OK after a few weeks of other things, I’m back to finish this project up!
This final week I’m showing you the least visited area of our home – our basement. Not its fault, we just don’t have a lot of reasons to go down there since it’s comprised of the second and third bedrooms (one for the future kiddo(s) and the other currently where we have our grow light setup for our seed starting simply because there was room!) and a laundry area also used for DIY storage. It’s proof positive you don’t need a lot of space to live happy – our house is 1,500 square feet and half is down there, mostly unused, so we’re primarily living very comfortably in less than 800 s.f. (if it were 300′ smaller it’d be labeled a “tiny house”…funny as I never feel cramped in here at all!).
So anyhow, here’s the spaces and the green-ness of ’em…
I know, not the most exciting, right? Nothing like photographing rooms in your house to see where you want to change things eh!!! Just added to my list “paint laundry area a happy color!”…and am all over Pinterest…
Anyhow, sustainable living in the laundry area includes:
- Energy Trust-certified Whirlpool Duet Sport front-load washer & dryer
- When I bought the house, there was this godawful stacking washer/dryer down there that leaked when it had more than half a load in it. I promptly sold it on Craigslist for a steal and got these beauties. 10 years and still running beautifully! (well, minus the one time it sucked up a pair of my undies and I had the embarrassing task of calling the plumber because we didn’t know why it wasn’t working and he found a little black silky thing clogging a pipe. excellent.)
- Now that we’re in spring, the dryer is pretty much on holiday unless it’s raining and something urgently needs to be laundered before the next sunny day, since we have our clothesline in the backyard that we built last summer 🙂
- While it’s nothing related to laundry, we also have a half-chest freezer which is where we keep our wild Alaskan salmon share along with many many quarts of frozen berries that we pick each year and veggies from our garden (shredded zucchini, peas, etc.). Super cheap to find these at the big box home stores, I think ours at the time cost around $160?
- Clothes rack for drying delicates that have no business going in the dryer (and yup, that Cramps piece is my husband’s – he painted it in his 20’s so yep, basement is where it ended up).
- And under the stairs, we maximize the space by storing things that really don’t belong in the garage due to temperature and humidity sensitivity, like our zero VOC paint and caulks, etc., along with other items like our mega storage of CFL bulbs (we did an Energy Trust audit years ago and they sent us a big box of them…of course in 10 years I’ve only changed light bulbs once because, yep, they’re CFLs and last SO long!).
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Room
Our basement has two bedrooms, this being the little one that is rarely used, so of course this is where my old posters from high school were put up (just would feel a wee bit silly tacking a Siouxsie or Cure or INXS poster up in the living room, ya know?), then of course when the husband crossed the ocean, we made sure to roll up a bunch of his posters as well, so there’s Sharon Jones and others representing him in this room and throughout the basement 🙂
At one point during the years I rented rooms to make extra money, a couple folks used this for short term sleeping (it only fits a twin bed) but the other, bigger room was the moneymaker so it pretty much has been for storage. So last year my husband built a tabletop seed starting station (a vast improvement from the prior year’s floor setup) which has been so so awesome. As we’re in late spring, these watermelon seed starts are all that are left for the season, as I planted the tomatoes and basil last week. I have a timer on it so I just have to remember to go down there every once in a while and make sure they have enough water. Pretty sweet.
The Big Bedroom
Not an easy room to photograph, as it is L-shaped! It is pretty big though, and was great for renting out in the past, as one section is perfect for the queen bed and the rest for dresser, desk, books, etc…plus it stays nice and cool during the summer while still staying warm in winter (I always rented the room furnished – made it transition into a guest room between rentals and I could charge more, plus it was great for people only needing temporary housing… I never wanted long-term roommates, both because there only one bathroom, and because I liked knowing that, by renting for a max of 2-3 months, I’d always have a “break” coming up and have my house all to myself).
So now this has been transformed to our future kiddo’s room! It’s still a work in progress but this is what’s going on thus far:
- We love grass green so chose Rodda Horizon’s zero-VOC paint in Green Knoll to encourage a happy, nature-inspired space in what was once a fairly dark and drab basement room. The former owners used this as the bedroom for their two little girls and it was 1980’s pastels…and gotta say, I’m glad to bring in something more primary in color – I have never, ever liked pink or pale yellow, y’all…
- We tore out the nasty mauve practically-outdoor-carpeting-it-was-so-yucky and painted the floors dark gray to provide a base and added two large Mad Mats rugs, made from 100% recycled plastic, to give it some color and have a soft yet easy-to-clean surface for the feet to walk on.
- I replaced the old nasty push-out windows which allowed all the bugs in (and were soooo not secure) with double-paned sliding & locking windows with screens, taking advantage of Energy Trust’s cash incentives for windows (note: it took five or six years because of the expense, but all of our original old single-paned windows have been replaced and it combined with getting blown-in recycled fiber insulation in the exterior walls and attic have made a huge difference in our energy footprint and comfort levels.
- All of the art on the walls are either family photographs (so our kiddo can see mama & daddy when they were first married along with younger photos of myself and my mother and father, the latter who died in ’08), or regional artists including multiple pieces by Portlander Tamara Adams and an original by an old Seattle friend, Eric Osborne, who creates beautiful work on found objects. The framed photo in the book picture is me, by the way, and the two boys are my grandfather and great-uncle, which came to me unframed from my grandmother and which fit beautifully in an old frame I had gotten from a garage sale!
- Lots and lots of books of course, with 85% from childhood, including Louisa May Alcott’s series, Bobbsey Twins, Elsie Dinsmore (which all once belonged to my great grandmother), a few my mom read to me as a kid, etc. (although I gotta say I’m so mad I didn’t save my Black Stallion paperbacks!), plus ones that were Dan’s favorites that we bought used at Powell’s and on Etsy, including his favorites by May Gibbs. We have picked up a few cute little new ones as well, but pretty much avoid buying new as there are so many used that are just as good and at a fraction of the price (not to mention almost all books are made in China, no matter how local the author is…bleah!).
- Not pictured here, but we also have a few baskets of stuffed animals including Dan’s childhood teddy bear and mine, again like the books almost all ones of ours, with a few new ones sprinkled in. We don’t plan on buying toys, as we have Woodlawn Swap ‘n’ Play right around the corner from us, and beyond the alphabet blocks we’re making by hand, we’re keeping it minimal so our kiddo(s) can use their imaginations, be outside as much as possible, read books, play games (I do have my old Twister game in the closet somewhere!) – and not be surrounded by a bunch of plastic shit. 🙂
- The dresser? Found just down the street with a “free” sign on it, dragged home years ago with the help of a neighbor, and given a fresh coat of paint. Wheeee!
- The bed is our former queen from when we upgraded to a king last year. The earlier bed, mattress set and other furniture down here were all happily sold on Craigslist to a woman furnishing her Airbnb, which pretty much took care of the cost 🙂 So now guests have an awesome awesome bed to sleep on and when the kiddo graduates to this big bedroom (our dining room is going to be temporary kid quarters since it’s upstairs by us). It’s covered with one of my two beloved quilts that I made using my great grandmother’s quilt tops that my mom gave me years ago, something I never thought I could do but worth all the time and effort.
- My husband was gifted this gorgeous vintage map of Australia from a coworker who had come upon a school getting rid of old items, and we thought “how perfect!” for this room and for our kiddo to remember where their dad came from. My husband was also given an Australian aboriginal flag, which is currently awaiting us to figure out its perfect place in our home.
- The lamp is repurposed from our bedroom as it was too big for our bedside table, and while you can’t see it in the photo, it sits atop an old section of poplar trunk that I’d saved after it was cut down in my back yard years and years ago (Dan stripped off the bark, sanded and shellacked it).
- Yes, that is my Roger Rabbit bendy action figure from 1989 on the bookshelf – I used to LOVE that movie!
- Finally, those two goofy pillows were my grandma and grandpa’s – you can even see “Leo” sewn in to one of them. I had them cleaned when I rescued them from her house years back after he’d passed and love the memories they bring me.
So while there’s still more to do down here (for me, it’s getting some kind of flooring beyond the concrete installed, adding floor trim, etc…but these projects are around #873 on the to-do list right now!), it’s coming along slowly but surely.
That Weird In-Between Nook Area Whatchamacalit
So when you come down the stairs to our basement, to the right is the laundry room and the small bedroom, and to the left is the big bedroom. But before you go into the big bedroom their is this weird nook area which the former owners had used as a secondary play area for their girls (mint green and lavender paint…ugh!). However, with last summer’s bathroom remodel, I had to go down to the basement and gently, carefully, and super-messily, bash out the entire ceiling in this area and one entire wall to expose all of the plumbing (as this area is just below the bathroom).
So, naturally, after all of that was done, I figure I might as well draw a picture. 🙂 This is a freehand one I did very loosely based on a cartoon picture I saw of an old couple on a beach, and so I decided to make them younger and perhaps a bit like us (well, minus the stick legs and way-too-short arms, along with giving my skinny hubby a belly like his dad had!), with the thought that when this family building thing actualizes, I can draw more pictures of the kiddos next to us. Scrap paint rocks for these types of random projects and it’s way fun on rainy days! The “under the sea” motif is continued on the other side with pictures of fish and octopus and sea horses and stuff, but dripped a bit so I’ll show that when it’s done…whenever that is! 🙂
That’s all folks. You’ve seen our casa, inside and out. Voila!