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Basement Update #21

We need to have a talk about how long this is taking.  We're now 19 months into our renovation that I thought would take 6 months.  It probably would have taken 2-3 months if we hired it out.  In June, the time of our last update, I told Katrina it would be done by the beginning of December so we could have a Christmas party to celebrate finishing the basement.  Unless the basement renovation fairy visits us in the next two weeks, the basement will definitely NOT be done by then.

In the past, blowing through a deadline was the result of severely underestimating how long things would take.  This time, it was a complete lack of motivation...  I was a basement renovation machine in March, April, and May.  I worked 20-30 hours a week on top of a full time job to get everything done for drywall.  Then once drywall was done, I was totally burned out.  I hated, hated, hated, working on the basement.  Unfortunately, Katrina hates, hates, hates having the basement half-finished.  All I can say is it's a good thing we love each other.

Over the last few months I trained for and completed my first triathlon!  It was a great break from the basement but I still managed to get some work done along the way.  Lately my motivation has picked back up and I'm back in basement mode!  Here's what we've done since June:

  • Cleaned up all the drywall and returned the 10 extra sheets we had.  Turns out it's an ordeal to move 15 foot long sheets of drywall.
  • Primed the walls and painted the ceiling in the living room.
  • Cut old 1920s doors down to size to fit in our doorways.
  • Installed the jams and doors.  Note to self, next time buy pre-hung doors or hire this out, I've never sworn so much.
  • Brought the TV down to the basement and installed all the home theater stuff.  Minus the Wii - we'll tell you our plan for that later.
  • Built our Karlstad sectional/chase/ottomans.  Katrina was the muscles on this project.  Give her an Ikea box and instructions and she's in her happy place!
  • Put flooring down in the storage room and moved a bunch of our stuff from storage to... our storage room.
  • Designed and labored on built-in cabinets and shelves - hours and hours of fun.
  • Put in outlets on the first floor and powered them up.
  • Put together a nursery. What?  Yes.  This needs it's own post.  We are not expecting our own child but are planning on having children in our home very soon!

This post is useless without pictures

Agreed.  Put your shoes on, we're going on a tour.

Come down the stairs and look to the left.  Here's our laundry room!

Excuse the mess, Katrina's in the middle of doing laundry and a lot of the stuff that will end up in cabinets or in our built-ins is piled up in here at the moment.

Head back the way we were going, here are our beautiful doors.  They look all beat up right now but we're going to sand them and paint them eventually.

Check out our storage room.

That's the flooring (Allure by TrafficMaster - Dark Walnut) that will be everywhere when the basement's done.  Speaking of flooring, it's all bought and piled up in the Bathroom right now.

Don't go in there.  We need to save up for the in-floor heating, tile, and toilet so we're not going to touch it until the rest of the basement is finished.  The shower works, though, if you're desperate.

Moving on.

There's our Karlstad (not named Karl) and you can see the built-ins in the background.

There's a better view, make yourself at home.  Like our rug?  You can get it at Home Depot in the tarp section. :)

Here's how the TV wall is looking.

The speakers are in now but we still need to cover the entire thing with acoustical cloth and cover it with trim.

Here's the bedroom.

This has turned into the wood shop and usually has my table saw, miter saw, router, and circular saw but I put them all away for Thanksgiving.  I left the pile of scrap wood in the closet since there's nowhere else for it to go.

Speaking of my scrap wood, check out the built-ins I made.

They took forever to make so if you don't like them, please don't say anything.  We need to get some doors for the cabinets below and then we'll paint everything white- except the counter top and the strip of wood above the cabinet but below the shelves.  I'm going to stain that dark brown like our kitchen cart which will also match the stain on the wood behind the TV.   I'm not sure what we're going to put in the opening eventually.  Probably not those ottomans.  We're thinking a place to sit and read for kids or a little play stage.  Oh, and we're going to put crown molding around this room that will cover the gap above the cabinets.

Turn around for a better view of the couch area on your way out.  The glory of so much seating!

It looks kind of bland right now but the plan is to put board and batten on the walls and paint the top half some soft of gray. Plus the crown molding will give it more architectural interest!

That's about it!  It's come a long way since the last update:

We still have a long way to go.  Katrina's done giving deadlines, so we're just taking it day by day and trying to be flexible yet productive and enjoy the other parts of our house and life too!

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Basement Update – Drywall!

We never did get good pictures of just the drywall on the walls.  The basement was a disaster right after it was hung and we moved on pretty quickly to making piles of wood, doors, sawdust, and left over drywall.  By the time we cleared out all the clutter, the walls were already primed and we were on to different projects.

We did manage to get a few blurry cell phone pics.  They're mostly updates Katrina texted to me while I was at work and too impatient to wait till I got home from work to see progress!  Here are a couple "along the way" pictures of drywall going up.

Ceiling is up!

Living room looking west

Living room looking east



Bathroom with mold-resistant purple board

Laundry room - they used some left over purple board behind the washer and dryer!


Hanging, mudding, and taping the drywall is one of the jobs we hired out.  It definitely cost more than DIY but it looks 100x better than I could have done and it was finished in a week!  They even patched some of the plaster I had cut open to get some electrical in the stairwell.  We're super happy with the work, if you need a quote, let us know and we'll send you their info!

So what have we done in the last 5 months??  Check back in the next few days for up-to-date pics of the basement :)  Hopefully....

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Moving 4,280 Pounds of Drywall

Exciting news, we bought and hung drywall.... 5 months ago :(  Sorry for waiting so long to tell you.  Its not you, it's me.

The general contractor we've been working with... I realized we've never said who, it's Dube Construction and I'd recommend them to anyone in the Minneapolis/metro area - email us for their number!  Anyway, the general contractor we've been working with has been great and has encouraged us to DIY as much as possible so we can save money on the renovation.  For drywall, he suggested buying the drywall ourselves and carrying it into the basement.  I was all aboard since I have a personal rule against paying skilled laborers (drywall hangers) to do manual labor (walking up and down stairs with drywall, in this case).

Our contractor suggested buying 4x12 sheets which makes it easier on the drywall installers and ends up costing less because there are less seams to mud and tape.  We were a little skeptical that a 4x12 sheet would fit down our stairs so Katrina and I went to Home Depot to buy one sheet as a test to see if it would fit.  We needed to rent a truck to get some 4x8 sheets of plywood anyway, so we threw the drywall on as well.  And by 'throw' I mean,  'were barely able to lift the drywall onto the truck since it was so heavy'.  A guy who was standing around the loading dock offered to "save a marriage" by helping Katrina lift her end.  (We may have been bickering under the weight.)   When we got the drywall home it was clear we weren't going to be able to carry it anywhere so we left it on our side walk for a couple hours until our contractor stopped by to pick something up.  The two of us were able to carry it and it fit down the stairs - barely.  Here's the monster sheet in our basement.

I ordered the 68 sheets we needed for drywall, 60 of them being 4' x 12' super long sheets of drywall and found out the heaviest ones (like the one Katrina and I brought home) weigh over 100 pounds each.  Yikes.  For some reason I assumed they were like 20 pounds each and we would just carry them in.  I asked how much Home Depot would charge to carry the drywall into the basement instead of just dropping it on the curb.... $850.  That was not happening.  Luckily 7 spectacular friends agreed to help in exchange for beer and lunch.

I ended up ordering through Lowe's because their prices were slightly cheaper and I could get an additional 5% off with my Lowe's card.  I was hoping they could deliver it the morning my friends were available to help carry it but they were all booked that day.  It had to be delivered the day before... and it was supposed to rain that night.  While drywall can get wet it shouldn't sit out in a rain storm so I had to come up with a way to keep it dry.  I decided to buy some large tarps to wrap the drywall in a water-tight package over night.  The only problem - I couldn't get the tarps until the morning the drywall was delivered.  Ugg.  The drywall was supposed to be delivered sometime in the morning but I wasn't sure exactly what time.  I was hoping I'd be able to wake up, buy the tarps, and lay one on the ground before they dropped the drywall off.  Here's how that morning went down:

7:15 am - Wake up to the sound of a big truck outside our window.  CRAP!  Is drywall here already?  Nope just a big dumpster being dropped off by my curb.  (It turned out to be for a neighbor getting their roof re-done)

7:30 am - Now I'm up getting ready to leave for the store when a delivery truck pulls up out front.  I walk out and ask the driver if he's dropping off drywall.  Nope, he's dropping off shingles for my neighbor.  Ok, well I better get my butt to the store before MY truck comes.

8:30 am - Back from the store, cut the wood I bought in half to keep the drywall off the ground.  About 10 minutes after I got home another truck shows up to our front door.  This time for us!

The driver was great about dropping off the drywall onto my little tarp tent and stacking the loads.  I have to give him props for his fork lift driving skills.

We folded this tarp upward and covered the whole things with a second tarp.  We were slightly worried someone might try to steal it until we remembered the weight and the likelihood that anyone would drive up to our house with a forklift and truck in the middle of the night.  It did rain all night but our tarps held up and the drywall stayed safe.

The next day my brave friends came over to help carry the sheets down one at a time.

We perfected the process but that doesn't mean it ever got easier!

We had to grab a sheet...

Haul it up the stairs...

Rotate around in the porch...

Work it down the stairs...


And put it in the pile.

A couple hours later, the deed was done!  We had a big pile of drywall and everything was ready to go for the pros to get to work.  I owe my friends a huge debt of gratitude!!!!

Next up... hanging drywall.  The fastest change to the basement since demolition!


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