Space Revisions

Happy Star Was Day! May the 4th be with you!  We are celebrating with a Carbonite Han Solo cake. Well, I envisioned it looking like on Pinterest, but . . . not even close. Chocolate cake, ganache between the layers, white buttercream frosting tinted grey, black details. Umm, the general shape is right. Maybe I should have just bought that Darth Vader cake pan. Never the less, we are eating it.

Continuing on yesterday’s post-Personal Space, I’m sharing about creating my own zen den, my home office/craft studio/retreat/paradise.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on  a room design, don’t you think?

NOPE! I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I can get lost for hours on HGTV. I love to watch the shows where they redefine their space, carve out a more functional usage, and  make it scream my personal space. I guess you can say this has been a long time in coming, fueled by my obsession with the Property Brothers, Chip and Joanna Gaines, and my Pinterest boards for home designs and DIY crafts. That combined with the need for my own space.

Like most of our friends, we live on a limited budget. In order to have funds to do home projects, sacrifices have to be made in other areas. The food budget has been tightened. I make a weekly menu with nutritious meals, plan my shopping accordingly, and don’t buy junk food. We average $125 a week for a family of four adults. (My kids are no longer kids,  but adults –  eek!)  The weekly amount of 25 to 30 dollars saved has added up over months, so now we can buy supplies to renovate. We are not going to take on debt in order to do this,  so we use the limited funds that we have.

Where do we begin?

With a plan of course.

20160502_090310It’s crude, I’m not an architect. It’s a place to start.  A brief key: outside walls marked with bolder grey. Rectangles in outer line –  basement windows. Yellow highlighter – light fixtures; x-ed out is existing that will be changed. Areas marked with hashed lines are storage – either closets or shelves. Currently, the bolded grey lines are the only existing walls.  The exterior concrete walls, the office space that my husband enclosed when he was finishing his degree, and  the wall against the stairwell.  I went through five plans before arriving at this one.

We start with a general open concrete space, filled with 20 years of accumulated  stuff, poorly or not at all organised.  The washer and dryer will stay where they are,  the water heater will need to be moved and secured to an exterior wall because of potential earthquakes, where currently it sits a foot from the furnace/central air unit. The four dark dots down the center are support posts, which are immovable.  They are bigger around than a standard 2 x 4 wall, so  they will be incorporated into  a wider space  the width of a bookshelf, or storage shelves.

As you may notice, I don’t have measurements. We’ll address those as we get there. You know, when we can actually start  improving the area.

On the exterior of the  existing office is our current pantry area, aside from the shelves against the wall, it’s disorganised.

His office is going to become our private den area. We have a lovely leather love seat, antique table, and bookshelf (of course) for this area.   Our adult oasis.

Eventually, we’ll get the rest of the area claimed,  but for now, it’s a 3 step process:

  1. My office
  2. The private den
  3. functional and tidy laundry area


This is the current state of my office space.  I’ve moved  the equivalent of a truckload of  fabric, craft stuff, seasonal clothes, and various things that will probably end up at Goodwill.  The file cabinet is full and the bookshelf needs to be emptied. The cabinet area below the books is also filled with books.

The shelf above the freezer will be emptied and moved, and the freezer will be moved to the pantry area. The storage behind the stairs will remain as it is for now. OK, maybe I’ll replace the  animal print with something to match my envisioned decor theme.


The remaining items that need to be moved – more tubs of seasonal and kids clothing; craft stuff, a child’s rocker, the grow light – once upon a time we had plant starts for our garden. I’m considering keeping it and adding some greenery to the area, but still undecided.  I’ll take down my map,  but I think I’m still going to use them. I have maps of Hawaii, Bahamas, Caribbean,  Puerto Rico, Isreal, and Europe. OH, and I have a framed old world map with the  sea monsters and Greek gods on it! I am considering aging the other maps,  tearing  and burning the edges, then having them framed. I also have a topographic map of the ocean floor, I just need to find it in all this junk. My degree is in cartography, and yes I like old maps, new maps, astrolabes, and compasses.

The single light fixture will be replaced with two. I know on my little sketch that I have four (indicated with yellow highlighter) but I think 2 in this area will be sufficient. Funny story –  while looking online for light fixtures, the first one that I came with looked like light fixtures that might have been inside the Titanic so I’m like oh yes , these! Until I saw the price. $159. a piece. I wouldn’t get very far into this if I selected those.  Maybe down the road, but not now. Instead, I found some for $19.99 a piece so even if we go with four, it’s affordable.

Outlets and light switches will need to be added to the walls. The back section of the office will be shelves for storage, and a table for crafting/sewing/sorting.

I’m pretty stoked about this project and have been working every day on clearing out the area. I have come across a couple of problems. First one,  which resulted in the five revisions of floor plans was that  in order to put a bathroom in the basement, we’d have to cut through the floor and add a clean out. We decided that was a bigger and more costly problem than we wanted to address.  Scratch the  original plan with the bar, kitchenette, and spa/resort deluxe bathroom.

Second issue –  the musty basement smell.  I have checked every area that I possibly can. There is no visible evidence of leaking. We have a dehumidifier, but there is a noticeable musty smell. There is a floor drain next to the furnace, which I sprayed a bleach solution on then scrubbed. Other than that, I see no mold anywhere either. Never the less, the smell. . . .so I researched online how to remove the smell. Aside from spraying any known leaks with a bleach solution,  there were two other suggestions. Place open containers of regular charcoal around the space. The second one was to place shallow bowls of cat litter around the area.

I’m doing both today. I’ll let you know if it works. Hopefully,  it will help. I’m thinking that some fans for circulation might help, as well as green plants. While  hubby plays handyman with the electrical and drywall, I am plotting my paint and decor scheme.

I get easily overwhelmed with the amount of work. It has taken me a full week of moving stuff to get it to this point, and there is more to do before we can do any real construction.  I have spent probably an equal amount of time moving stuff as I have standing and staring at the monumental task before me.

I need a sense of order, an organised and dedicated space of my own.

Stay tuned  as we continue to carve out personal space. I’ll share some in progress as well as the big reveal when it’s all finished!

Coming soon –  home decor theme/decor reveal! 

Write on my friends, write on!