Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Down Under


I finally got around to painting the patches on the  basement wall, where we had had a water leak from the now replaced sliding door in the dining room above it.  It has only taken me the better part of a year to get around to painting over the repair.  

Since the walls have now been repainted and the kids have all gone away for the summer, I took the opportunity to deep-clean the basement, wiping down baseboards, washing the floor, vacuuming under everything etc.  And then of course since it looked so nice I thought I would take you on a tour. 

We had the basement finished three summers ago and have thoroughly enjoyed having the extra space.  The first thing we did, prior to having the basement finished, was have a larger hole cut in the foundation and a window about twice as big as the previous one installed.  It has made a huge difference in the amount of light coming into the room.  The sunlight pours in until about noon time, and since this is the only window in the family room, it was well worth the money.

We let Kate have a big say in decorating this room and she wanted something younger and more modern feeling.  She chose the turquoise colour for the walls and then we went to IKEA and bought orange accents in the area rug, runner, and the wall decorations (more about that later).  We only painted the walls in the TV area turquoise so it wouldn't be too overwhelming for a basement room. 

When you go downstairs and turn to the left there was a small area that I had the builder make a recess and hubby built shelves to hold the DVDs.  We have a rather large collection and they no longer fit neatly on the shelves, but at least they are relatively contained.  The painting on the cabinet was done by my grandmother at our cottage.

Then looking right from the bottom of the stairs, you can see the family room past the piano and the foosball table. 

 The foosball table was given to us by good friends of ours when they downsized and gets a lot of use whenever the kids have friends over.  We just happened to have the right size area for it between the piano and the laundry room.

We didn't have the sofa at the time we finished the basement, but my parents gave it to us last year when they were changing things around at their house.  Fortunately it works with the colours we already had used and is fantastically comfortable.

I made the wall art using a very inexpensive duvet cover from IKEA (something like $20), which I cut into squares and stapled to art canvases.

The TV is sitting on a radio-record player console that my uncle bought in the 1960s.   The TV and DVD player fit perfectly on top and it helps add that mid-century modern touch.  Argh - all I see in that photo are all the wires hanging out below - what do you do with all the wires?

I added a little giraffe that my grandmother brought back from Zambia when she taught there in the 1970s.  I love the contrast of the rustic giraffe outline against the turquoise wall.

Kate and I went to a Pier 1 outlet store and found this unusual table with four cushions that you store underneath it.  It often gets pulled apart so everyone can sit around the table and sip their tea or play cards.

And looking back toward the piano and foosball table.  The door behind the sofa leads to William's bedroom, which hubby and I built about 7 years ago.  We had never built anything before but just bought a book and built his room.  It was a ton of work but we were very proud of ourselves.  We would have built more of the family room part of the basement but we needed it done quickly, so we had to hire someone to do it for us.

We hung a series of three black-and-white photos of New York City from the 1950s over the piano. 

Yep books and more books, always more books.  Our movers told us they had never moved so many books before and it is sometimes a challenge to fit them all onto shelves.

That about wraps up the basement tour.  Behind the four closed doors are William's bedroom, a furnace/storage room, a storage room, and the laundry room (which you can see pictures of here, along with some shots of how the basement looked before it was finished - yikes).  

How about a game of foosball before you go? 


  1. My teenagers would absolutely love a basement room like this Grace - fantastic! And how clever of you and your hubby to just whip up a bedroom! Great post, and btw, your kitchen looks fantastic too! K xx

  2. Wow Grace, my whole townhouse would fit in your basement! When you titled your post down under, I thought you were going to tell us you were coming to Australia! And you built a bedroom! Genius! Wanna come down under really and build one here. The 22 year old shows no signs of leaving and I want my studio room back!! I really like all the personal touches, the books, the old photos, the family's all wonderful.

  3. Oh I wish we had a basement. Even though we live at the southern end of "tornado alley", basements are not common at all in Texas. That is such a great space. Love the art (all of it) and the cabinet your grandmother's painting is on.

  4. We rent out our basement so we do not have one like yours :(...basement envy...sigh.
    Very nice!

  5. Oh...I want a finished basement.

    I guess I'd have to have a basement first.

    Basements are rare in California.

  6. I love your basement! The turquoise on the walls and the pops of orange...lovely! I like the blonde floors makes it look light and fresh. Don't you love full size windows in the basement? We have 3 in this house and they make a huge difference in the light!

  7. Re: Your comment on my blog. A digital frame for my Grandmother..great idea! Never thought of that!
    Wish we weren't separared by a couple of provinces... I would come over and help you paint...or at least be the golfer to make lunch and serve cold drinks!

  8. Wow Grace, you are quite the busy bee these days, and "always" from the looks of all of the wonderful work you've done to your basement! What a great place to hang out as a family and I love all of the family pieces, like the giraffe from Africa and the painting done by your grandmother that you've incorporated into your family room!

    Kat :)

  9. What a great basement Grace! I miss having a basement, our former parsonage had one, it gives you so much more room. I love your wall art in the family. You are so creative!!! Thanks for sharing.