Friday, June 29, 2012

Basement Make Over

Once upon a time I used to all the time.  and I loved it.  Like free therapy.  Just sitting down and writing whatever is on my mind, bragging about the kids, showing off my cute pictures.

Now I just can't find the time.  I guess that happens when you have two rug rats.

Maybe I will start up again.  Maybe I won't.  I guess it will just be one day at a time... but here is a post I've been wanting to throw on here for a little while:

Our Basement Make Over

When we first moved in we had some issues in the basement.  Aside from it being hideous with its wood paneling covering some meters and the electric box, and the rest of the walls being covered in this super glossy wood wallpaper (YUK!)... there was a mold issue that needed to be addressed. 

Nate did wonders with this demo.  He had some help from his dad and from my mom who was super enough to step in and do what I couldn't... what with Owen gestating and all.  It seemed to take forever.  We had pretty extensive plans about what we would be doing to finish it.  But our beer budget won out over our champagne tastes and we modified our expectations to something that works for us now.  And you know what... while I do love me some champagne, we love beer too!  

Just as I reached my breaking point with toys ALL OVER THE PLACE! We evaluated where we were with our basement make over and what it needed to become useable.  We didn't need perfect, we needed usable.  For now.  Until we had more time and money.  It was going on a year since we had moved in and started this project and we needed to make this space usable...thereby doubling (almost) the square footage of our house!

Here is what we got....  It ended up being that perfect room we thought we were sacrificing.  Maybe it isn't what we thought we would be doing, but it turned out perfect to suit our needs.  Instead of putting up sheet rock, we took advantage of the clean look of the white waterproofing paint on the cinderblock.  For flooring we picked some inexpensive industrial type carpet at home depot.  It came in one giant roll cut right at the store that Nate and I put down ourselves.

Oliver's cars trucks and trains all have a home in one corner of the basement....although plenty of them find their way upstairs still.  Seriously, they are in every room of the house plus the yard AND the van. But this corner is their home.

In the middle of the room I laid out a foam puzzle mat for Owen (yeah right like he stays on there) and surrounded it with age appropriate toys for him...but he still prefers to be all up in his brother's business.  The white unit with red bins is from Ikea and houses tons of baby toys.

I made a little sports corner.  not quite what I imagined it would be, but that's ok since we really shouldn't be sporting too much inside anyway.  But I like organizing by theme so here is where we have a bucket filled with balls of varying size, color, density and sport; a collapsable tunnel; a few bowling pins; and a bean bag toss.

Another themed station I wanted to have was a musical play area.  Here we find all our different instruments and the iPod loaded with nothing but Music Together, Imagination Movers, and the Neverland Pirate Band.

Aside from the music station, the other area of the play room that holds the most importance to me is the reading area.  Actually, I think I had the highest expectations for our "library"even though the boys aren't ready to enjoy this area in the way I am eager for them to.

It's not totally what I want from a reading area, but as they grow and learn to appreciate this part of the room more and the toys less, we will clear out some room to put out maybe a mattress and some more big pillows to make the comfy reading nook I have been dreaming of.  I have these very romantic notions of curling up with my boys and reading Brian Jacques to them for hours on end, followed by CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien of course.  Yeah...we are YEARS and YEARS from that.

BUT Oliver has enjoyed tossing pillows on the floor and lying on his tummy next to me while we read some books about Thomas the Train, trucks, and more trucks... so once again I have edited my expectations and found enjoyment at his level.

Directly across from our reading chairs and shorter bookcase is this taller bookcase housing the more delicate books.  Paper books and other more advanced reading that we will get to.  I love these shelves because I was able to organize them into mini libraries.  All of the Suess books are together on one shelf, the Eric Carle books on another.  The "How Do Dinosaurs ____" books are together in one place  and random books about pirates face forward in their own collection, separating two non-categorized groups of books placed sorted by shape and size.  The bin on the bottom shelf is filled with seasonal and holiday books.  I had a blast doing this.  I should probably be a librarian. 

Confession- I think THE most romantic cinematic moment goes to the scene in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast shows Belle the library for the first time.  That scene always takes my breath away and leaves me wishing I could live in that moment of that fairy tale forever.  (As a matter of fact, look closely at the middle snow globe on the top shelf of the tall is that scene!)

Here are my boys enjoying their play areas.  Makes all the hard work worth it.

My dad picked up this table for the kids at a flee market.  I love it.  It fits perfect in my daydreams of homeschooling my kids.  It has been great for mini art projects so far.

The closet to the left of the table had nothing going for it but an overhead light, so Nate came the rescue and put up these shelves for me.

Again, I have this notion that I will do some home learning with the kids so I really wanted this space to help me facilitate that.  Educational type toys are located in here.  Along with some crayons, play doh and paper.

Here are puzzles, lacing boards, wood blocks, shape sorters and lacing beads.  Putting them all together made me realize what neat stuff my kids have for them.  You really don't realize how much learning your kids are doing JUST BY PLAYING! Well maybe you do, but it's always refreshing to catch a clear glimpse of that.

On the side of the closet I hung a bar for costumes, put other miscellaneous dress-up items in a bin, and threw Oliver's doctor kit and tool box up top on a ledge.  Eventually I will hang a mirror on the inside of the door to complete this role play space, but Oliver is not at all in to this type of play yet.

This wall is not yet completed.  Eventually it will home a DIY play kitchen, as Oliver has been really adorable in his practical play desires whenever we come across a kitchen set.  We actually got main piece of it up tonight and he had a blast, so once the finishing touches are added I will tell you all about it.

Another great feature about our playroom being in the basement is that it is dog free.  We love our puppy to pieces and had every intention of having her downstairs with us... but she won't come down the stairs.  It turned out nice.  It's a place for the kids to play and she is not in the way, Oliver isn't bullying her, and Owen isn't swimming in dog hair as he crawls/pulls himself around.

Major props to Baby Daddy Natey Poo for all his hard work putting in the physical labor to make our basement the best most funnest room in the house!