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Budget Home Theater – Things are never simple {ORC Fall 2018: Week 2}


If you’ve landed here from the One Room Challenge, Welcome! We’ve just purchased an 80’s contemporary home in Upstate NY that just needs a little TLC to bring her back to her former glory.  

Alternate title: What to do when you’ve got that exposed brick loft look but fear for the stability of your home.

So please recall this makeover really started with this fun little burst pipe in the exposed ceiling of the basement a few days ago, which we burst ourselves trying to plunge and applying too much pressure to a slow kitchen drain and drano was not doing the trick, that made a general mess of this corner of our basement.

We *thought* we had a couch coming this past weekend (we’ve been scouring craigslist for months) and finally found another couch online that has good reviews and the price was comparable to what we were seeing in our area for used couches. More on the couch later, but during one fitful night of sleep this past week, I decided I wanted to paint two of the walls dark, preferably before the couch arrived.  So I ran out to Lowes and grabbed a bucket of waterproofing masonry paint that was tintable. I picked a medium – dark blueish gray (Edit: Sweeping Rock Storm Cloud from Sherwin Williams) in record time. Normally I would hem and haw and grab test colors and sit on it for weeks but like I said, it was Friday night and we thought we had a couch coming on Monday.

Snowball: increase rapidly in size, intensity, or importance

Picking up waterproofing paint was merely precautionary and just seemed like the smart thing to do. We definitely have a damp basement but luckily between two sump pumps and with dehumidifiers running, its very comfortable. But it is clear the previous owners have repainted random areas of the walls. Probably to hide issues! While my paint was getting tinted I started reading the back of the can and quickly realized this was more like an epoxy application that in order to do it right, involves scraping all of the old paint off and applying muriatic acid so as to not void the warranty.  Guys, this was not happening on a Friday night. We recently expoxy-ed our garage and that was a 4 day ordeal.

So we did the next best thing and agreed to scrap off anything that was loose, but skip the acid wash. WHICH TURNED INTO THIS.

 

 

Scraping honestly wasn’t awful (we did run and get masks early on into scraping). Attempting to vacuum it up (clearly we did not anticipate this and had not put down drop clothes) will probably kill us 20 years from now.

Our shop vac created a cozy little haze of dust particles which in turn coated everything in the room that we had not moved out. Needless to say, the kids ARE NOT allowed down here for a while. (Safety disclaimers: this house was built and added onto in the late 80s, so we aren’t super concerned with lead paint or asbestos, but old mold is a bit concerning – I would NOT recommend dealing with this issues yourself without professional help, we just found ourselves in a mess we had to get out of quickly in the middle of the night.)

We did find some horizontal gaps, which, per the internet, if they are bigger than the size of a dime, should be concerning, for, you know, stability of the house and water seepage. Ours were not that bad, and luckily there is no bowing out of the walls but we did add mortar on Saturday to fill in the gaps.  The walls are certainly texturized at this point, but I’m pretty sure that’s a thing now so I’m embracing it?  Guys, I really just didn’t care at this point. I am ready to put this room back together.

Generally clean up would come next, but our handy man really likes to find other jobs to do for us, so Monday he offered to install our new recessed lighting after fixing the broken pvc pipe and to take down the old random florescent lighting. Switching out lighting is one thing, running new wires is another, so Tom was happy to hand over this job to him as well.  He is not one to clean up after himself (his price and general handywork is right so we accept these inadequacies) so now I’ve got wood chips all over the floor from where the new wiring had to go. But on the plus side – I LOVE THIS COLOR.

So now we’ve got paint on the scrapped walls. I need to paint the other walls white, which are all in much better condition, and I need to pick a trim color (I’m thinking just shades darker than the dark walls). We’ve got to clean up the rug and wipe down everything we didn’t take out of the room. We will start moving stuff back into place and I’ve got to brainstorm an idea for the halved table that has seen better days that we are using as counter along the side wall. Suggestions welcome!

Now go check out the Featured Participants and fellow Guest Participants! See you next week!

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Budget Home Theater – The Reasoning {ORC Fall 2018: Week 1}

If you’ve landed here from the One Room Challenge, Welcome! We’ve just purchased an 80’s contemporary home in Upstate NY that just needs a little TLC to bring her back to her former glory.  

So we’ve been living in our new home in Upstate NY for about two months now. This house is admittedly, crazy big. We really didn’t need this big of a house, but dammit did the aesthetic and location and yard and price call to us. It has turned out to be a BIT more of a fixer upper than originally anticipated, but that’s ok. Every time a new problem pops up, we find ourselves groaning for a minute, and then enjoying digging in and trying to fix the problem ourselves. We’ve gotten braver over the years and have had pretty good luck so far. Cue the angels singing harmoniously. I’m living my dream, man.

So clearly an attempt to troubleshoot a slow drain in a kitchen sink last week would snowball into creating a budget basement home theater right? I’m sorry, do you not see the obvious thought process on this one? Let me explain.

As previously mentioned, this house is quite a bit bigger than our last house. This is not often a complaint you hear from home owners. And I’m not complaining, but I do want to find ways to creatively use these spaces. Once you’ve ticked off the obvious bedroom, tv room, play room, etc. areas that a family with two young kids wants, you start to get creative with the rest. Enter the Budget Home Movie Theater on the side of our semi-finished basement.  We technically bought a screen and projector and used our old SONOS system a month ago and set it up some pillows and folding chairs and that was it. But after an attempt to unclog and plunge a slow drain in our kitchen, which in turn caused us to burst a pipe in our basement in front of the screen, which caused a disgusting amount of stinky water to spill onto the carpet, and splatter on the poorly painted walls I thought to myself, hey, didn’t the One Room Challenge start this week? Maybe this is my chance to get back into blogging after a 2 year hiatus and albeit sporadic posting schedule previous to that.

Still with me? So let’s talk about the plan and why we are calling this a budget makeover. It’s less about the ability to spend and more about the practicality of spending too much on this space.

Reason #1 – I have serious PTSD regarding water in houses (stories I’ll eventually blog about). Even though this basement is already semi-finished (distinct rooms from additions built in the 80s, wall to wall carpeting in certain areas) I will NEVER trust putting up any new drywall in a basement. I’ve been burned too many times. I don’t even get upset anymore when I see water coming in through a ceiling or wall. However, accepting home ownership woes and being a masochist are two different things. What I’m trying to say is we’ve decided to visually split the usage of this room with paint and furniture, versus adding a wall to make it distinct and separate from the typical rec-room area stuff.

Reason #2 – My kids destroy everything. This is of course a slight exaggeration, but I do not have it in me to spend thousands of dollars on a nice leather sectional while they are 2 and 4. We started a having family movie night a few months back (in NJ) and they are allowed to eat popcorn on the couch on Friday nights. Greasy, buttery popcorn. It’s October, so I can’t help but hand them little Halloween treat bags of M&Ms too. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a complete ice queen. So we are searching for second hand or cheaper (and probably not exactly pretty)  new couches for this area.  The ceiling is too low to do traditional movie theater stadium seating, though we did consider building a platform and nixed it. A sectional with a few reclining seats or a sleeper sofa (sleepovers in a few years!) is the goal.

Reason #3 – It just doesn’t seem necessary to go full fledged makeover. Is anyone else exhausted in reading about online/seeing IG photos of/watching TV shows about gut renovation jobs? I love me a good before and after, and yeah, we did that in our last house. A lot. This house doesn’t NEED any of that right now. And I’m happy to call myself a slow decorator (much to Tom’s dismay). So now that we are doing this ORC, we will probably pull together a few more things than what I would have normally done, but I can also appreciate calling a spot in our house complete.

The plan:

Clean, paint, buy seating, update the lighting, hang curtains, think of a plan for our halved table (more on that later), create a snack area, agree on movie posters to hang because why not. Maybe pretty up the rec room side of basement too, I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll have time.

And of course, thank you to Linda and the team at One Room Challenge for continuing to host such a fun group experiment. As always, the Featured Designers will link up on Wednesdays, and Guest Participants will link up on Thursday through November 8th!

(Also, if you noticed and are wondering, you are not crazy. This Week 1 post is not linked up to the Week 1 Guest page because, yeah, I’m jumping in at Week 2 and missed that boat. Please accept me for who I am as a blogger.)

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Welcome Back to I am Kilo Bravo {Vague Explanations and Managing Expectations}

**First written in October of 2017**
**Edited again in March 2018**
**Finally posting in October 2018**

I started this blog in October of 2010.  Blogging was VERY different back then. Popular, even.  Many have predicted the death of blogs due to Instagram and podcasts, but there are still a TON out there that I love reading. And I still have this personal itch to document certain aspects of my own home’s journey. I started this blog as a creative outlet to escape my mundane corporate life and because honestly, even though I’m not very good at openly admitting it, I am pretty proud of some of things we pull off in our home.  As it often happens, our lives changed dramatically over the next seven+ eight+ years. We started out in an apartment in Brooklyn, gots some cats, got married, had a baby, bought a house in NJ, had another baby, etc., etc.,…(sold our house in NJ, bought a house in upstate NY, etc., etc.,…)

We went through what felt like a horrific incident in our home in the summer of 2016.  In hindsight (as hindsight often has that way) it was totally, 100% tolerable. Not something you wish on people, but hey, we made it through and it’s a distant memory. Not long after that – and as I was finally sleeping again and feeling ready to share that story, something else happened in our family. Something that put our housing issues into major perspective. It didn’t feel right to talk about our house story in a public way anymore (for you seven readers out there that are probably personal friends anyway). How can I initially complain and then share our journey back on home renovations while someone else is going through ‘that’. While we are all going through ‘that’. While we are all still learning how to live in the aftermath of ‘that’.

The truth is that there is never really a ‘good time’ for anything. As I am often reminded, life marches on regardless. I want to begin to share certain aspects of our life because it brings me personal joy. And if I can give myself these small happinesses, I’d like to think I am a better mother, wife, and friend. Hitting publish on something I feel proud of is not unlike making it to a yoga class on Saturday for me. It invigorates me internally and I feel I am better person outwardly as well. Heck, this was all a way to escape my paying job, but I actually think I become a better employee when I allow myself to do this stuff, too. And to me, that is the point of life, right? At least I feel it is the point of my life. Trying to be the best version of myself that I can imagine? Basically thriving on all levels? (<-sarcasm font)

So I’m going to start small. I’m going to re-edit all those all old draft posts to catch you up to speed on the NJ house. And CLEARLY we’ve gotta catch up on the upstate NY house! And why not be really aggressive and attempt to be a guest participant in the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge? (Considering my last consecutive stint of blogging was Spring 2016 ORC, this makes sense to me). Be warned, my photography and photo-editing skills still suck. But most of all, thank you for reading and welcome back.