Sunday, October 25, 2015

          From Dreadful to Dreamy

  Halloween being next week lead me to discussing that place of childhood nightmares, the basement. My nightmare involved some unknown force attempted to drag me into the depths of its darkness by way of a strong vacuum-like wind. I am sure I am not alone when I recall moments of fear concerning our basement. I can remember challenging myself by turning off the light st the bottom of the stairs and racing up them, all the while fearing something was going to reach of of the darkness and grab me.

     Often a basement is just a subterranean space below your home that usually is dimly lit, sometimes damp, and home to all kinds of creepy crawly bugs. It is used as a additional storage space, a place that is utilitarian and not a place to hang out. You throw your belongings or seasonal decorations down there and shut off the light and, admit it, get the heck out of there as quickly as possible.

  It is possible to transform this into a beautiful space but, obviously lots of work needs to be done to make that happen. You may have the know how to address these issues but, obviously it will require the will and cash to do it. Of course there are also plenty of professionals who can do it for you as well. It can potentially be very expensive. The thing to consider though is it will expand the livable and usable  square footage of your home dramatically.

  As you can see from this photo, if you neglect to address your excessive dampness first it can cause all kinds of damage and extra work and obviously more cash.  It is also noteworthy that mold can be a major health risk so if you have a area of mold larger than 10 square feet you should contact professionals to clean it up. If you are lucky you don't need to worry about anything more than a dehumidifier to deal with this since there is no major source of water or you can change the grading around your foundation to slope away from the house. You may need to contact a professional to take on the problem.
   Framing out your basement leaves you with more choices. The fact that your basement is home to your houses mechanical equipment means you have to frame around these vents, pipes and beams. This can be painfully obvious when deciding on how to finish your basements ceiling. The easy and logical solution is a drop ceiling. Albeit it is not nearly as attractive as a dry-walled one, the practicality of it is you have ready access to your plumbing should a problem arise. If you opt for the drywall, make sure there are access panels to shut-offs and drain traps.

  The next decision you need to make is whether you want to include a toilet in your basement. If you choose the traditional method on the left, the floor needs to be cut/broken into and the plumbing installed. The problem with this is, unless you want a long trench cut into your floor for drainage to your main stack you are limited in where your bathroom can be placed.
  The picture on the right is a newer idea that eliminates the need to break up the concrete and allow you to place your toilet anywhere you have access to an electrical source and you can run some piping. These systems are new but they work like a charm and its very obvious why they are a very appealing option.
 Carefully consider electrical outlet placement, cable, internet accesses and lighting if you are doing this yourself or share you thoughts with your contractor.

    Now time to pick a flooring option. You of course could just choose to paint the concrete and be done with it. The advantage with this is you need not worry about any spills or possible limited water intrusion. An indoor/outdoor carpeting is another choice or wood flooring and even tile. Regardless of your choice of floor covering, I would opt for a good underlayment like the one pictured. The dimpled rubber layer allows for any dampness that does happen to get in to dry due to the air flow underneath. This would also make a slightly warmer floor possible compared to bare concrete.

   This is a huge undertaking and can have costs run into the tens of thousands depending on how you finish it. Even if you have the knowledge and will to do this project it will be expensive and time consuming. The bottom line though is you will have a huge return in so much as way more livable space in your home. A place where your kids can play or where you can entertain. Then there is the fact that it will increase the value of your home.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

                      Your Personal Oasis

Everyone can relate to when you have a long stressful day there is something therapeutic about a hot shower or better yet,a warm bath. We shed our worries and burdens as we shed our clothes.
Our liberated feet are soothed as they tread on a heated floor and/or a soft bathroom rug.
 You feel yourself melting into the water. Stretching your legs and leaning back. Listening to some soothing music and maybe enjoying a glass of your favorite vino. You wash all the problems of the day away and give much needed rest to your mind.

It is no wonder that bathrooms, along with kitchens, offer the highest returns when selling a home if updated. This is not only because their utilitarian nature. This is also attributed to the fact that as a kitchen makes nourishing our bodies possible, a well designed bathroom provides nourishment for our souls. The well needed and deserved oasis of tranquility in a crazy rat race world.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

New home

                            New Home

There is something exhilarating about walking into a empty room of  your new home or apartment with your paint sample cards in hand. It is like a blank canvas waiting for a brush stroke to be applied.

Then your imagination begins to picture a scene of beautiful furnishings perfectly arranged for aesthetics and traffic flow. You mentally try different configurations and try and imagine the overall feel of each one.

Accents are the final piece of the puzzle. Beautiful artwork that ties in seamlessly with the color scheme, personal pictures that spark fond memories, kick-knacks of all shapes and sizes, throw pillows for the upholstery. It is all in place in your minds eye, now it need to created in your room.

 Time to roll up your sleeves and do the grunt work. Roll the walls, place the furnishings, and hang the pictures and accents. All that is lacking is the final ingredient that turns a dream into reality, sweat and hard work. Not at all glamorous but, every thing that is worth anything requires hard work.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Creating a room your child will love

        Creating a room your child will love

I remember my bedroom growing up as a boring place that I did not really hang out in except when it was time for bed. The one piece of furniture I did love was our bunk bed and I am sure my parents loved that they could fit both my brother and I comfortably in our small room and have room for other furnishings.

I think its the novelty of being high off the ground when sleeping up top, or if you were in the bottom bunk, you could easily create a fort by hanging blankets all the way around. I have seen some really cool bunk beds that not only spark those memories but, also make me wish I was a child again. Being a parent myself of a toddler, I am sure I will be living vicariously through my son with this bunk bed.

This bed features are essentially a whole rooms furnishings in one piece. It has a bookcase, shelving, a built-in ladder and a lighted hutch at the desk on the side not pictured. The ladder is also built-in and the upper bunk features a safety rail. I wish I had one of these when I was a kid.

Making a house into a home

                 Making a house into a home

 The choices in your furnishings and decor can transform a mere house into your home. The furnishings and accents you pick out collectively announce your ownership of your space. It changes a structure of wood, brick, and various building materials into a inviting sanctuary that you long to return to daily.

 We all can reminisce of our childhood where we ran home from school. Of course we were driven to see our families but, additionally there were the familiar scents, colors, and comforting furnishings. Nothing like coming home on a cold, dreary fall day to family, brightly lit rooms, and the aroma of a meal being prepared.

 This whole experience was made possible because our parents had invested time and thought into the decor and furnishings to make that house into a home, in addition to building and nurturing
relationships. Homes are not buildings but places that we take on daily life, share laughter, rest in order to face every new days challenges, and build fond memories that last a lifetime.