Basement therapy

Hi All! Question for you: Regardless of how long you've lived in your home, have you ever wondered if the way you've arranged a certain room or area is making the absolute most out of that space? Or maybe there's a space you are not in love with, but you live with it as-is because you can't see it any other way. I think we've all been there at some time or another.

This was our basement three weeks ago: At the time of this photo, I thought our basement was as good as it could be. I didn't love it, but I didn't see it any other way.

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And around the corner, our guest 'nook'.

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Our basement is an awesome space which we are SO grateful for. We've watched all three of our kids learn how to walk down there. We love hosting friends and family for board games, movies, and football games. There's a full bathroom, windows, a laundry / storage room, and lots of floor space.

And yet...

With the position of the sectional sofa, we were splicing the floor space in half. It was making the space really choppy, with no real open room for the kids to spread out and play. Our kids, now 4, 4, and 3, take up a bit more room than they did when they were babies, and the space was just feeling smaller and smaller for them to play.

But...

Because of the exposed brick you can see in the first picture,(the remnants of an old wood-burning stove that this home had years and years before we ever moved in), we didn't really see another option for our TV. The weird panel of brick seemed like an obvious focal point for the TV to go, but that left half of the sectional sofa floating in the middle of the room, and the other half was way too close to the TV. 

So we moved some things around, you know, just to see...

We moved the TV across the room. And guess what?! Not a bad seat in the house now!

The guest nook looks just about the same, (more on that space and how I planked a wall with a Sharpie here). I'm considering adding curtains that could be anchored on either side so that when we do have overnight guests, they can have a tiny smidgen of privacy.

And there are the toys. Let's talk about toys for a sec. I know there are tremendously creative options for hidden toy storage out there and we've used a couple ideas in other areas of our home. But the truth is, I just don't mind seeing them. I'll miss them some day. I love the random arms of excavators sticking out, the inclined ladders atop the firetrucks, the rotors of helicopters, the fuzzy scarves for dress up - all those things that are really tricky to keep out of sight are okay with me in sight. We didn't have kids on accident, (well, not all of them - our third was a...pleasant surprise), so I don't try to pretend that their toys don't exist all over our home.

The sunburst mirror is the second DIY I can't wait to share from my paint stick hoard! (See the first here: The rustic wooden lampshade). I also painted the brick a very light aqua, which is way more fun down here than the previous poorly painted white.

This ottoman, which I found at Goodwill last year for $5, has seen 4 fabrics now. But this gorgeous rainbow tweed, (from JoAnns), is the tops. Here to stay. Matt even made new legs for it, (which he did for the sofa as well so that it could fit over the brick jutting out on the floor).

And this rug is my dream rug. I've wanted a black and white Swiss cross rug for a nice long time. This one cost nothing. Check out how I made it later this week!

I titled this post 'Basement Therapy' because ever since we changed the layout to what we have now, things have been different. We've hardly turned on the TV for the kids, I've heard far less arguing during their play, (which has grown even more imaginative), and the space just makes me feel peaceful and calm. I have sat down here almost every morning enjoying the early sun, listening to my children play with my Bible and journal in my lap. I don't know how else to describe it other than I am delighted by this space. Delighted by the moments that are happening because it's working far better for our family than it was before.

It took us over 4 years to try something different, but I'm so grateful for what it is now. A huge thanks to my husband for coming up with this idea and making it happen, (he worked his tech magic to reroute all the TVs cords).

Coming up, I'll be sharing some of the special DIYs that have gone into this space, as well as a couple more that are still up my sleeve. :)

Can anyone relate to today's post? Any spaces that have thrown you off a bit? I would love to hear your experience!

Thank you for stopping by!

~Chelsea

This post was published under Chelsea's Garage, now affectionately known as StyleMutt.

Our WWI Army cot

Hi guys! My favorite part of this blog, hands down, is sharing ideas. Ideas that I hope will inspire you to put your own creative touch on your home. Whether we share the same style or not, my wish for this little corner of the great wide web is to inspire you to fling the door to freedom and creativity within your own home wide open. You are one of a kind and completely unique, and so should be your home!

Today I'm really excited to be sharing a fairly unique idea. This one seemed kind of far-fetched a few months ago, mostly because I wasn't sure Matt would be on board. I really need to give him more credit! My guy, (usually), has a pretty open mind, and with his 'thumbs-up' I moved forward. I can't believe the day is here that it's a finished, functional, loved-on project! 

If you follow along on Facebook, you may have seen this photo a while back:

I asked if anyone knew what it was and wasn't surprised when, within minutes, one of my history buff uncles posted the correct answer: An old army cot! During a typical Craigslist search for some furniture to refinish, I stumbled on a listing for a handful of WWI Army cots. WWI, people! I was completely lost in curiosity. I drove out to take a look in person. It was love and intrigue at first site. The criss-crossing legs, the faded color of the wood, the old metal brackets...it was an easy purchase, (and for $40 nonetheless)! The seller, who had a handful of these, said they belonged to his grandfather who was a doctor during the war. 

Since my cot was used by a WWI doctor, (and you don't have to have a great imagination to guess what happened on these cots during those days), I really wanted to replace the original cover with something...cleaner. Vintage Army cot canvas covers are not quite a popular search, so the first company I found, Hoggan's, was basically my only source. I wouldn't imagine that WWI Army cot canvas cover replacements are in high demand, but for some reason it took almost two months for my cover to arrive from when I placed the order. But, the price was great and the quality is superb; worth the wait in my mind.

With the new canvas cover on, (an easy replacement that Matt and I took care of in 10 minutes), our WWI Army cot is being given a less eventful second life as a comfy reading, (or napping), spot in our living room!

I topped it with a pile of pillows that I made from mismatched placemats, ( how-to here), and a felt zipper pouch, all from World Market's clearance section. The whole lot of pillows cost under $15!

It's an honor to get to reinvent something with such deep history.

And it's quite enjoyed these days.

If you are local and interested in getting your hands on a WWI Army cot, please contact me! I've kept in touch with the seller and told him I'd refer any interest his way. I'd be happy to put you in touch; he's got quite a stash!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

~Chelsea

This post was published under Chelsea's Garage, now affectionately known as StyleMutt.

Our basement: Bummer to Brilliant!

Hi All! Over the last two years of documenting furniture transformations and home decorating projects on this blog, I have probably showed you our basement once or twice...maybe. It's just always been the 'leftovers' room. That space where unused decorating accents ended up. I'm all about an eclectic mix, but our basement was not the good kind. There was nothing tying any one thing to anything else. Somehow this space, where we spend most of our time together as a family, ended up the most neglected. And as a result it was bumming me out!

Here it is before we moved in:

And now - after just a bit of time and creativity!

My favorite little touch down here is most definitely the window frames. Seriously, my new gold metallic marker and I are really hitting it off together...I highly suggest purchasing one for yourself and seeing what happens next... Anyways, I wanted to maintain every ounce of light coming in through these small windows, (which we are really grateful to have considering it's a basement), so rather than dress the windows up in fabric, I drew in a herringbone pattern on their frames with my gold marker! 

It pays to be bold and try new things. You never know what you might discover! (you are looking at my most geeked out photo yet. I did tone it down before publishing...)

There's the ottoman I showed you how to recover recently, (how to create your own pattern with a metallic marker is also on that tutorial)!

The clock above the TV and the dresser-turned-media center are both refinished pieces using the same green spray paint. The clock I took apart, sprayed the frame, colored in the numbers, (with guess who? Mr. Metallic Marker), put it back together, and hung it over the old stove pipe which is exposed in the before picture. For the media center I removed the drawers, took them outside, and applied this exact same technique, except with spray paint!

As I was working on this room a pretty simple thought occurred to me. For the basic kick-back and chill-out room, the number one rule is comfort first. Furniture absolutely must be comfortable and functional. After that, there are no rules!!! Play with colors and patterns that you might not use elsewhere in your home. Grab a bunch of pillows with bright and funky patterns; throw some on the couch and stack the rest on the floor! Pull in some humorous art that would look ridiculous in your dining room. Be a little bolder than you would anywhere else and have fun with it; It'll probably work! Be brave, little flower buds.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Chelsea

This post was originally published on Chelsea's Garage, now affectionately known as StyleMutt.