets the tone for the basement.

house palette | lifeinyellow.com

The palette that will make up the majority of the basement is below:

Basement_Palette | lifeinyellow.com

Did that last one throw you? :) Oceanside (6496) is the color Page kept coming back to for the gym. It is definitely a deeper/less neutral color than the rest of our picks, but a great energizing hue for a workout space. You won’t see a whole lot of it, between a wall of wood (more on that later), a window, and mirrors and a TV on the walls, but hints of it will be visible from the main living space through french doors. The gym is a fun place to play with more intense color, and not be so safe. I like that it’s something out of the norm of colors we’re usually drawn to (paint or otherwise) and I like the examples I’ve seen of it in real rooms with white trim and natural light that soften it a bit.

Oceanside

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Speaking of white trim, Extra White (7006) is our trim color throughout the house, and one that will continue onto this level. We used this as our trim color in our last home as well. I love it in all lighting situations — perfectly creamy and clean and not too cool, but still a “true” white with no yellow undertones.

I mentioned that Requisite Gray is the color that currently comes down the stairwell. It will meet up on the lower level with City Loft (7631), which will cover the majority of the basement, including the main living room area, the bar/simulator, play area, and the bathroom. It keeps the warm/neutral flow going, but a bit lighter than our upstairs choices. I always think screens mess with paint chip hues — it’s definitely still the in the “grays” versus “tans” category, but the warmer end of the gray spectrum.

CityLoft

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To create some contrast, we are bringing our outside color in. The exterior of our home is Cyberspace (7076), a gray-navy inky color that I love as much as the day we picked it. After we moved in, I was gifted a large picture frame for our front entry from the creative duo at Adamo Design, in the same Cyberspace hue. Seeing a splash of this color inside on our walls and how she artistically distressed it a bit made it an easy choice for our downstairs bar cabinets.

Cyberspace

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I’ve wanted to use a faint, faint (dare I say “pink”) wall color somewhere in our home, but I wanted it to be anything but baby pink. This has a more coral/peach tint to it, and it’s super subtle. I was ultimately sold on it after I saw it in a couple of non-nursery rooms. In a basement bedroom, I wanted something that felt warm and welcoming but still light and bright, without any (major) color commitment in any one direction. (I know, I’m high maintenance!) So Faint Coral (6329) it is, to bring a little personality to the guestroom.

FaintCoral

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So there is the rundown of our paint picks for the lowest level. And to give a flavor of the other surfaces and finishes that will come in down here, here’s a quick collage. The stone will go up a pillar at the bottom of the stairs (Eldorado’s “Chapel Hill” which is in our upstairs level as well), some elements of dark walnut stain and/or cedar will appear between the bar countertop, a sliding barn door at the bottom of the stairs (for noise control), and a version of this on a wall of the gym. We haven’t picked a tile, but we’d like to go light with a subway tile in the shower stall, and we’ll continue the chrome door/cabinet hardware and fixtures on this level as well.

basement textures | lifeinyellow.com

I’ll be back to share more as this all slowly comes to life. Off to call some trim carpenters! :)

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back in the basement!

Oh, friends. Who knew a decision to finish a basement could prompt so much soul-searching??!

In brief, the past couple months brought some major start-of-the-year conversations about goals — home, financial, location, etc. Those conversations dovetailed with an unforeseen opportunity to purchase some land that we may or may not build on (yes, again…sign us up for the support group…) in a few years. We literally got as far as starting the paperwork and decided in the eleventh hour that it wasn’t our move. Not now, anyway.

And so with that decision made, we were refueled in our desire to continue to put down roots in our current home. While we still scrunch our noses at our lot (it’s a semi-busy street and not much yard in any one direction, and the idea of building where there are actual TREES continues to be a (sub)urban myth) we do love the home as we built it — but now two years later, we are ready to finish moving in. We’ve always planned that this would be a house we grow into — finish the basement, landscape the outside, furnish a patio, and hell – just furnish the parts we live in now. We can’t do it all at once for all kinds of reasons (uh, money for one!) but with the cold winter days fresh in our minds, we are turning our attention back to our basement in hopes of having this space ready to use by the next cold season!

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Back in September, Page finished up a couple little details to the framing that was mostly done by our builder, pre-move-in. We installed insulation ourselves, and a crew came to hang the sheets of drywall that had been stocked down there since day one, finishing up before Halloween. Since then, we cleaned up a little and purged some of the stuff being stored down there, but mostly between holidays and birthdays and life in general, we’ve been focused on other things…until now!

After chatting with a few contractors, we selected a drywall duo to come in and tape, mud, and texture the walls. This ended up taking six working days, in part because of the extra drying time that comes with basement levels. I give you the latest — dust in the air and all!

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{From left to right: storage closet, bathroom, bedroom, gym} IMG_9697

{toy storage area with extra-deep toy closet…

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…and play house under the stairs}

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{one of the things I’m most excited about — the future ballet barre on this wall!}

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{another shot of the bedroom}

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{bathroom}

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{two storage closets on the right, looking to the future bar and golf simulator to the left}

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{bar, A/V closet and sump pump access, and golf sim space}

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{future stone column at entrance to lower level}
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Progress continues — Page is on the fence about his decision to do trim himself, so we’re asking a few trim carpenters to stop by and give us some estimates. After that, PAINT — and our colors are already selected! Stay tuned for the picks!

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Easter for the Boys

Between the pink and pastel-dominated holidays of Valentines and Easter, it’s sometimes hard to find stuff that doesn’t feel super girly, for the boys. So I’ve been on the hunt (hehe pun intended) for basket contents for a certain someone who has a special place in his heart for trucks, bugs, and everything else you might traditionally associate with BOY.

I’ve rounded up a few things that will be appearing in somebunny’s basket this year, should you be looking for some toddler/boy inspiration!

Easter for the Boys | lifeinyellow.com

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

Crew is obsessed with all things trucks, and loves putting things inside other things, and has a slight obsession with garage doors. So his dreams pretty much all came true when we discovered Tiny Tonkas — there are more than a dozen to collect and they fit in his hot little hand. Each comes with a garage and as you collect them, the garages can hook together in a row. You’d think we’d have lost more of these because of how TINY they are, but he keeps close tabs on these treasured toys!

I love clothing that is more off the beaten path and not on repeat at every big box store (and on every other kid at day care!) so Etsy is a go-to for me, for little boys’ clothing. I loved this take on what could otherwise be a really feminine bunny tee — but given the cool factor!

We are in a major I SPY phase, after getting a first couple of books for Christmas. I opted not to do the “Little Hearts” version for Valentines (but note to self, should you need VDay ideas for next year!) and went for the “Little Bunnies” edition instead.

It’s been a while since it was warm enough to be bug weather, but that doesn’t keep Crew from spotting them in every book, game, movie, etc. Plus who doesn’t love a good pop-up book?

This egg sidewalk chalk made its way into Crew’s basket last year, and it’s still the batch he reaches for most when we’re coloring outside. I think because it’s easiest to hold and sturdiest against breaking. I finally threw out the worn-down nubs at the end of the season — time for a fresh batch to kick off Spring! (Note: Just the other day, I also found egg chalk at World Market.)

I loved this carrot take on a traditional popper — something Crew hasn’t yet partaken in. I also liked that the treats inside AREN’T candy — he’ll get enough of that as it is!

The words “bow tie” were in Crew’s vocab long before he hit two. I love that this kid likes to dress, and I love Janie and Jack’s classic, quality, childrens clothing for when you want to go the preppy route. I can’t wait to share his Easter outfit for church!

And while (of course) I bought Easter jammies long ago (okay, over a year ago — I love to shop the sales and plan ahead!) I thought both these and these were so cute but still “cool” for little men.

I’m excited to incorporate some Easter traditions this year — maybe an egg hunt outside, weather permitting? What are some of your favorite Easter activities with littles??

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Posted in Celebrating, For the Kiddos, Holidays, Kiddos, Shopping, Toddler Tagged , , |