Sunday, February 24, 2013

Susie & Ike's Basement Remodel- Guest Blogger (Introductions)

We are very excited to post the first part (of a six part!) mini series written by our good friend, Susie! She will be writing a little "tell all" series to share some great lessons learned during their basement remodeling project.  We have to admit, we had very selfish reasons for accepting Susie's gracious offer to share her experiences - 1. because she wanted to write blog posts (um yes, we love new content) 2. because we have plans to remodel our basement in the next few years and can use all of the advice that we can get! So without further ado, please give a warm welcome to Susie!

I’m so excited to be guest blogging on “Crafter Meets Craftsman!”  I’ve thought about starting my own blog for a while now, but have been a bit intimidated, so I was gracious when Deanne accepted my proposal to contribute a mini-series to theirs.  I first met Deanne at our beloved alma mater, Augustana College, where we were in the same sorority.  She seriously is as cute and creative in real life as she is in the blogging world!  I mean seriously, there are few people who purchase 200 of the most perfect cobalt blue plates to complete their wedding décor (yes, Deanne did this and I grin every time I think about it!)  And then when you throw Reed in there it becomes the perfect combination of creative and functional!   So needless to say, my husband and I have quite the high standard to live up to in this mini-series…

Ike, my husband, and I have been married for almost 5 years now and have one nearly 2.5 year old son, Ikester…and we’re expecting our second (and most likely last) this 4th of July!  And no-we don’t always look like that photo, but who wouldn’t put their favorite picture in?  Neither one of us claims to be a DIY’er, but I will say both of us can hold our own around the house with any given project.  I’m blessed that he has a 6th sense when it comes to most repairs/remodels and can follow YouTube tutorials just as well as I can follow Pinterest ones!  With that said, we aren’t the most savvy or resourceful…or should I say Ike isn’t.  He’s the type who will see the room laid out in a Pottery Barn catalog and instead of piecing it together like I would from Home Goods or Hobby Lobby, he would rather purchase it all direct from the source, no coupon needed and move onto the next room.  Needless to say, both methods have their strengths and weaknesses and together we make a pretty good team.

Enough about us, let’s get onto the project…our basement.  We recently moved due to a job transfer and now reside in Southern Illinois, in a rather new ranch style home.  When we purchased the home we knew we would be using the basement for a play area, but didn’t realize just how much we’d take advantage of it.  Ikester and I spend a majority of indoor days down there and even watch TV as a family downstairs in the evenings.  Since the stair case is open heading down to it, we really see it as a functional lower level rather than a “creepy” basement, so we wanted to finish it similar to the main floor.  Or should I say my husband did (see above spending habits), whereas I thought a budget of $2,000 was more than enough to throw some carpet squares on the floor and paint directly on the concrete walls.  Ha, well, I was wrong!  Without telling you exactly how much we’re in (mainly because we haven’t figured our budget lately), I can tell you it is way over my $2,000 budget but we’re both happy with the outcome so far.

Here is a layout of what we were working with.  As you can see, I had a number of designated areas and feels that I wanted to achieve with the wide open space including a television area, playroom space, desk, exercise area, and an open space for an all-purpose (crafting) table.  And then the hubs came in with the bar contribution.  While this wasn’t a “debate” between us, it was a discussion.  Most people I know comment that a bar is a nice visual effect, but the real life usability of it is sparing…and for the amount of money Ike we planned to spend on it I wasn’t convinced it was a necessity.  But I’ll get to that later in my cabinetry and countertops post. 

And then there was the question of the bedroom.  In the end we decided to finish it off just due to the fact that when we have visitors we usually have so many and we’ll be losing a room in July.  However, it is important to note that we don’t believe we can really market our home as 5 bedrooms when it comes to sale time in the future, as the room does not have an ingress/egress (window).  But we still thought the combination of the benefits it would bring us and the potential it could bring the next owners was worth it.

So to leave you, here's a rundown of the topics I plan to cover during this mini-series:

·       DIY efforts vs. contracted projects
·       Color scheme; including furniture
·       Flooring options and costs
·       Cabinetry and countertops
·       The finished product and décor

Until next time-

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Plate Collage in the Making

Once upon a time, about 1.5 years ago, we (Deanne) ordered a canvas picture of our favorite photo from our wedding.  We were on a mission to fill the walls in our house and thought the canvas would be a great addition to the big empty wall in our dining room. Unfortunately, we didn't spend much time analyzing our order and were slightly disappointed at how small the 16x20 inch canvas ended up looking on our "gigantic" dining room wall.

My first attempt at fixing our little art problem involved rushing to the 80% off home clearance section at Hobby Lobby.  I was on the hunt for the thickest, chunkiest frame I could possibly find.  At $16 I figured this 4in thick frame would do the trick.  Reed fixed up the corners with some wood filler and I primed and spray painted this bad boy navy blue.  We hung our new canvas art on the wall and stood back to admire our still-too-small-for-the-wall piece of art.  The big frame helped, but it still looked too tiny on the empty wall.

Instead of finding a new wall for our canvas art, I decided we could use this opportunity to fill in some of the blank wall space with a plate collage.  It really was initially just an excuse to browse and justify buying some gorgeous plates at Anthropologie. But then it turned into a treasure hunt.  I looked everywhere for cute, colorful, unique plates- Homegoods, TJmaxx, Pier 1, and World Market.  Eventually, when I thought I had enough plates to make a collage, I put them in a pile where they continued to collect dust for approximately a year. True story.

I swear, I had really really good intentions of hanging this wall of plates.  But it didn't happen.  I talked about it, bought plate hangers, held them up next to the frame to show Reed how pretty they would look (see photo below), and even laid the plates in various arrangements around the house (and left them there for days).  It was just one of those projects that didn't get executed.  Please tell me I'm not the only one that this happens to...

Until one weekend.   A burst of motivation hit me.  It was time to hang the wall of plates.  I arranged the plates in their final order on the dining room table. Reed suggested I follow this method to trace the plates in the arrangement I wanted.  [Note: We used the back of some old wrapping paper to trace the plates instead of wax paper. We then hung the wrapping paper on the wall, measured each plate and marked on the paper where the nails needed to go. It worked perfectly, except we forgot to snap a pic- blogger fail.

We used wire plate hangers with springs, $1.99 a piece at Hobby Lobby for all sizes (buy here).  I read so many horror stories about plates falling off the walls, so although it drives me crazy seeing the plate hanger on the front of the plate, I would rather be safe than sorry.   Its been a little over a month since we hung them and our plates are still secured on the dining room wall.  I recommend.

Photo from

And we love craziness the plates add to our very beige dining room.  We really wish we would have gotten around to doing this months ago.  They add such great pops of color and patterns and we look forward to adding even more to the arrangement.  And the best part, we feel an enormous sense of pride having finally accomplished a project I talked about for over a year.  (Okay, maybe not enormous, but you get the point).

P.S. Happy Birthday to Crafter Meets Craftsman! Today marks ONE year of blogging!