A Room for the Family

THE RAVENNA HOUSE Garrett and I have never had a family room.  Is that crazy?  I mean we've always had a living room, but never a family room.  A space to roughhouse in and play with kiddos and dogs and not worry about stains on the couch or bonked beans on the hardwoods.  We've never even had a carpeted room before.  And to tell you the truth, we've never even wanted a carpeted room before.  Hardwoods and light-colored couches worked just fine for us.

Enter baby Wilder.

That 9-month-old crawls everywhere!  He wants to chew on the coffee table and run into every sharp angle and fall on every hard surface he can find.  He wants buckets of toys and stacks of board books in the middle of the living room.  He pushes his car around the table and into the dining chair legs.  He carries around fistfuls of saliva-soaked bread and apples slices and hides them in the sofa.


So, time for a family room.

We carved out about 350sf in the basement of the Ravenna House between the stairs and the bathroom for exactly that purpose.  We've put in a large window for natural daylight and legal egress, framed the walls, rebuilt the stairs, and polished the concrete wall (more on that later). Papa's ran the wiring and put in the can lights and outlets.  The sheetrock is hung and mudded (we hired that out so it would be done before we moved in).  And last week put in the built-ins.  

Here's what it's looking like now.  I'll move counterclockwise from the stairs, so you can get a feel for the whole space.  Excuse the mess!




Can we talk about the built-ins for a second?  They have been collecting dust in the basement of the Bryant house ever since I found on them Craigslist back in October.  We weren't in the market for custom maple built-ins but they were in amazing condition and I thought, why not?  They would make great storage and really help classy up the basement a bit.  Best part was they were listed for $200.  Crazy, right?!

Garrett and a friend took the truck over to fetch them that very same afternoon.  And what's better then getting custom maple built-ins for $200?  Custom maple built-ins for $160!  Yup, Garrett bargained the price.  Can you say #craigslistscore?!  I mean who sells dovetailed drawers and solid wood cabinets for $160?  Apparently someone who wants them gone!

We were happy to oblige.

Basement 15 4-4-14


Basement 2 4-4-14

Nice, right?  I mean we need to find the missing doors (they're rumored to be in Papa's car - there's the culprit there with the measuring tape) and the honey finish looks a little too twenty-first-century for our 88 year-old house, but nothing a screwdriver and a can of Benjamin Moore's Simply White paint can't fix.  I'm really happy with the scale of them (about 10' in length and 6.5' tall).  And the solid construction.  They actually proved to be more solid then I even anticipated.  About 500lbs solid.   It took three of us to get them down the stairs at the Ravenna House.

So, the family room is coming together.  I'm working on the finishes right now.  Carpet, paint, trim...you know, the good stuff!  I'm getting really excited about how we're going to use this space when it's finished.  I'm imagining lots of playing and cuddling and hanging out down there.  Bubba's going to love rolling around on the carpet.  Wilder's going to love rolling around with him and having a spot to rock out to his toddler tunes (aka do his bouncy dance).  I am going to love having a spot besides the living room to use the elyptical machine.  And Garrett, well he's probably going to love just being done with this room...someday.


p.s. dreaming hard core about this local Seattle project.  Yes, I know it's already pending.  And yes, it's way out of our price range.  But a girl can dream!

p.p.s.  I didn't even know a house could look like this...and it's in Portland!  Add this to the list of my favorite renovations EVER!  Article originally in the New York Times.

p.p.p.s. Our kitchen sink stopped draining last week.  We thought the side-sewer was clogged and were bracing ourselves for a lot of digging and a large bill.  But, lucky for us it was much simpler then that.  Turns out someone (ahem) forgot to remove the test cap after the inspection.  Garrett pried it out and we were on our way.  Unfortunately not before cutting a giant hole in our new drywall.  Oops.

Plumbing Issue 3