Pimp My Basement

Project Basement Overhaul is forging ahead.  Slowly.  And I am trying to keep my impatience in check — not my strong suit.

But there has been good progress to report.

There has been the ongoing Purging of the Stuff, and I am proud of my hoarding husband for parting ways with many of his treasured items.  I am still not brave enough to post the “before” photo with all of our boxes downstairs, but I will post one of the actual basement condition and (lack of) decor before we officially get the renovation underway.

We just had some work done to create more storage in our attic so that we can move a bunch of the remaining stuff up there, which is nice.  Truth be told, a lot of it is maternity and baby-related.  And I’m not ready to definitively close the door on an additional resident of Fordeville, even though, by all logic, I should be.  (Cue parents of three or more children laughing with an evil snort, while screaming “Sucker!  Don’t do it!” — which is pretty much the, uh, feedback we continue to receive.)  Anyway, so there’s a lot of baby stuff.  Which may or may not get purged soon.  I just don’t know — and I hate to tie life decisions to renovations.  It’s too hard.  So we will put it all out of sight and, at least for now, out of mind. 

I think I just way overshared.  Sorry.

Moving on.

I thought, when we moved from the city into our house, that having an actual family room would be enough in terms of a playspace and all-purpose area.  Because let me paint a mental picture of the city apartment for you:  700 square feet.  Two adults.  Two children.  All of their crap.  Snoring pug.  Smallest bathroom in America.  Sweaters being stored in the oven (because, honestly, I wasn’t using it for much else and it was the most viable drawer space we had).  So the notion of a family room seemed downright luxurious, spacious and totally sustainable. 

Yeah, not so much.  Our kids’ crap has taken over.  Exhibit A:

We can go ahead and file the Thomas Tunnel under “Things that seemed like a good idea at Christmastime but have now taken over my life and may, in fact, mysteriously disappear.”  Just kidding, Mom (she bought this for the kids).  My children would tear me to shreds if the tunnel went missing.  And where else would I hide with a Sunday afternoon cocktail?

Well, funny, I may now have a place just for this. 

We met with our architect over the weekend and he had the close-to-final plans to share.  It was sort of exciting because it brings everything to life — the storage space, the new laundry room, the full bathroom we’re adding.  (Incidentally, if you had told my 25 year-old self that I would ever be this excited about a new laundry room, I would have told you to just shoot me.)

And then, our architect casually points out The. Wet. Bar.

This was totally his suggestion, without us even thinking of it.  Which begs two questions:  1)  *Why* were we not thinking of this?  and 2)  Could I love our architect any more?

So I may or may not have a tendency to get carried away at times.  As I stared at the words “wet bar,” represented by no more than a small box on a piece of paper, I envisioned something like this.  Maybe with Norm (or a neighborhood equivalent) sitting at the end.

I’m kidding.  A little.  I don’t like neon — unless I’m in a casino.

Back to reality.  The box that our architect drew was a much better representation.   The basement is not very big.  We are already squeezing every inch out of it for more practical purposes, so the wet bar will be far more modest.  Think countertop with mini fridge, a sink, some wine storage, maybe a microwave. 

And that totally works for me.  It feels like a reward at the long end of the renovation tunnel. 

Happy hour at my place, guys.  Bring your laundry.

Did you like this? Share it:


  1. You know you’re a card carrying grown up when one of the most important features of a new home is the Laundry room!

  2. What a great idea. Everyone brings their laundry and you coordinate the rounds to the loads. “We’re throwing in whites…white Russians for everyone. Now we’re doing the hubby’s dirty hockey clothes…dirty martinis on the house. A load of kids’ playclothes next…Shirley Temples, extra cherries.” I’ll be right over.

  3. Erinn says:

    They don’t consider a basement “finished” unless it has a wet bar. OK, well the “they” in this instance is really just me. But I think it’s a swell idea.

    Nagging question: How did your husband accumulate a pod’s worth of rubbish/treasures given that you moved from an apartment in the city? In other words, where did he store that crap before now? I’m sure it’s not all *crap* by the way, but I admire your discipline and, frankly, the way you lord over his possessions.

    I have a heap of JUNK that my mother-in-law brought to our house — in a freaking U-Haul — old running trophies, ceramic statues of little baseball players, varsity jackets, old typewriters. You get the picture. A disaster. A total disaster. These items sit untouched in the garage, some are in the attic — where they stand the least chance of being moved.

    So, I need to know, is your husband parting with memories from the past or is this contemporary stuff you are asking him to ditch? Guide me here. Please. I need some tips.

    • Erinn, I was just reading your comment and two words popped into my mind…”Digital photos.” For all those cheap, ugly trophies that we tend to accumulate during a lifetime of little league and school sports, take good photos of them and put them in an album (if you must print the photos 🙂 ). Then, trash the trophies. Is that harsh? I’ve been throwing tons of stuff out here in my own home. It helps if you’re in a mild hormonal rage when you enter into the process. 😉

      • fordeville says:

        I practically have tears of anticipation in my eyes over this idea. Perfect!

      • Erinn says:

        Great idea. Now, I just need to book him a trip someplace for a week so I can execute said plan.

        Seriously, Margaret, my urge to bin this stuff is so overwhelming. I love to throw things out. Love to.

        I miss living in an apartment. If you brought something in, you had to bring something else out — that was the rule.

    • fordeville says:

      In my husband’s defense: 1) I exaggerate. 2) His stuff is not all crap. 3) I have a fair amount of stuff too (I am just more attached to my stuff than his).

      Here’s how it happened. Before we met, he lived in a house in the burbs and naturally accumulated all kinds of household things. When he sold that house to shack up with me in a pillbox-sized apartment, he put a bunch of his items that wouldn’t fit into our apartment into a storage unit, which was just recently unsealed and migrated to our current basement. Really, we should have just set the storage unit on fire and walked away — which is what you should have done to that U-Haul that your MIL drove over (I shudder that entire mental image). I’m committed to the purge, no matter how long it takes.

  4. Ed says:

    I fully endorse your wet bar, and am willing to become your live-in bartender, homebrewer and web designer. Imagine always having fresh beer on tap, in your own basement! For an additional fee incredibly large sum, I will also entertain your children.

  5. Aunt Barbara says:

    I love hearing about your renovation – in fact, after our 18 month project I love hearing about any renovation that we don’t have to sign checks for!

  6. i am jealous of the wet bar no mater what size it is.

Speak Your Mind