Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Basement Overhaul! ~ On a Budget

Guess What!
(And Yes, I'm sorry this is not a teacher related / school related blog post. But hey, we have real lives in the summer, right?)

The basement furniture/overhaul (on a budget) is complete! There are only a few more minor details left so I finally feel like I can share with the world what has consumed my last 2.5 weekends.....

But before I show you what I (and by I, I mean we, as in boyfriend (60%) and me (40%)) completed.

This is what I was "competing" with in the previous homeowners' basement. As you can see, they placed the "couch chair" things (lounges maybe) in the nook and the entertainment unit on the wall across (because it's previously wired for surround sound. They had finished the basement during their ownership so boyfriend was very grateful that he did not need to do the whole wiring.

And this is my blank slate, aka, what it looked like when I moved in. Now, if you recall, I moved in last April. Since then, it's become my storage space for throwing whatever doesn't have a home. It was getting bad.....

The basement is actually a very nice space in my condo. It's by far the coldest room, making me very happy in my summer times. And it also gets me out of my bedroom. Apparently I have a bad habit of using my bedroom as my personal office/dining room table/sleeping/etc. I'm working on breaking this.... as I type the post in bed.....

Now let's get started on what we did. The rules were as follows...

We had a budget. Originally, it was $500 and then I increased it to a total of $600 to include decorations along with the furniture. To make the furniture/overhaul cost effective, we were also to use readily available reclaimed barn wood. I've got my sources ;)

We had roles. Boyfriend was in charge of the logistics of how to build and I was in charge of the budget/finances. Together, we designed and combined ideas for the furniture. We butted heads a bit on this part because we both had some differing ideas. I'm good with budget being a math teacher and he's good at spending people's money. He's handy and knows how to use tools, me? I'm good at measuring and being taught how to use tools.

We had three major pieces of furniture to build in the following order: 1) couch 2) entertainment unit and 3) bar. Things were to be built in that order so that we could enjoy the progress throughout. AKA, we rented a redbox to watch a movie down in the basement one night... we like our theater.

First up, the couch. Now the couch was a bit of a stroke of genius. You see, a few months back, I got a new mattress (another bargain might I add) leaving me with my college mattress/foundation. It sat and sat and sat even though I was told repeatedly to call up Volunteers of America to donate the furniture. Clearly, my gut knew better. Boyfriend and I were discussing how the couch could be built starting off with the idea of the pallet couch we've seen on pinterest only to discover how incredibly expensive foam was leading boyfriend to the idea of using the college mattress for it's free foam. Now, I didn't exactly like the idea of cutting up the mattress so we continued to stew until suddenly... it came to us... We would use the foundation/mattress as the base of the couch and build the arms/back so that it would go around and slightly above!

Mr Sonny had a cape made for him with the extra fabric

As you can see, the reclaimed wood serves as the arm and actually has about 8 inches of space on the back end for "coffee table" purposes. These 8 inches goes over the mattress making it actually not look like a huge queen mattress. Another component that we liked about our design was that we placed casters on the bottom of the foundation so that we can wheel out the mattress and turn this into a guest bed whenever we need!

This piece was by far the most difficult and most expensive of all the pieces. Here's the breakdown of cost.

Home Depot / Lowes - $115 [Nails / Plywood (for inside of arms and inside of back) / Wood (for frame that no one sees) / L Brackets galore!]

Old Time Pottery - $150 [2 Queen Sheet Sets / 1 King Sheet Set / 1 Foam Topper Mattress Pad (This is actually used to pad the inside of the arms of the couch and the back that you lean on) / 2 King Pillows / 4 Euro Pillows / 4 Standard Pillows]

West Elm - $60 [Euro Pillow Covers - I know, these were pricey but I loved them]

Target - $30 [Coral Decor Pillows]

Total ~ $355 (The bulk of the budget was for the couch)

The biggest help in the cost of the couch was Old Time Pottery. We got super cheap sheet sets so that we could use the fabric from the king to upholster the couch and now we have guest sheets from the queen sheet extras (the fitted Queen sheets cover the foundation and mattress).

Mr Sonny loves this couch.

Next up, the entertainment unit. one of the first things that we had to do for this piece of furniture was hang the tv so that we could figure out spacing of the wood. This piece of furniture happened to be our cheapest because we only had to use the free wood we had along with nails/brackets. The more expensive aspect of this part of the project was the decor..... Did you know there is an art to shelving?

Ignore the mass amount of wires that I can't yet figure out.

The entertainment unit, itself, is framed by two large beams that have the original slots in them from holding up other beams in the barn. There are three shelves that were built into these slots each with initially one board. The bottom two shelves then were given additional width to their shelves to accommodate more storage space (still no DVDs will be on these shelves). After adding more boards to the bottom shelves, we needed additional support so we added two small blocks from the beams that were cut off previously.

Home Depot / Lowes - $40 [More Nails (needed other sizes) / More Brackets (needed signifiant support)

Let's analyze the cost of the decor, shall we?

Old Hardback Books - Free!
1907 Westinghouse Fan (purchased at the Goodwill) - Cost not Included because Purchased by Boyfriend [Fan is pretty awesome though, it used to be nicknamed the Tank because the base is made of cast iron and the blades of brass]

Globe (Target) - $15
6 Decorative Bottles - $70
Old Irons (one was made of cast iron) - Cost not Included because Purchased by Boyfriend [This is the last cost contributed by boyfriend. He didn't like my extreme budgeting so he decided these were "donations."]

Mason Jars of Various Sizes (Goodwill) - 99 cents a piece = $5
Fillers of Mason Jars - FREE! I actually filled the Mason Jars with the rusty nails/bolts/screws from cleaning up the reclaimed wood. One Mason Jar has the black piano keys from a piano that was leftover in the barn. I love these jars because I feel that they pay homage to the Barn

Total Cost of Entertainment Unit (Including Decor) ~ $130 This cost was lowered thanks to the tv already being owned by myself as well as the surround sound already being owned by boyfriend. Boyfriend did actually have a lot of things to contribute to this project, just wait til we get to the bar....

The last piece of furniture of the Overhaul was the bar. This is the one last aspect of the basement that still has the smallest task left to complete. Thankfully, by the time we got to the bar, our multiple trips to the Home Depot were near complete and left us with many materials for the bar (aka nails). So again, the bar was relatively in expensive at this point.

I like to think that the basement is Rustic Modern and it has a level of sophistication that can be found in the shelving of the entertainment unit as well as the bar. There was much compromise that had to happen in this part of the project, but it all came together. We started off by building the back shelving pieces using old Horse Door Boards. We actually used the original hinge/chain system of the boards to hold in the top shelf on either side. After these pieces were complete (including the bartender shelf to mix up concoctions), we moved onto the counter area. Then, after building the counter and the base out of 4x4 posts, we started at the empty face of the bar. Originally, we talked about doing various boards on the front but I began to grow afraid of having a log cabin in my basement. I then decided I really wanted those awesome large tile back splash / ceiling tiles that you see made of metal and cool designs. Off to Lowes' we went only to discover how ridiculous these tiles were! $20 per large tile and we'd need four!!! Alas, Boyfriend had an idea. We found a sheet of aluminum for $10 that I then spent 2 hours HAND hammering and boom, that's all me baby.

Shelving under the Bar Counter.

Waterford Crystal Bowl found at a Goodwill for $20
Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails Book on Amazon for $18 [used Discover Cashback Bonus]
Mason Jar Shaker - $9 [Goodwill Mason Jar and I found a cheap Mason Jar Shaker Top for $8]
Gramophone - Already Had ;)

Additional Shelving found on the far end of the bar. I also had to get a close up shot of my handy work. Hammering aluminum was no easy task!

Now, surprisingly, the bar was the least expensive with only about $30 at Lowe's (including multiple trips for bracket buying) and $30 spent on bar accessories. The glassware/bar mats/towels were all free courtesy of boyfriend. See! He did have quite a bit to contribute to this realm...

Grant Total of Basement Overhaul ~ $545

Well? What do you think? I must say, I'm more enticed to go down to my basement now ;)

Sonny is really tired of me taking pictures / blogging late at night.


  1. This is absolutely fabulous! I'm a little jealous :)

    1. Thanks Brooke! It's definitely become our new favorite hangout ;) And I'm thinking it might become my new school work zone.


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