Spring has finally sprung – and I’ve been loving every warm minute of it! I’ve spent hours out in the garden mulching with compost, sprinkling kelp on my beds, planting carrots and lettuce and peas and spring onions. The kids and I have dug errant strawberry plants and stray weeds out of the paths and laid wood chips thickly in the paths. I love having a huge pile of wood chips left over from all the trees we cut down last year to enlarge our arena. When my pile is gone I do believe I’ll buy a small, used chipper so I can always have a supply on hand!
But all this glorious spring garden work comes only after a long – almost interminable – winter. Our attention was occupied for the bulk of it with a renovation project I mentioned right before Christmas. Our basement used to look like this:
But through careful planning, lots of research, and much patience, we have divided it up into three smaller rooms. The front is a finished family room. We have spent a lot of time down here in front of the stone fireplace, but I will admit that it has heretofore been a pretty dismal place to spend time. The owners who built the house in 2000 “semi-finished” the basement by installing ceiling tiles, wood posts around the poles that jack up the foundation, some really ugly carpet, and they finished it off by painting the walls a purple-gray and hanging a huge mural-poster of Hawaii on one wall. The mural was okay. But the carpet and the walls combined to really dampen the colors in the stone fireplace, and dampen our spirits as well.
Nevertheless, this was where we watched our Netflix. (No cable or satellite TV here, folks. I don’t really need an excuse to waste any more time than I already do! <grin>). I really wanted someplace to keep all of our craft/hobby/gift-wrap/extra-office stuff – like the printer and a table for collating and mailing things for work. I also really wanted a big, clear area dedicated to our various athletic pursuits: Weight machine, treadmill, Jesse’s CycleOps which hooks his road bike up so he can practice indoors in bad weather – and a clear space for us girls to do our yoga and kick-boxing. I hate having all that stuff just shoved into one great big room. It feels, well, like a basement that way.
So all down the middle we added a wall:
And we separated off the end portion of the front half with another wall so we would have a small work/craft/hobby room. And when it was all finished, the front half, which is the new family room, looks like this:
And at the far end of the Family Room, I got a super bargain on some used cabinets I found on craigslist (one of my favorite places to shop!) which we installed to hold all of our art, sewing, craft, and gift wrapping stuff, as well as all of our printer supplies. It’s not quite done. Some stained and protected pine boards are waiting in the workshop part of the basement to be installed as countertop over the lower cabinets still.
We managed to jerry-rig the cabinets to fit our new space, and I bought baskets to serve as drawers. We’ll leave a little slot in the back of the countertop to store all that gift wrap close at hand.
And finally, in the back, which I had previously abandoned as a place of despair, with years worth of school records, gardening info, art supplies, toys, and all sorts of miscellany I just didn’t want to think about, I am just about done sorting and stowing the goods so we have full use of our new workout space:
Note that I completely eradicated the purple-gray that once brought despair to the eyes of the beholders with cheerful, energetic yellow for pumping us with energy when it’s time to work out. And in the other two rooms I chose relaxing, peaceful colors that promote rest and comfort rather than a “Help! Get me out of here!” kind of feeling.
So, with no farm projects over the winter, we took to improving our living quarters. I hope for many happy times and good memories made in these rooms in the time to come!
What did you do over the winter?