Tagged: basement bedroom

basement progress: done(ish)


Has it really been over two weeks since I last posted? All is well in the Zerbey household but we have been busy enjoying Miss Avery (which I like to say with a southern drawl) and showing her off to various friends and family members. We also celebrated Kyle’s 34th birthday! The day was way more low-key than last year, but we did go out to breakfast and I managed to sneak off and pick up a small ice cream cake to celebrate that evening.

My mom was also in town to help out last week and in our ridiculous DIY fashion, we finished the basement just hours before her flight arrived. Finished being a relative term of course. Fortunately, our newborn was very amenable to the last-minute construction (I think we have our in utero remodeling to thank for that) and slept peacefully through the chaos.

But enough chit-chat, come on downstairs!

[Need a reminder of how scary the basement was when we moved in? Oh the shame.]

Our first week at home found us balancing the basement project with caring for a newborn, so there are virtually no progress photos. But to be honest, the tasks weren’t that glamorous – painting, trim, electrical, carpet tiles…been there, done that. Yawn.

So let’s just jump straight to the pretty pictures, ok? The week before our family expanded, Kyle and I went to IKEA to scope out sleeper sofas. After trying out every one they had (which was probably pretty comical at 9 months pregnant), we decided on the Manstad. (Or as my sister calls it, the Transformer Couch.)

It comes in a beige or blue-gray color, but we went with the latter because you can never have enough blue-gray in your life. Also, we thought it would show less wear than boring beige. [As we shared in this post from way back in January, the plan is to eventually add a storage/media unit along the blank wall in the photo above.]

The design for this sofa is quite different from the other IKEA options. Unlike most sofas that fold out along the long side to create the bed, the Manstad has a hidden piece under the main portion of the sofa that pulls out to effectively “fill in” the shape formed by the chaise. Like this:

For us, we liked that the sofa configuration had a chaise (which can go on either side) and that the bed was elevated and not close to the floor like many of the other models. The only downside (and this applies to most IKEA sofa sleepers) is that it wasn’t terribly comfortable. After going back and forth (literally) between the sofa and bed departments, we decided that the best solution would be to buy the sleeper sofa and a memory foam topper to provide a little extra cushion. (Annoyingly, IKEA sofa beds are somewhere between a full and queen in width, so the queen size topper hangs over one side by a couple of inches.)

The topper is light enough to move easily and when not in use we’ll just roll it up and store it in the adjacent closet. The memory foam (which is only a few inches thick) does make a big difference and got the seal of approval from my mom.

Another nice feature is that the chaise cushion pops up to provide extra storage space for linens or the sofa cushions depending on what configuration it’s in.

Sofa. Bed. We love how easy it is to go from one to the other, without one of those weird metal frames to wrestle with or awkwardly folded futon mattress.

With a low ceiling height, we were limited to wall-mounted sconces or recessed cans for the room’s lighting. We placed three cans along one end for general/task lighting, with the idea that this is where people will be sitting our laying down. The two sconces are on the opposite end and will flank what will eventually be a built-in media/storage unit. Finding well-designed yet affordable lighting fixtures has always been a challenge for us and Kyle must have gone through dozens of options for this space. Finally, he found these sconces, which cost about $120 each (with our trade discount) from our local retailer, Lighting Supply. They have a nice diffuse light and are appropriately sized for the space. We also ordered dimmable CFLs because you know how Kyle likes his dimmers.

The two windows still need a proper shade (we got classy with some cardboard for my mom) and we’re currently pricing out different options. We plan on installing some type of blackout shade for optimal movie watching and daytime napping. [Side note: this space is significantly cooler than the main floor, which has been a well-timed blessing during our “heat wave” this week.]

To make the space feel as bright and airy as possible, we stuck with our go-to paint color (“super white” by Benjamin Moore), but decided to mix it up for the doors. We had some leftover paint from our sliding barn doors upstairs, so we painted the future bathroom door the same “Thunderbird” as the other bathroom and the bedroom door the same “Lakeside Cabin” as the nursery. Or so we thought. About halfway through painting the sliding door (which was a real chore since it had to be done in place) Kyle realized that it was actually a completely different color (“Spellbound”, to be exact). Neither of us could really remember, but I guess we bought it as a contender for the upstairs doors. After about 2 minutes of discussion, we decided that we liked it and that it didn’t matter if it matched the other doors.

This project has really honed our ability to make quick design decisions.

The carpet tiles are Flor and from the “Flats and Cords” line (though it looks like they no longer have the same neutral brown color, which was on sale when we bought it). This was another decision that was made quickly and without a lot of discussion – basically we picked the least expensive tile that was rated for at least medium traffic (but was still comfortable for bare feet) and in a neutral color that could work for the room as it evolves over time. So far, so good.

For the swinging door hardware, we stuck with our favorite Stuttgart levers from Emtek. We’ve been very happy with our exterior door levers and Emtek is really reasonably priced (we bought ours locally through Frank Lumber, but they are also available from The Hardware Hut).

For the threshold between the bedroom and hallway, Kyle cut a piece of 5/4 vertical grain fir to fit. (It’s bare wood in these photos but is now in the process of being finished.) At the doorway to the laundry room, we hung a temporary curtain for the time being. We’re still deciding whether we’ll eventually want a swinging door between the two spaces or just a simple framed opening.

Even though the bathroom door is done, the space beyond is definitely not. Phase two.

The small closet between is currently holding insulation for the other half of the basement and the shop vac. It’s so exciting having a closet. I spent at least 38 seconds opening and closing the door just for the hell of it.

The other half of the basement got a little love too. After misplacing a bag of electrical supplies and spending a good hour searching for them, we decided it was time to organize and clean up the disaster zone on the other side of the curtain.

It felt so good to be able to see the floor and the top of the counter again. Although we’ll eventually paint the concrete floor in the laundry area, for now we just put down an IKEA sisal rug that we already owned…which means no more putting on shoes to do laundry. Yay!

Sadly, we never did find the missing electrical supplies.

Of course, there are still lots of little details to be completed, but at least the bedroom/den space is functional. In addition to window shades, we need to figure out and install a custom storage/media cabinet. We might also add a lounge chair opposite of the sofa and maybe move the coffee table down there. The end goal is to create a space that can work both as a place to hang out and watch movies as well as a guest or kid’s bedroom.

With the framework complete, it’s now time for the fun part. After we finish the bathroom and laundry room that is. Is it time to make a 2013 to-do list yet?

the first week

Last Monday, I called my mom to chat about how things we’re going (I had worked up until the Friday before so this was my first “free” day). She commented that she hadn’t seen a recent preggo picture of me so I snapped this one and sent it to her before heading to an afternoon doctor appointment. 39 weeks, 2 days.

Last Monday, the nursery also looked like this. (We bought a sleeper sofa for the basement and had IKEA deliver it the day before.)

Last Monday, we also had a baby.

Avery was breech for the last several months of my pregnancy (we tried a version and other methods to turn her, but she was stubborn), so we were anticipating a scheduled c-section on Wednesday.

Wednesday, at 4:00. I even wrote it in my planner.

However, on Monday afternoon I got a call from my doctor’s office saying that the results of some blood work done earlier that day were a little off and they’d like me to just head on over to L&D triage to get checked out. To make a long story short, I felt great and baby was doing well but, per the doctor’s recommendation, we decided to not chance anything and go ahead with the c-section that night. It went very well and we’re grateful for the top-notch team that was taking care of us.

In other good news, Kyle did not pass out.

I’m also grateful for friends who bring us cupcakes. Pink cupcakes.

It was a gorgeous couple of days in Seattle and I lived vicariously through the view out our hospital room window. On the second day Kyle snuck home to take care of a few things…like moving the IKEA boxes out of the nursery. Of course, we thought we had another day or two so the house was in a state of slight chaos. Laundry on the bed, dishes in the sink. DIRTY FLOORS. It was very important to me that Kyle mop the floors when he was home. He did. =)

As soon as we got home we gave Avery a quick tour of the house that ended in her room. All of a sudden, things got very real and that crib felt very big.

Yeah, we didn’t finish the basement in time either. Fortunately, Kyle is at home this week as well and has been spending part of his days priming and painting (zero VOC for both) in preparation for my mom’s arrival this weekend.

For those that have been wondering how Bailey and Avery would get along, I think this should sum things up:

Some friends of ours watched Bailey while we were gone and Kyle waited to pick him up until after we were home. We started with a slow and controlled introduction, but once we knew that he would be calm we let them get a little closer. And then a lot closer. As predicted, Bailey was a gentle giant and Avery seemed oblivious to what was happening.

There’s just a coat of primer on in these photos, but it already feels so much better. We hired out the drywall work and they finished only two days before Avery’s arrival.

Although it seems to be gaining in popularity, Avery has been our “girl name” since Kyle and I first started talking about marriage and babies when we were still in college. In the part of Tulsa were Kyle grew up, there’s a scenic road called Avery Drive. It’s the type of road that you might drive down with your girlfriend on a nice fall day.

Though it’s traditionally a boy’s name, we liked that it sounded feminine without being too girly…that it was unique but not weird. I hadn’t looked into the meaning behind the name until a few months ago while thumbing through a baby name book at the doctor’s office. I think the definitions vary, but this particular book said that Avery meant “counselor to the elves”.

WHAT? Done and done. I think about that now every time I see her swaddled in her fairy blanket.

Meanwhile, progress in the basement continues and the finished stair no longer feels so out-of-place.

We debated different middle names, but ultimately came back to Elizabeth. It’s a family name, a classic middle name, and we liked the way it all rolled off the tongue. We held off on telling people her name (besides family) until she was born. Although Kyle may disagree with me, it was fun to have one little surprise. We also thought there was a chance she would look like a Lillian or a Hazel instead. But she didn’t.

[Also, that girl had some fingernails! I waited a few days to trim them (hence the mitts) but when I did it was easier than I expected. Easier than trimming a kitten’s claws at least.]

To make the space as bright as possible and match the rest of the house, we’re going with BM Natura paint in “super white” for the basement. Except for the doors, More on that later.

Upstairs, a lot of this has been happening. This baby likes to sleep!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we finally decided to just buy a sleeper sofa from IKEA. We’d been going back and forth between getting a real bed, a sofa bed, or keeping our comfy (but only sleeps one) couch. Since the room will be used as both a guest room and tv room, we really needed a sofa bed. Aesthetically and functionally, I thought the Karlstad would be a good choice, but we were disappointed with the sleeper sofa version. So we came up with our own IKEA hack of sorts and will share that in the next post.

More brother-sister bonding. Although we never leave Avery unattended with Bailey, we feel comfortable that he won’t try to jump on her or aggressively lick her. She’s also just not that interesting to him now, but I know that will all change before we know it.

Although originally optimistic that we could maybe somehow get the second bathroom and laundry room done in time, we soon accepted reality and only had half of the basement drywalled. I like to think that once we get the itch to start on a project again, we’ll have a nice little one downstairs, ready and waiting.

Avery isn’t quite ready for 0-3 months clothes yet, but not knowing how big she would be I cautiously only bought a few “newborn” size things – mostly little wrap tees and white onesies. I did receive this dress from a friend and remember thinking at the time how itty bitty it was.

Another thing I wanted to do pre-baby was clean up the laundry area in anticipation of an onslaught of baby laundry. Well, clearly that didn’t happen either. But y’know…it doesn’t really matter. Clothes still get cleaned and I just have to be a little more careful not to drop tiny wet baby socks on the floor.

This is our new normal and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. [Side note: the nursery layout and connection to the living area has actually worked really well for visitors. We moved the LCW in for extra seating and impromptu laundry holding.]

Finally, thank you for all your wonderful comments. Even though it took me a few days to respond, I read every single one. Speaking of, if there is one piece of gear that has been invaluable this last week it’s been my iPhone. I don’t know how new parents survived before. I text photos to family, FaceTime with my mom, moderate comments, take about a bajillion photos and even use it as a night-light to check on her in the middle of the night.

Diapers, swaddles, iPhone.

Now that we’re into our second week with a newborn, we’re feeling better adjusted to this new schedule of days broken down into 2-3 hour chunks. I also feel very fortunate that (so far) I’ve had a speedy recovery and almost full nights of sleep. I know this probably won’t last, so we’re enjoying it (and, err…finishing the basement) while we still can.

basement progress: prepping for inspections + drywall

First and foremost, thank you all so much for your sweet and comforting comments about Felix. Maybe it sounds crazy since we’ve never met most of you “in real life”, but your collective support truly helped us through this last week and we’re feeling better about what happened and are learning to focus on the happier memories.

Progress on the basement has felt like a slow burn this past month, but we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to:

Several weeks ago, Kyle poured the thin leveling slab at the bottom of the stairs. To compensate for a sloped basement floor, we decided to treat each space independently with its own floor height. This strategy maximizes the head clearance in each zone and saves us from lowering the floor throughout the entire basement.

The sewage ejector pump is in the background (with a cardboard ring around it for protection) and will eventually be part of a small closet space.

Once the slab had cured, Kyle installed more dri-core subfloor panels and moved on to framing the surrounding walls. Between the guest room and hallway, we opted for a 36″ pocket door (seen in the pocketed position above). We decided that this would provide the privacy needed while also allowing visual and acoustical “flow” for more casual use.

This is our first pocket door at chezerbey so the install took a bit longer but was fairly straight-forward once Kyle got the hang of it. Basically, the door comes as a kit. The pocket is composed of a metal and wood assembly that fits within a 2×6 framed wall.

A track at the top (mounted to the ceiling framing) and guides at the bottom allow the door to slide without swinging about all willy-nilly. The door itself is a hollow-core paint grade door with flush pocket door hardware.

For the closet and bathroom doors, we chose simple paint-grade hollow-core swinging doors. Hard to believe, but these are the only interior swinging doors in our entire house. Fancy!

The photo above illustrates the small step up to the bedroom on the right and step down to the laundry room on the left. We’ll have a simple threshold at each transition when it’s all said and done.

Bad remodel humor. I apologize. (This is just a note to the drywallers that we need a butt strip at this location to flush everything out.)

The closet housing the sewage ejector pump will also provide access to the storage area under the mudroom. We still have to install the inlet and outlet pipes from the pump, so the closet will probably be best suited for vertical storage (like our vacuum, which has never had a real home).

Did you know our house only had 9 windows total when we moved in? Yeah, this will be number 13 (not counting the mudroom or 4 skylights). We wanted some form of natural light in the basement bathroom, but due to existing vent pipes we were limited to the future shower wall.

So we went as big as we could.

Kyle carefully worked around the new landscaping to install the window. Because the window would be in the shower and exposed to water, we went with an Andersen (100 Series) fiberglass window. The outside is the same dark brown as our other windows, but the inside is a white fiberglass finish that will stand up to moisture. For privacy, we chose an obscure glass finish.

The existing dryer vent had to be removed and relocated a few more inches away. The existing hole will be patched and Kyle plans to salvage some of the cedar shingles that were attached to the removed wall panel.

To allow space for the venting and larger plumbing lines, Kyle framed out a furring wall with an airspace behind (there’s a 4×4 PT ledger behind the top plate). This will create an extra deep sill at the window, perfect for storing shampoo, soap, etc. (Kyle still has to frame out the other walls, but this is far as he got today.)

We have framing and electrical inspections scheduled for tomorrow morning (just for the bedroom and hallway) and if those go well we’ll finish insulating tomorrow night before sheetrock starts on Tuesday! We’re using the same recycled denim insulation that we’ve used throughout the rest of the house.

While things are coming together in one half of the basement, chaos ensues elsewhere. Our garage (and backyard in general) continues to act as a lumber yard and workshop…

…and the laundry area has been overtaken with tools and materials. My biggest challenge lately has been to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer without dropping anything on the floor (wet clothes = sawdust magnet). While the laundry room probably won’t be done by the time we’re waist-high in baby laundry, I’m optimistic that the power tools and 15+ containers of fasteners will at least be gone.

Let’s be real people – this is what happens during a remodel. To make matters worse, we have effectively backed ourselves into the remaining unfinished portion of our basement, which is comparable to a large closet. So this evening, we took about an hour to organize and move stuff around to restore sanity and prepare for the drywall delivery tomorrow.

…much better!

Still a bit chaotic yes, but more organized chaos. To maximize our work area, Kyle is waiting to frame the rest of the bathroom wall until we absolutely need to. After the basement is done, I think our next big project might be to organize and purge the garage and carport. It is amazing what two people can accrue over 6 years.

So that’s where we’re at. Kyle has been working weeknights and all weekend in the basement and that pattern will likely continue this week. Fortunately, baby Zerbey seems comfortable where she’s at (phew!), but it’s still going to be a race to get things done in time. Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t be savoring our last days of being DINKs in other ways, like going to a concert or a movie on a whim or out to a fancy restaurant without any pre-planning. Then again, I’ve heard that spontaneous two-person remodeling will also be a luxury of the past so we should just enjoy it right? Ahh yes, the freedom to do manual labor late into the night, frequent 4 hardware stores in one day and subside solely on coffee and PB&Js. Yeah, we may be going from one crazy lifestyle to another, but we’re so ready.

we’re getting there

On Saturday afternoon I was in the parking garage of Seattle Children’s Hospital getting our car seat installation checked out when Kyle called to talk about insulation for the basement. Hunched over in the backseat with my phone propped against my ear, I realized that this is a pretty accurate representation of our lives lately. We both have our to-do lists and are tackling them with a certain frantic zeal, not really knowing if we have 2 or 22 days before the littlest Zerbey joins our family.

The good news – I installed the car seat correctly and our basement bedroom is now filled with bags of insulation. So we’re getting there.

We’ll be back next week with a healthy basement update, but for now a couple of recent Instagram photos.

Kyle snapped this one last Wednesday (at about 36 weeks). The animals are completely clueless. I love it.

Also on last weekend’s to-do list was a much-needed grooming appointment for Mr. Bails. Quite the dapper dog, even with a severe case of the Mondays.

Happy 4th everyone!

basement progress: electrical + subfloor

I’m just going to say it – June in Seattle is depressing. While the rest of the country is swimming, sunning and generally embracing summer, we’re still wearing sweaters and crossing our fingers that our tomato plants don’t keel over due to lack of sun. (The joke is that summer in Seattle doesn’t start until after the 4th of July and that’s usually about right.) But, if there’s a silver lining to the gray permacloud at least it makes it easier to work in the basement.

So with the crappy weather on our side, last weekend was a productive one and Kyle was able to finish the framing and electrical and get started on the subfloor. 

For a small project like this, we just talked through where we would want outlets, switches and fixtures instead of producing an electrical plan. Our main goal was to come up with a layout that would provide the most flexibility whether the space is being used as a TV room or bedroom. Because of our short ceiling height, the biggest challenge to figure out was lighting. Obviously, you don’t want anything hanging down and recessed cans wouldn’t work with our exposed joists. So the plan is to install a couple of wall sconces (you can see the round electrical box for one in the photo above) that flank what will eventually be a built-in media/storage unit. 

Kyle also framed out the little closet that contains the sewage ejector pump and access to our under-the-mudroom storage.

To make the space feel taller we’re leaving the joists exposed but the actual detail is a bit trickier. Unlike our living room ceiling, in the basement we have to contend with all the exposed nails coming through the subfloor from the old oak floors above (that are now covered with plywood and cork). Our solution was to furr down with 2×4’s and then attach sheetrock to that. Finally, we’ll sand up the joists a bit and then paint everything super white.

Here’s a shot looking back the other direction. Above the window, we’ll have a soffit with three recessed cans. There is likely to be a couch or bed against this wall so a little direct lighting made sense. The round electrical box in the foreground is for a smoke detector (required in every bedroom!) and the rectangular duct goes to the nursery above. When we had our new furnace and ductwork installed nearly 4 years ago, we had a feeling this space would eventually get finished out and made sure that any ductwork was as minimal as possible (same goes for the electrical, which is run only along the perimeter where it will be covered).

On the opposite wall Kyle roughed in power, data and cable. The TV/DVD/Xbox are in the living room for now, but the plan is to eventually move everything downstairs. I’m hesitant to use the words “media room” or “man cave” but we do see this room as a cozy space to watch movies.

Poor Bails, spending his weekend watching Kyle work. He might be the only dog that willingly will nap next to an air compressor.

Before the weekend was over, Kyle also got started on the Dri-Core subfloor (he’s actually installing the last pieces as I type). The 2’x2′ panels are comprised of a layer of OSB over a black dimpled plastic. Even though we installed a moisture barrier under the new topping slab, the plastic backing provides an airspace and keeps any water that might find its way in from coming up through the floor.

The panels have a tongue and groove slot on all four sides so they click together and form a floating floor system. They can be easily cut on a table saw and the whole process took a couple of hours max. At the edges, Kyle used wood shims to hold the panels away from the wall (to compensate for any future expansion and contraction).

For a snug fit, he whacked each panel in place using a few 2x’s and a mallet. (It’s hard to tell in the photos, but the seams are staggered for a more uniform installation.)

At the edges, he used a pry bar pushed against the sill plate to ensure a tight fit.

Naturally, Bailey was on hand to supervise. (I know, he is SUPER shaggy right now and is going to the groomer on Saturday!)

“A little to the left dad…hey, watch my paws!”

Kyle finished the subfloor tonight so the next step will be to frame the rest of the small hallway at the bottom of the stairs and pour a leveling slab. This weekend he’ll insulate and install the interior doors and then we’ll be ready for inspections and sheetrock. My mom has a feeling that zerbebe will come a week early and she tends to be right about these things so no dilly-dallying for us.  

[Random side note – we were in the basement tonight hashing out a few details when Kyle nonchalantly tossed a pry bar on the floor. The sound made zerbebe jump, which is the first time that’s happened. Better get used to that kiddo.  =) ]