Last spring, during a walk, Troy informed me that he wanted us to redo our small section of the basement. When the house got remodeled for my parents to move in, our giant daylight basement became parts of their living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. It was 100% the absolute best move for everyone involved, but it did take away a big ole play/storage area. It forced some creativity with storage solutions, with most stuff ending up in the attic until the remodel was completed. As things often go, the remodel finished up, and things stayed in the attic. Much of it was toys and books that Jack had outgrown, but there were multiple bins of my books and a handful of other items.
Troy’s idea for the “update” was to make it a mini family room. With a large living room, I honestly didn’t see the need for a separate space. My sister and I had the large basement for our own for sleepovers and things like that, but I didn’t see it as essential or all that important. I was content to let our section of the basement be merely a pass through to my parent’s section of the house.
Until…my sister moved, and we had a garage sale in late July/early August. With the move, my sis returned all the huge tubs of clothing, books, and toys she had been hanging on to for us. Jack was the first grandkid in our family, and my sister had my nephew a year later. My cousin followed with her own boy a few years ago, and needless to say, we have a lot of boy stuff floating around our family. As we were getting ready for the garage sale, I sorted through all the books. So very many books. Tubs and tubs of books. At that moment, I couldn’t let them go. And yet, we didn’t have a place for them. After putting some out at the garage sale, I told Troy selling any more kid books would just break my heart and I couldn’t do it. We needed to redo the basement and part of that would need to involve massage storage and shelving. As you can imagine, he was pretty stoked I finally agreed to do something to the space.
The biggest hurdle to the redo was my sewing cabinet. Our little section of the basement is less than 150 square feet, and this took up fairly valuable space. It couldn’t be moved to our bedroom, because I usually only have time to work on projects at night. There was no other place in the house where I could relocate it and not have it be in the way. I came up with what I thought was a viable solution, and when I finally got up the balls to tell Troy, he loved the idea and was fully on board.
The plan? Turn our little Harry Potter closet under the stairs in to a sewing cubby. Ladies and gentleman, 4 Privet Drive:
This tiny (3×6) closet had become a dumping ground for everything in our house we didn’t have a real home for anymore. Vacuum, steam mop, and a cute little table we had bought off of Craigslist and never ended up using. As someone who loves organization, it was my Monica Gellar closet. For shame. The closet also housed the hot water heater that was original to the house, and no longer connected to our water system. The hardest part of this project by far was trying to get that beast out of there. It was HUGE, and still full of really gross water. Oh, and my shoes live in this closet too. During our whole house remodel (2013-2014), we were without our closet for months. I moved my shoes to the closet down by the garage, and have just kept them there because it is easier.
We took everything out, and left it in the basement. I wanted to have to move around it, be inconvenienced by it, and to feel forced to rehome all those items. Most of it was actually fabric, but still, some crap had to go or find a nice place to live.
Troy removed the sorry ass shelving in the closet and patched the holes. I found some paint from the update of our bathroom three years ago, and slapped two coats on the walls. And then I looked at the floor, and thought “why not that too”, and I painted it! It would have been better with a second coat on the floor, but I was working within a nap deadline, and one coat it is.
We found a desktop in the IKEA “as is” section for $7.50, and Troy installed it with some hardware he already had. Troy of course can’t just install something and call it good. No, the walls in the closet weren’t “square”, so the desk didn’t fit perfectly in the space. Troy used leftover pieces of the trim from our wood floor install last year, and put it around the top. He then added something to the front that was apparently from an old light fixture in our bathroom. I don’t really know why it’s there, but he insists it is needed to brace the counter up.
Two more shelves got put up to hold odds and ends. We found these on clearance at IKEA too, and they were $3 each, including the mounting hardware. Hee hee, “mounting”.
Bird with a french fry sign was from my old office. It’s available here if you’re interested. The stacked bird picture was also from my office, and I originally got it from IKEA.
Another IKEA item for the win! These hanging cups were on close out, and the bar was $.99, and each cup was $.25. They hold scissors, bobbins, and other odds and ends that I just didn’t have a place for anywhere else. With some parts of the old hot water heater still in the wall, there wasn’t much cover up we could do. There was also metal plate stuck in the wall, but with an old sign that I used to have hanging in my office (and found in this closet), no one is the wiser. Wooden chicken sign was from my old office, and is available here. It’s starting to appear that I have a real bird obsession.
The thread holder was a dirt cheap find at Goodwill years ago. In my sewing cabinet, it had merely been leaning against the inside, but Troy put it on the wall. And yes, I did put the thread in color order, because yes, I noticed in the first picture of the finished closet I took that they were all jumbled. But they all still have dangling threads and I’m not going to let that bother me…pardon me while I step out of this post for a second. I have um, something to see to.
The rug was $12.99 from Home Goods, and the stool sitting on top of it belongs to my 92 year old grandma. She got her drop top sewing desk/table when she married my grandpa. When she moved in to an assisted living facility two years ago, there simply wasn’t room to take it. My sister had stored it at her house, and for some reason, my mom wanted to bring it home this summer. I appropriated it for this room.
There are even (pretty old) supplies in there leftover from my grandma.
The rolling fabric bins belonged to my sister who no longer needed them. The best part of the whole project is that we did it for under $40!
Paint – free
Counter – $7.50
Hanging cup things – $2.00
Rug – $13
Shelves – $6
Ironing board holder to rehome it to the door in our laundry room – $7
This project was one of my favorite that Troy and I have ever done. Other than our kids, you know who are pretty rad in their own way. 🙂 Troy did some amazing work, and dedicated an entire afternoon to putting this together for me. Jack thinks it is the coolest place in the house, and wants his own cubbyhole closet too. Besides having a place to work and get a little creative, I have my own little space that can be silly and fun, and feature every bright color I want splashed all over the house but Troy won’t let me. I can just come in, let my retinas take in the happiness, and go back to my earth toned life upstairs.
And considering I have to spend summer vacation from Hogwarts here, it’s not too shabby.