The biggest change we have made in the current basement renovation has been in our rec room. Here is a quick picture of how it looked just a few months ago:
Not too bad, but our tastes have changed since then and I knew I wanted something a little more grand in the room we spend most of our time in. As you can see, it was just so cluttered and busy. It always felt like the room was messy, even after we cleaned it. We had tried the TV on every wall in the room, and decided that it worked best on the wall with the windows (like above).
I always talked about having built-in cabinets and bookcases with a fireplace in our rec room. I though it would make the room look amazing, and take away so much of the clutter that happens when you try to furnish a large room and add as much storage as possible. So once the decision was made that we were going to renovate the basement, I knew this was the number one update on my list.
I had a few inspiration pictures that I combined, as this wall is 21 feet long with two large windows. Most build-ins you find are not quite this large. Here are a few that I took inspiration from:
I love the way each of these looks, they are just so cozy and inviting. So after I told Luis that we were building these, I tried my best to draw out what I wanted. I don't have the original sketch, but it looked something like this:
Please excuse my horrible computer drawing skills, I'm much better on paper, I promise. I know it doesn't look like it makes sense, so let me try to explain a little better. The plan was to have a fireplace centered between the two windows, with the TV on top. Beside the fireplace would be two large spots for Luis' speakers (the plan down the road if we decide to get rid of these speakers is to either turn them into open shelving, or add doors), then cabinets with doors. On top of the cabinets would be cubbies, and bookcases to finish of each end.
So with a plan in mind, Luis tore down all the old paneling that was on the walls. I have to say, this room was always so cold, now we know why:
There was absolutely no insulation between the freezing cold ground and our walls, other than the foundation. Excuse me, we had a very thin sheet of what looked like wax paper. That made all the difference 40 years ago I guess. Look at the insulation under the windows:
I can't believe we were living with that behind our walls. No vapour barrier or anything to keep it from getting grungy. So many things I am glad we discovered during the renovation.
We decided that if we were going to build a unit into the room, now would be a good time to replace the windows that were original to the house. It would be so much harder down the road for this to be done, and the room was already torn apart. Here is a picture of the old windows:
Before the windows were installed though, Luis took down the strapping that was used for the wood paneling. We decided to use new wood to build the wall out. Here are the new windows:
They ended up being about 4 inches taller, and about 6 inches deeper than our old windows. And I love them. It's amazing how much bigger and brighter they look. Next came the hard work of rebuilding the frame of this wall to incorporate the weight of the built-ins. Luis doubled up 2x4 boards on the short side (so the stud is actually 4x4) for the framing:
Once the insulation was installed and everything was sealed in, we needed to decide what to use for our walls. With everything that was going to be attached to the walls, Luis decided that the best way to ensure that everything would be secure would be to use plywood. So we installed 3/4 inch plywood, with one side nice and the other still rough:
This way, we could still paint the exposed plywood and have it look nice. You can also see that Luis did some electrical work while he was framing the wall. I still pretend I know what he did, so I can't really explain that to you. I know we have connections for our satellite, HDMI, speakers and Ethernet cables running through the walls.
Next came the tedious task of adding wood filler to all the holes in the plywood, and putting on about five coats of semi-gloss white paint:
You can see the cabinets above, we just bought the pre-built cabinets from Lowes. We only painted the part that would be exposed, the bottom half will be covered by the cabinets. We also only patched the top part of the wall as well.
Here is where I become a bad blogger again and have a lack of pictures to show you. The cabinets were installed, cubbies built and the fireplace was installed. You can see the large spaces for Luis' speakers:
The cubbies will be above the cabinets, and will go to the windows. There will also be cubbies above the fireplace for the electronics. You can see the vision here:
The amount of small details was just incredible! We needed to finish painting the speaker cabinets, finish the melamine edging, the bookends needed to be installed and the trim needed to be painted.
We also had a local company come and install carpet in the room. Before we found the laminate flooring to cold. We were always wearing socks and slippers, so we decided that carpet would be a great fit for this room. It also made sense with a baby that would be starting to crawl and walk.
I have to say, the difference is like night and day. We love this room even more than I even thought possible:
Seriously, how can you not be in love with these built-ins! The cabinets are 24 inches deep, so there is a ton of storage room. With the drawers and cubbies, I don't think we will ever have a storage problem again. And it will be amazing with all the toys that will start to accumulate.
Here are a few close up pictures of the bookends:
The baskets are rattan that I think were made for these cubbies. It was fate that they fit perfectly and were four for $35:
One more look from the side, so you can see just how large and long these built-ins actually are:
I will be sharing the rest of the room later, once we finish a certain special area for a certain special boy.
But for now, we are enjoying how wonderful our rec room is looking. What about you guys, any big dreams for any rooms in your houses?
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