Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Living room Page 1 of 4

Closing Up the Walls! A Basement Update

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I have not talked about the basement renovation for a while. Progress has been made, just not at the pace we were hoping for. But today, I think it has improved significantly compared to our last update and finally worth another post.

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First, drywall! The picture above shows the wall between the basement living space and the utility room. We took off the paneling here and some of the wall framing to open it to the living room. Below is how it looked like after we added soundproofing insulation around the furnace:

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Now, fresh drywall covered the insulation, I-beam, and the new framing around the doorway:

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We also removed all the ceiling drywall in the basement for new electrical and sound insulation. Since then, we have been looking at a sea of brown for a couple months:

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You can imagine my excitement when the ceiling drywall was hung. Bright and smooth ceiling made this space feel like a room again, even without paint:

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More drywall happened in the master bedroom. In addition to the ceiling, the newly framed soffit was covered and all the remaining walls were smoothed out:

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The vertical column next to the door contains the supporting column for the I-beam. It was exposed after we removed the closets dividing the two bedrooms.

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Inside the new soffit are the horizontal I-beam, a big air duct, and the HVAC pipes.

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A much improved look from this:

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The recessed lights and smooth ceiling definitely made the ceiling feel higher. Below is the space below Slav’s office, which will be our future walk-through closet.

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The space next to the bathroom will host our king bed and night stands. The pocket door to the right leads to the new master bath:

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Speaking of the new master bath, it is a complete different space now with the walls closed up:

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Under the window will be a shower area, hence the pebbled flooring and the red water-proof coating. The double-sink vanity and a big medicine cabinet will be mounted on the blue coating-covered wall:

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Neighboring the two doors will be the toilet. We asked the contractor to add a electrical outlet behind the toilet for a bidet attachment.

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It is not our preference to have the toilet so close to the doorways. In another words, I’d rather to have the vanity here and the toilet next to the shower. But the ceiling at this corner is lower due to an air duct, so it make the most sense to place the toilet under the lower ceiling. The pocket door will save some space in front of the toilet.

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With all the surfaces smoothed out in the bathroom, our contractor has started tiling. The floor tiles were completed last week:

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We chose a smokey black/grey color for the floor and pebbles in a similar color for the shower area. I think they complement each other nicely.

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Next week we expect to see tiles on the walls. The same dark floor tile will be carried up onto the wall neighboring the bedroom, budding against the pocket door. The end wall and the vanity wall will go white. We want the bathroom to look simple and sleek with big contrast.

I did not expect finishing drywall to be such a significant step in the basement renovation – all the sudden, all the rooms look like rooms again, which invites all the imagination on how they should look eventually. We still have lots of big decisions to make: paint colors, flooring, shower doors, bedroom closet layout, the color and finish of the stairs, and whether to drywall over the big section of paneling in the living space. Each one of these factors can drastically change the feeling of the basement.

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For example, what should we do with the living space paneling? It will not stay brown for sure. Slav insists in covering it with drywall, but I would like to paint it white first to see if they can disappear with a lighter color. What do you think? Drywall or paint?

Since we completed the demo, almost 4 months have passed. This basement renovation has been a slow and painful process, but nevertheless, I am happy to be at a point that we enjoy thinking about the basement again. In the next a few posts, we will discuss how we are gonna use the living space, the flooring choice, and the potential bedroom layout. At the meantime, I am impatiently waiting for our contractor to finish tiling and wrap up the bathroom. Because after that, it will be DIY time again!

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Cozy Up for Winter

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Coming into November, we welcomed our second winter in Colorado.

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We moved to Colorado for the snow. And it does not disappoint. We watched so many snow falls from our little ranch, and skied the best powder and most beautiful mountains we’ve ever seen.

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Although beautiful, Colorado’s winter is also cold. With the walls painted white and few furniture pieces, our living space did not feel cozy.

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I am not good at decorating. I can make a room sterile-clean, and super organized, but when it comes to making it cozy and inviting, I really struggle.

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This is how our living room looked over most of this year. Hanging art helped, but did not make the rooms come alive. 2018 is the year of improving our living space. Before the year ends, I set my mind on making our living room cozy for the winter.

The first order of business was to get a new rug. The green IKEA rug had served us well, but was way too small for this room. The pine flooring we discovered under the decade-old carpet is covered with old paint sprays. Before we have time to refinish the floor, we need a much bigger rug to cover the defects.

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Luckily, Slav has much better taste on rugs and is uncharacteristically decisive on his pick. Below are the lucky winners:

The Persian rug for the living room:

The Bohemian rug for Slav’s office:

LR Home Fusion Bohemian Oriental Black/ Blue Olefin Rug - 7'9" x 9'5"

Ordering rugs online felt risky, but when they came in, we were happy with their quality. The color in person is vibrant and the rugs themselves are plush. We bought the living room rug in 9″ x 12″, and it completely changed how our living room feels.

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The dogs love the rugs too. Charlie claimed his spot as soon as we unrolled the living room rug, before Slav even finished vacuuming:

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And he stayed on it for the rest of the day.

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While Roxie prefers a good chair, Charlie is a always a spreading-out-on-the-floor kind of dog. It is important to us that Charlie enjoys the rug.

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I used to shy away from feminine colors and usually stayed with black, white, and grey. But the large area of subtle pink on this rug grounds the room without making it look like a teen’s dorm. I love it.

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The second rug now lives in the adjacent room, Slav’s office.

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I adore the intense yellow color on this rug. This specific shade of yellow was widely used in old oriental rugs and represents significance and honor, especially when combined with black. This rug brings back so much taste of home.

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Do you love it too? It is amazing that pieces this colorful could make a space feel cozy, but not busy.

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Besides soft things, I also added a few more plants.

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My favorite is this Pothos plant.

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It is now hanging in our kitchen with a Macrame plant hanger.

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I also acquired some lights and threaded them in between the plants. They created beautiful shadows on the ceiling and are just perfect mood lighting for the room.

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Room by room, we’ve been upgrading the ceiling lights. The whole house came with the classic “nipple” lights, and they have been replaced with prettier, brighter, and more efficient LED lighting. But finding the perfect overhead light for this little hallway has been a struggle.

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We got this LED warm-light from Costco for a pretty reasonable price. Slav mounted it on in 15 minutes.

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It was perfect – it is much shorter and no longer distract the eyes from the painting on the wall. It is also bigger in diameter and fills the space with warm light.

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The new living space makes us smile every time we walk into the house. Seeing Roxie and Charlie napping on the new rugs also makes our hearts sing. After all, it is our loved ones that make a house home.

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Just like this, we cozy up for winter. We hope you are enjoying the warmest holiday weekend with your family. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Finally, Painted

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13 months after moving into our house, our living space is finally painted!!!

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Our walls and ceiling were all “white” to begin with, but the old paint reads very yellow in all the rooms and just feels outdated. The Extra White we chose is the true white color in SW. It reads a bit cool but not sterile, and brings a bit of modern feel into this old house.

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All the walls got Sherwin-Williams Extra White in Eggshell, and all the ceilings went for the same color in flat.

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We used Behr Ultra Pure White in semi-gloss on all the trims and doors throughout the main floor. Although both being white, the different sheens made the trims really pop next to the walls.

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The bedroom feels bigger with the crisp white paint:

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We painted inside the closet a lovely pink (Behr Pale Bud). I think it looks great with the bright white trims and soft grey curtains.

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Our walls were textured and it took Slav several weeks to smooth all the walls with joint compound as well as patch nail holes. Needless to say that this process produced lots of dust. It feels so good to have the house dust-free again and all the furniture uncovered.

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The puppies are more than pleased to have their favorite spots back.

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We decided at the last minute to upgrade all the wallplates, light switches, and receptacles. Not only the old ones have yellowed overtime, they were also covered with layers of paint. The screwless ones bring this house to 21 century.

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We replaced the old and dingy air duct covers shortly after we moved in. Now with freshly painted walls and new wall plate, our place feels so so upgraded.

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We used the last bit of wall paint in our kitchen. After removing some upper cabinets, we lived with a cabinet-shape yellow portion of unfinished drywall. A quick layer of white paint got rid of a major eyesore:

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And all the receptacles in the kitchen were upgraded as well:

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It feels so nice to be able to look around and see crisp white everywhere.

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Getting the place painted made a huge difference on how the main floor feels. It is a lot brighter and feels clean. Now it is finally time for flowers and art!

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Next week is our wedding anniversary and it is a big relief to finish painting before the big day. We have several fun activities lined up and I will be sure to come back to report! But first, we kick back in our bright and fresh living space, and enjoy some cut flowers and herb drinks from our own garden. Happy summer!

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