Zen and The Art of Home Improvement – Part 2

Last January I wrote a post about a home improvement project I had started in our basement – a place I usually referred to as The Dungeon.  This finished room – our workout place – was a dark, scary mess of accumulated clutter.

It needed a major makeover.

After months of frantic activity, followed by doing nothing, and then more frantic activity, my project has finally reached a point where it is now ready for its great reveal.

The work began in October 2013 with a major cleanup of all the stuff that had accumulated.   Over time, things had been abandoned in this room to be dealt with at a later date.  It had reached the point where all this ‘stuff’ seemed to take on a life of its own. Admit it – you have one of these rooms too.

Basement - Before 1

There were car loads of things given away and thrown away.  To cover the dark green walls, I needed to apply 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint.   Only after I had finished painting the ceiling and walls, did we finally pull up the old carpeting.

Basement - Before 3

That turned out to be a mistake because I had also spent days – not an exaggeration – painting the baseboards which were now all ripped out and about to be replaced.  Sigh.

There is always at least one major glitch that occurs in any renovation.  On this one we discovered that the basement floor of our 40-year-old house was seriously uneven.  Our new floor options were either wall-to-wall carpeting again (nay, wasn’t going to happen) or having the floor levelled.

Basement - Before 2

What an unhappy mess that job turned out to be.  Now there were dirty hand prints and slops of cement on my newly painted walls which were going to need cleaning and – in some places – paint touch-up.

The new floor was finally installed and I had to break out the paint brush again to paint the new baseboards.  By this time, I was starting to seriously dislike painting.

A new storage area was created against the back wall hidden behind sliding doors and a new refridgerator was purchased to replace 2 mini-bar fridges left behind from our sons’ university days.  My need for clean, organized storage had finally been satisfied.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, to all the people who ask me how I spend my time since I retired, for the past year this has been one of my projects … and I’m very happy it’s finally done – give or take a few outstanding details.

I can’t take credit for all the work … a professional installer did the floor and Gilles handled the shelving and doors … but the vision and a major amount of elbow grease was all mine!

I’m already planning my next project …. but shhhh, don’t tell Gilles yet.  He’s still recovering from this one.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
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76 Responses to Zen and The Art of Home Improvement – Part 2

  1. reocochran says:

    This took a lot of backtracking in the basement project of making the floor evened out before new flooring put down, different materials landing on nicely finished walls. . . This was worse than your eight door’s projects which made for a hilarious Thursday’s Doors! 😀

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      You are so right – this basement project was many times harder. The difference is that I knew it was going to be a tough one – and it was!
      The transformation was worth every minute though!!

      Like

  2. Uhhh, love it. Looks clean and minimal. The wooden floor has this natural look 😉

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  3. ChristineR says:

    “It had reached the point where all this ‘stuff’ seemed to take on a life of its own. Admit it – you have one of these rooms too.”

    My whole house seems to be like this, and every year at this time I move it all to that ‘one place’ – often not to be seen again for years. [Sigh]

    I reckon I would have no problem cycling away a few kilos in your wonderful setup! Well done.

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    • joannesisco says:

      thanks! The sad part is, neither of us are pack-rats. We don’t tend to save stuff … and yet it still manages to accumulate out of control.
      The best part is having all that clean storage space neatly hidden behind doors. I love this new space … it’s like I’ve got a new room in the house 🙂

      Like

  4. Wow! Looks very professional. Did you miss your calling?

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  5. Holy cow, Joanne. I was thinking three things: 1- I need to get me a room just for junk. I’ve got a drawer, but a room is so, so much better. 2 – Once the room hits the mark where it now equals three car loads I will attempt a major restoration for sheer pleasure of seeing the before and after pictures. and 3 – I will buy a velvet rope because NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED INSIDE EVER AGAIN.
    A massive congratulations on a wonderful job!

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  6. What a fantastic transformation. Now, all you have to do is use it!

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  7. totsymae1011 says:

    Looks good, Hard work paid off. Looks like a chic place to charge folk to come work out.

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  8. Very impressive. Isn’t it wonderful when vision becomes reality? 🙂

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    • joannesisco says:

      Oh yes!

      Speaking of impressive, I’m about a dozen pages from the end of your book How Was I Supposed To Know. Holy-crap-on-a-stick Lorna, how you managed to survive such a roller coaster with your amazing sense of humour intact is truly impressive!

      I love your writing style and quite frankly, I think you could make a grocery list an entertaining read.

      I hereby give you full authority to whack me on the side of the head if I ever go into a ‘poor me’ mode!!

      Like

  9. Megz says:

    So glad I’m not the only one with the basement that serves as a workout room/where things accumulate. Granted for me it’s more of: where everything went when moving in that didn’t have a predetermined place.

    Unrelated question, what sort of bike workouts do you do in the winter when it’s too gross to go out? We are doing a running/biking relay in April and are trying to figure out how to keep our fitness and stamina going during the cold winter months. Every time I climb on the dreaded trainer I curse our decision to sign up…

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  10. jannatwrites says:

    I love the end product! We don’t have a basement (they aren’t too common in Arizona) but I remember a few from when I lived in Denver as kid… they sure can be creepy. I don’t have the luxury of having a room that’s a catch-all… but I have a few drawers that I would be embarrassed if anyone opened them 🙂 (Now, when the kids move out, no telling what their rooms will become, haha!)

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      so true … when the kids leave home, there is a whole new world of possibilities 😉

      I’ve never lived in a house without a basement … but you’re right. They often drift into the creepy range.

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  11. Mrs. P says:

    You did a fantastic job! You did it right which makes it an even better job. This is a room that would make Rick smile…no clutter, just the tools needed to get the work done…in this case…exercise! 😀

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  12. pscapp says:

    We call it the ” Room where nobody goes.”

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    • joannesisco says:

      LOL!! In our case, that’s actually not accurate. In particular, our bikes on the trainers are well used … the treadmill usually only when the sidewalks are icy or snow covered 🙂

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  13. It looks incredible Jo!! If I had a space like that, I’m (almost) sure I’d work out more! xx

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  14. Having undergone more than my share of renovations (hundred-year old house), all I can say is KUDOs to you. There is always at least one major snafu in any reno project and the floor-leveling looks like a horror to have endured. I hate painting more than just about anything, so my empathy for you when those baseboards had to be ripped off the wall is immense. I’m imagining the days you spent in a croach position painting the things. ARRRGGHH. In any event, the room is HGTV-worthy. Really.

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    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Barbara – high praise 🙂
      I have to agree with you about painting baseboards – or trim in general. It is remarkably tough on the body to be scrunched up in contorted positions on the floor. UGH!

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      • Isn’t painting just brutal? I think of people who do it and actually like it as a strange breed! We put up a wooden fence by the potting shed and it had to be painted. I offered to help because BH is just so busy. And the entire time I was like THIS IS TORTURE!!!! Why didn’t we just buy PVC!!!!

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        • joannesisco says:

          … and the worst torture? Painting something the exact same colour it was originally! I could not get Gilles to agree on a new paint colour for our hallway. In the end, I had to repaint it the same colour. It was extremely unsatisfying!!

          Liked by 1 person

  15. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Nice work! I love how open it looks now 🙂

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  16. treerabold says:

    I am quite envious of your new workout space! Having done my fair share of destruction in order to remodel…I am not envious of the amount of time and effort that had to go into this project. Oh but isn’t it nice when its complete!!

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    • joannesisco says:

      LOL – there’s always that point part way through any reno project where you start to feel a certain amount of despair. You are so right though … when it’s finally done, all the effort was worth it 🙂

      Like

  17. Lynn says:

    That’s it! I am packing up my trainer & my bike. I will be over shortly!

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  18. Please, come, organise me!!!!

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  19. lumar1298 says:

    Lovely… That sure was a major cleanup… Great job…

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  20. Wow. Just wow. Can you come and do that at my house? I need some boy-free space….

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    • joannesisco says:

      hmmm – maybe I found a new calling – but I’ll have to plan for a really good benefit package to handle all the massage treatments I’ll need!!

      … but it never ceases to amaze me at what can be achieved 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. What an undertaking! It looks pretty awesome now. I need a room like that!

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    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks! This project was really intimidating – I would often stare at all that ‘stuff’ and wonder what on earth I was going to do with it. A journey of a thousand miles …

      Like

  22. Sue Slaght says:

    Wow what a major and fantastic renovation! That looks fantastic.:)

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  23. Sammy D. says:

    See? Now you put me in a real dilemma because I cannot stomach beginning the project on ‘that’ room because I have always suspected the floor wasn’t installed properly and have no desire to go through what you did.

    But then you had to go and show me a photo of the finished project.

    What about just trading houses with me ? C’mon – you might even like my junk !!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      hahaha – you have no idea how tempting that could be.

      It’s funny (in an ouch-that-hurts kind of way) how a project that starts with a paint job can morph.

      Like

      • Sammy D. says:

        You did a terrific job of describing your ups and downs, and your finished project is beautiful. I do love the look and the wood floor and, of course your cycle setup for workouts!!

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        • joannesisco says:

          Thanks … I’m really quite thrilled with the end result … it was sooo badly needed!
          We’ve had our bikes on trainers for winter spinning for years. Now I can finally enjoy being down in The Dungeon 🙂

          Like

  24. NancyTex says:

    Joanne, it looks AMAZING! Great job, you! Now that’s a gym that I’m sure you’re happy to work out in!

    Like

  25. Pixie says:

    Is it for rent? I’d be happy to live there! [she said with a wink and giggling smile] Seriously beautiful renovation, and great story to go with it.

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  26. Wow, Joanne…that is an awesome transformation. Well worth your elbow grease!

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  27. That looks amazing, well worth the hard work and the wait to get it just right. My idea of renovation is to go on holiday, a project manager move in along with lots of tradesmen and me come home and it all done! It’s never likely to happen but it’s free to dream. Awesome job and sounds like you have a terrifically handy husband too 🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      That’s the way we used to do renovations when I had a full time job. Now that I’m retired, I’ve had to become a do-it-yourselfer. There’s a lot of satisfaction in the end result, but it takes soooooo long!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. It looks great! I wouldn’t have even believed it was the same room if not for the window. I can say that now that we are no longer homeowners we don’t have a room like that. I guess the saying rings true…’The more you have, the more you have to clean!’

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  29. la_lasciata says:

    I simply can’t comprehend the energy levels necessary for that job, JS ..
    Sighh …
    But now it looks like a bloody SHOWROOM ! 🙂

    Like

  30. I so dislike construction. Starting is the hardest part. You’ve done a wonderful job. Feels good to be finally finished, I know, but well worth the wait. Gorgeous.

    Like

  31. What a transformation! Kudos to you both! Love the sleek look.

    Like

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