One of the big selling features of buying this house was the finished basement. In Charlotte, it is an extremely rare thing to find a house with a basement (only houses built on a slope have them) but in Denver it is hard to find a house without one. Since Patrick and I did not want to shell out a bunch of money to have someone finish our basement for us, (and we’re not handy enough to do that kind of work on our own) it was key to find one that was already done well. There were a few houses that we liked, but the basements were dealbreakers—not only did we want one that was finished well, but we wanted a basement that had a bedroom and a full bathroom for the many many people who are going to come and stay with us (hint hint), in addition to a large open space that could be used for an entertainment/workout/play room area. So when we saw this basement for the first time, it had us at “hello.” It had all of the things on our wish list!
The movers came on August 10, 2010, and here is the basement playroom area just 3 days later, after I had gotten all of the girls toys unpacked.
It looked okay, but still needed some help. I called the basement The Tan Explosion because as you might have noticed, EVERYTHING down there was tan—the carpet, the walls, the ceiling, and even all the bathroom tile—so that was something that was driving me crazy. Also, not shown in the picture above is the TV area, but if you wanted to watch TV in there, you had to sit on the floor. I fixed that problem last November when I picked out the sectional. I also would love to do some built in cupboards on either side of that window in place of the storage solutions we currently have—something like the two pictures below, except all the shelves would be covered by doors so that I don’t have to look at all the puzzles and toys when they’re put away.
I’m not sure when the storage issue will be taken care of, but a few months ago, I finally got around to doing some painting and it looks SO much better without the tan craziness going on everywhere. I chose a color called Tempered Gray by Valspar. (It’s actually the same color I painted our master bathroom but it definitely reads differently in the dark basement versus our bathroom that is flooded with light from the window and skylight.) So here are some pictures with our newly painted walls (and ceiling) and the cozy sectional that we just LOVE.
I had a really hard time getting good before and after comparisons because the “befores” are all from the real estate listing pictures and are taken with a wide-angle camera lens. . . which unfortunately I do NOT have. My phone camera gets wider angles than the lens I have for my nice camera, which is why the “afters” are all pretty crappy!
Open Area: After
Our little exercise area hides (you can’t even see it, right?) behind the sectional. We had our bike in our family room in Charlotte and I always hated that it had to be in our main floor living space, so this is a big improvement!
Unfortunately the phone pictures don’t do a great job of showing what a dramatic change the paint color made, but just trust me on this one—it looks so much brighter down there and the white on the ceiling makes it feel taller!
I painted the bathroom a very pale green called Green Highland by Valspar.
Here is the guest room, which I painted an off-white color since it is a tiny room with lower ceilings that doesn’t get a ton of light (don’t know the name of the paint color cuz I found it in a pile of paint cans left by the sellers). The biggest difference was painting the ceiling white—it made the room feel so much less like a cave!
And finally, across from the bathroom door are these two “overflow pantry storage” closets (the two doors on the left of this picture). The tiny cabinets on the right are small linen cupboards for the bathroom since there are no cabinets in the bathroom itself. The door in the middle leads to a large unfinished space that we use for seasonal decorations, bins of clothes awaiting someone to grow into them again, clothes waiting their fate in a consignment shop, things waiting for a home in the rest of the house, possible projects, and more food storage.
That completes the official basement tour. It is still a work in progress—not sure when we’ll get around to the play area storage cabinets, and I haven’t even come close to deciding what to hang on the walls yet—but so far it is meeting all of our expectations of what our new basement would be. Hooray!
Now when you come visit us, you’ll feel right at home staying down there since you know exactly what your accommodations will be! It’s no palace, but it’s comfortable and cozy!