Basement Update-Sectional

The sectional for our basement living room was delivered last week.  We are completely pleased with it.  It fits the space well and is very comfortable.  Its the Luxora Bisque from the Ashley Home Store.  (This post is not sponsored)

I’m trying to decide if we need a coffee table.  I’m afraid a table will make it look cluttered.  What do you think?

Just to remind you what this area looked like before:

The blue sofa is the Pottery Barn Basic sleeper sofa.  It is a very comfortable sleeper.  I plan to buy a new slipcover (not from PB, though) and give the sofa to my son.  Anyway, you can tell from this picture that the sofa did not fill up the space very well.  So I added this hodge podge of chairs that had no other home.  The basement was a repository for old forlorn furniture.

I still love my new walls down here..  For more about this renovation go here.  They are so perfect I don’t want to put any nail holes in them.  I’m still figuring out the other side of this room.

I used to say that I didn’t want to spend money on the basement because we never came down here.  But now that it has been updated and painted I do want to spend time here.   Lesson learned:  you will want to use rooms that are fresh and pretty and inviting.

Do you have rooms full of tired old furniture?

Carpet Runner Fail

Carpet Runner Fail

Maybe the purpose of this blog is for me to make all the mistakes. Then, from a position of authority, I can warn you away from costly decorating errors. Read on for a cautionary tale of what to do and not do when you decide to carpet your stairs.  Mostly what not to do.

I have been planning to carpet the stairs to the basement for  years, but this project always took a back seat to other more prominent needs.  But, recently  I took down old paneling in the basement and saw the huge improvement there, which motivated me to  keep going.   I found a reliable and competent handyman who could do the job and I had some house guests coming.  The timing seemed fortuitous.  I’m all about timing.

I found this bright and jazzy runner at Wayfair.  Wayfair, as you probably know, has more selection than anyone has time to look at.  But I spent a weekend poring over all the choices. The runners that were predominately red really attracted me so I narrowed my search by color.  I kept going back to this red chevron and I still really like it.

So what’s the problem you ask?  Well, these stairs have a landing at the bottom, a turn to the left.  Landings require some piecing and  maneuvering and matching.  If only I had known that during those hours of looking at carpet runners.

It’s kind of funky isn’t it?  My first reaction was No, I didn’t just see that.  The installer did not consult with me about how this was to be done, not that I would have known.   I have tendency to leave workmen to do their jobs and not hover.  As he was showing me the completed work he explained why he had pieced it in this manner.  It boiled down to “not a lot of options”.

I think it looks better from this angle.  You do too, right?

At first I was thinking “rip it out and start over”.  But, honestly, I’ve gotten used to it.  And I still like this pattern.

Even with that issue, I am glad I finally installed carpet.  The stairs are  transitional space that prepare you for the next room.  Before it felt as if you were descending into a dungeon.   Now, the red color and the pattern give you a sense that you are entering a fun and playful space, one where you might want to spend some time.

I hardly even notice that weird fusion anymore.  Really, I don’t.

  But you might want to think about how your runner pattern will match up if you have a landing on your stairs.

Basement Living Room Update

Basement Living Room Update

Those who have been following me may remember that last fall I noticed a water issue in our basement bedroom.  Yes, water was definitely seeping into the walls and the carpet in this room.  We have had water issues in the basement before and have installed a waterproofing system where a company comes in and installs a french drain and a sump pump.  However, we added on to our home, including a basement bedroom, but we stupidly did not extend the waterproofing to this area.  We thought some of our outdoor landscaping would mitigate but it did not.

Anyway, we had the waterproofing company return and take care of the issue.  In so doing, they remove drywall.  So, when I had the drywall installers come, I had them do some long needed work in another part of my basement, the living room.  Previously I had old dated paneling in this area.

I have wanted to have that old paneling removed for so long.  Once I had the professionals in to take care of the bedroom I got an estimate for removing this paneling, extending the TV wall 4 feet and painting this entire room.  Mr. DB and I agreed the cost was  reasonable and we gave the go-ahead.

This is a picture of the wall that we extended 4 feet, enabling the TV to be centered across from the sofa.

This short wall forced the furniture placement to be crammed into one end of the room.  That just threw everything off and made me give up.  Side note:  This room has looked worse. Our young sons used this room for indoor soccer, baseball, wrestling, etc.  Once they grew up and left I tried to make it somewhat more presentable, albeit with cast-off furniture.  Half-measures never really work, do they?

Finally, with the new drywall and wall extension, I am making progress.

I found this TV stand at HomeGoods.

We also updated the lighting down here with more recessed lights.  Those two updates made it feel like an entirely new room.

I have ordered a sectional sofa for this space.

My decorating process is step by step.  Once the sectional comes in I can decide on a coffee table and art.

This is the last room in our house to be modernized.  Nineteen years ago we bought a ranch home built in 1960.  It had been updated somewhat in the 1970s.  But I am not really sorry that we couldn’t do a whole house renovation in one swoop.  Our sons had their indoor sports room; now we have a grown-up space.  All things in their time.


We have had so much rain in our area this year.  It has been wonderful for the flowers and the vegetables.  Not so wonderful for basements.

Yes, we had flooding in one of our basement bedrooms.  Luckily it took place during the time that I am living down here during our bathroom renovation.  Otherwise I might not have noticed for a month, or more.

Yesterday I came into my bedroom to get a sweatshirt and I heard a gurgling sound.  I went over to one of the windows and my sneakers squished, squished.
Oh no! I thought we had solved this problem. The towels I laid down  quickly soaked through. There was  water swirling toilet bowl fashion in a window well off the room.  I knew I couldn’t wait 3 days until the weekend to do something. Off I went to the garden center to get more gravel for the window wells that abut this room.
It is a stopgap  until Mr. DB and I figure out the next step to address this problem.
Have you ever bought bags of gravel or rocks?  We once bought a 10 pound bag of gravel and it was about the size of the smallest kitty litter bag.  Gravel is very heavy.
After several queries at the garden center I was directed to the gravel.  A fit looking 30 year old waved his hand, “over there”.  Off I went with my little cart.  Sure enough, these smallish bags were quite heavy.  Twenty pounds easy.  I have been working out lately, but I need to up my game if lifting gravel is going to be an everyday occurrence.
But I managed to load them onto my little cart.  Three bags.  Wheeled them to the cashier and paid.  No one asked, “do you need help?”
What is this?  Do I look capable of managing this load? Apparently so.

And so I did.  I wheeled the cart as close to my trunk as possible and eased each bag in.  I did it on my own.  When I got home, I got the wheelbarrow and got the bags as close to the windows as possible, carting small amounts of gravel over.
What is the lesson here?  I’m going to say it is that when people assume we can do something, we do it.  We live up to the expectation, we meet the moment, we push ourselves.
When we get older, the world conspires not to push us. It’s nice when people are so helpful.  But we must take the reins and force ourselves to do more than we thought we could.
It’s so easy when someone asks, “do you need help?”  Yes, yes, I want to say.
But I have to fight against this urge.  I have to look and be capable.  I can do it.  As long as I can I want to do it.
But I do have to fight that urge to ask someone to do it for me.
Life is a battle between me and me.