Basement Part 7: Wood You Be My Valentine?

*Heads up! Lots of words, pictures, and links to other fun sites below.*

We're obviously running a bit behind on the blogging here at bschoolstudio. Yes, Valentine's Day was over a week ago but the subprojects shown below were all started last weekend (how romantic!) and I wanted to wait until they were in a photo-worthy state before posting. Now that we've checked a few more things off the list, let's review in this edition of all things wood.

First - Door and base trim. It's in. All 300+ linear feet of it. Last Friday we ended up going to the Home Despot (our term of endearment for Home Depot - fitting on so many levels) and realized there was no way our trusty wagon would be able to legally haul 12' long trim pieces home. Enter the Despot truck rental service. $19 later I was behind the wheel of this beaut.

Forgive me, but I kept referring to myself as "Large Marge" while driving this beast on Chicago's pothole-laden streets. Fans of the 80s, you must know who Large Marge is.
But back to the trim. We treated ourselves to a pneumatic nailer and tank that Matt spied at Sears a few weeks ago. Initially the too-good-to-be-true price tag had me worried. However, it earned its keep in no time and now I am certain that it is a must-have for installing trim. Below is the new (small) door to the half-height closet beneath our front hall. My sewing stuff and fabrics will soon happily reside here.

Turning the corner you get "the money shot," which dutifully captures most of the woodworking that's been going on. Oh yes, those are built-in bookcases. For reals.

Our friend Ann was in town this weekend and dropped by to see our progress. She asked if we were staying on budget and here's where I can demonstrate why we have exceeded our intial estimates. We put in all new doors so we could have the simpler "Continental" style rather than the traditional six-panel design. Instead of using the old shiny brass hardware we installed new brushed nickel doorknobs to match the hinges that came with the doors. The trim is a 5.25" base while the door casing is 3.5" wide. Architecture nerd pals, you know this is an upgrade! Matt was skeptical at first but once the trim was up he was a "bigger wood is better wood" convert, which is also what she said. :) Huge kudos to Matt for installing all of the trim and making it look even when our walls and floors were not.

Continuing around the blue wall bend comes my new desk and sewing area. The skinny white shelves are perfect for holding up pattern sheets, whatever thread spools I'll be using, and other notions. The cubby on the bottom right was sized to hold my sewing machine and serger. Oh, and yours truly built this. By. Her. Self. And, I'm happy to report, it's both sturdy and level, despite the sloping floor. Bam!

In the picture above you can see the left edge of the gas meter/media closet. To the right of it is a full set of bookshelves, which will house Matt's subwoofer and great works of literature (textbooks, glossy picture books, and chick-lit). I'm going to brag again and let you know I built the top half of the shelves, too, using some construction fundamentals found over at Knockoffwood.

I didn't do all of the building, though. Matt laid out the bottom half of these shelves and constructed all of the niche shelves, which will hold his record collection. Notice how the baseboard trim wraps around the bottom shelves throughout? It makes my heart flutter.
And now to wrap up the wood discussion, let's discuss the bathroom tile. What!? you say. How does that go together? Allow me to introduce our new bathroom floor (and nevermind the lingering dust).

The floor is made of 6"x24" porcelain tiles from American Olean's St. Germain line. A sample tile at Lowe's was a cream color and the fine lines on it made that sample look like corduroy fabric, which would complement the menswear look we're after. I prefer a darker floor, however, so I ordered the tile in Chocolate. Unintentionally, the tiles resembled wood planks.

I feared this could be slightly cheesy, like the vinyl flooring throughout my hospital that is supposed to look like rich wood floors at the Ritz. Two days of mortaring, grouting, and wiping later, I think we've escaped the direct wannabe look, in my biased opinion. These tiles evoke wood without trying too hard. Also, I'm going to spare you the installation details because I don't have much new insight to offer in that department. Instead, I strongly suggest referring to Katie's write-up because it's a great tile guide.

I'll 'fess up and admit that here is another example of where the budget may have burst. At $4.50/sf these tiles completely surpassed our original $1/sf expectations. But here's what we've learned in this project - we didn't go to all this trouble (and pain) just to have our basement fall in the "Whatever was on sale at Home Depot last weekend" style file. A bit snooty? Perhaps. I blame my anal, I mean perfectionist, past project managers. And I thank them too because this place is shaping up nicely. The bathroom floor is modern but easy on the eyes. It's masculine without being harsh. The wide base trim gives the little room the heft it needed. The door trim is the same stuff I'd spec for million-dollar homes back in the day AND it matches the original trim we have elsewhere in the house. I love it.

So that's the status of our world. We took last night off to enjoy a dinner out during Chicago's Restaurant Week and to celebrate the 8th anniversary of our first date (cue sappy music). Tonight, tomorrow, and Thursday night we'll be spackling, priming, and painting fools. Carpet comes Friday and there's a lot of wood that needs to be made white before then. Wish us luck!


  1. It looks beautiful! You guys are doing an awesome job.

  2. Wow! I'm truly amazed! It looks great!


Related Posts with Thumbnails