Monday, October 18, 2010

My Basement Reno-2 years after the fact.

Yesterday, I made hubby take this large table down to the basement, and I realised that I have never posted pictures of the basement reno we did two years ago.   This was part of our house that we never ventured into, except to do laundry.  My then 21 year old daughter would throw in her laundry and run upstairs as if the bogey man lived there. 
 It was that bad. It was the home of the washing machine and the kitty litter.

A landscaping issue forced water into one of the windows when it rained.  Fortunately the original builder had made a severe incline in the floor to the drain (35 bags of self levening cement to fix it) and it mostly flowed right into it.  Once the foundation was exposed, cracks were evident and had to be repaired, as did the landscape grading.  The 6 inch high windows which no longer met building code were replaced with 24" windows with large window wells with French Drains.   Inadequate insulation and a lousy dropped ceiling made this room dark and cold. We also added pot lights.

This was once my dining table.  It pulls apart and I made 2 enormous leaves from plywood and could seat 10 people. I purchased these 2 cane chairs from My Back Shed in Oakville and the owner Lisa, recovered them for me in this spotty linen/chenille Robert Allen fabric.  The empty plaster frame with the ratty string is my idea of art, but people can't resist the "who stole your Mona Lisa?" jokes. 

 This area was originally going to house a wet bar, however the budget was so far over due to the water, drains and cracks, we nixed it in favour of this old cabinet also from My Back Shed, painted black.  (Benjamin Moore ready mix black, pearl finish).  The walls are Ballet White by Benjamin Moore.  All trim Oxford white.  Ceiling Cloud White.
That chair in the corner was a decorating mistake that I had to own as it was far to deep for the clients room I purchased it for.  I opted for a velvet sofa and a linen armchair (not visible) from a local manufacturer Gresham House.  The ottoman is Pottery Barn and is a little lopsided.(I should have returned it).  I usually have a larger rug here, but I took in a stray dog and he peed on it, so it is at the cleaners. 
This table I bought from Craigslist for $110.00.  It is the heaviest thing and quite lovely, except you have to sit on the side with the drop down leaf, as the drawers are so deep you can't get your legs under.  It was in the kitchen until yesterday and this space was empty. No art.  Nothing but a blank wall. We hauled it down and I dressed the space with bits I had lying around. 
I decided to make an art wall, the center being this metal cow sign with a cow that came from a dairy farm in Ontario.  It has marks in it that look like someone used it for BB gun practice.
Top left is a photo my brother look in Botswana of 2 boys wrapped in blankets with their donkey and below is my daughters grade 3 art piece of an African woman. To the left is a little woven straw puse from Chile.  Under the self indulgent "C" are my Lebanese prayer beads from my friend Leena.  You can see the post I did on prayer beads HERE

They weigh a ton and are so beautiful. 
The fireplace was originally going to be an old reclaimed one, but it looked odd so I sold it.
I opted for a very simple boxed in look that one day I will clad in a horizontal marble of some kind, but it's not on my priority list.  I added a sparkly sconces on each side. From Home Depot.
We solved the issue of the support beams by encasing them in two pillars that also house the heating vents.  (Simon (contractor) is brilliant). 
The large piece of art with the man and lady is a batik brought from India by my other brother. 
 It took me 20 years to frame it.
    I got this laminate flooring from Home Depot on clearance for 99 cents a square foot and I love it. I had to get it from 3 different locations to find enough.

 This was a three month reno. When you uncover existing floors, walls etc, you find problems.  In this case lots of them.  We did have to consult with engineers when needed, but when you have foundation cracks and water coming in, you have to do it right.

Later this week I will post the bathroom/laundry room we added, but I need to fold the laundry before I shoot it.


  1. I had to keep reminding myself that this is actually a basement. I laughed about your basement being the home for the washing machine and kitty litter. That's mine. Mine is even more hideous now, though practical, because it's covered in hideous, pink, spray-on insulation. It looks like being inside something organic. Sigh.

  2. This is great! It's very modern and classy. I love that all the items have a unique story behind each. Everything is so clean and crisp. Love it!

  3. Chania,

    I would be so at home here. I adore rooms that have evolved, that show character and interest. Not only is Simon brilliant, so are you.

    I just adore Elsie the cow and the empty frame. This would definitely be my curl up and read room. A small fire perhaps, a dish of wrapped chocolates and glass of pinot. Heaven.



  4. Love the bar and love the floors! This place looks like the perfect little sanctuary!

    xo M

  5. Beautiful basement. We'll eventually be doing ours over. Love, love, love the floor!

    And the vents in the pillars idea is awesome too.

    It's all beautiful!

  6. Chania, you never cease to amaze me! I love the way you put everything together. And all those little bits and pieces from around the world - they're lovely!

  7. Morning Chania....!

    I LOVE what you've done here with your basement....Such a QUIRKY & ECLECTIC mix....The colours you've used are BRILLIANT....!! I'm really ENAMOURED with the neutral background paired with black furniture & natural woods look at the moment....Very HANDSOME, yet you can mix the junk right in there & it doesn't look contrived....!

    Your COW art is GORGEOUS....Fancy someone taking pot shots at that sweet face....!! The other pieces you've adorned the wall with are DELIGHTFUL & I LOVE that you've framed family momentos....The batik, your brothers pic & daughters 'young' art....So often pieces like this are left in boxes (as your batik was for 20 years....!) never seeing the light of day....!!!

    I WISH we had basements here....Mr SVJ & I have discussed the possibility of digging underneath our place but I don't think the foundations will allow for it....It would be AWESOME to have the extra space....hahahahaha....!

    Hope you have a WONDERFUL week ahead of you my Friend....!!

    Cheers for now,
    Tamarah :o)

  8. Clever you. I love the bar...and the floor...we have carpet in ours and I hate it

  9. What a great space, Chania! You have transformed it into a comfortable, cozy getaway. That cow is my favorite and please let me know when I may show up for drinks? Ann

  10. Hi Chania, I love this room. It looks really welcoming and warm. The art works well together as do the pieces of furniture. You have done a wonderful job!

  11. hi chania! well i love it all, but what i especially love is the imperfections and quirks that you point out. lop-sided ottomon, table that doesn't fit your legs perfectly, a batik that takes 20 years to frame, a dog that pees on the rug, etc. thanks for sharing those things that make you a REAL person. you have a gift of making it all turn out so beautifully and you have created a home with SOUL. love, LOVE the art wall too :0)

  12. Superb basement. Mine has dirt floors and lots of cobwebs. Not quite as charming as yours!

  13. I have found out myself that basements have issues. You have done this one so artfully but it does not look over done just comfortable and like you as someone who travels. The cow sign is adorable. I have a cabinet similar to your black one that I need to paint and repair. I would never have thought of black but it works.

  14. wow -well done!! I have to say, I wish I were in front of your delightful bar right now! hard, long day.

  15. Chania your basement is beautiful and so warm and welcoming! I love all of the wonderful furniture pieces, and the artwork is spectacular. I love an interesting gallery wall, and yours is perfect!

    Kat :)

  16. It is beautiful Chania! I love that each piece of your wall art has a story.....

    Health and happiness!

  17. LOVE your basement! The colours, the pictures and especially the cow one - very cool. Good job!

  18. Sounds like it was a huge job. I love all the art - your daughters picture is really good!

  19. A perfectly cozy looking basement. Love all the great art work!

  20. This really is gorgeous. I love all of your ideas and really appreciate the pictures as we are redoing our basement area after we were flooded last week. Thank you!

    Best wishes,

  21. Wow, love the room Chania, it looks awesome! I especially love the cow!!


  22. What a beautiful space! I think the cow art totally makes the room, but, really, I enjoy so many of your touches. The entire art wall is exquisite, with so many personal mementos that you've saved over the years. I also like that nook with your old dining table. Of course, it's all so cozy and I'm sure your daughter now runs to this room and not from it! At the very least while she's doing her laundry?

  23. I can't believe that space is a basement which used to have a washing machine and kitty litter. It looks amazing. You've made it so warm and inviting. Clearly a lot of work went into it. xx

  24. Love the flooring....can't believe it's laminate and what a great price. So worth the trip to different stores! Love it all. The cow is very whimsical. Great Job!

  25. That is a cozy looking basement. I love all the personal touches. And the flooring - what a steal!

  26. We're about to get down and dirty renovating our basement... the current home of our kitty litter box and laundry!! ;-) I LOVE seeing what you've done; you've given me ideas!!

    Love seeing your master bathroom and bedroom coming together. Is Simon also doing this work? The finishes you've chosen are fantastic!

    Victoria (DesignTies)

  27. Well, lucky you to have a basement, especially now that it looks so good. And I love to see a wall of artwork with back stories.


I love to read each and every comment and are thrilled that you take the time to send one. Thank you so much. Chania