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Closing the Basement Chapter

When we last talked about the basement garden unit, we were in a mad dash to complete (what felt like) a mile long punch list. We had less than 2 weeks to get through it, but only a handful of days before our out-of-town guests starting arriving before the holiday week. Still feeling frustrated that we were so behind on the other things we wished we were doing – paint the living room, add storage to the kitchen, tile our entryway, etc. – we said that our only hope was to complete the basement before the first guest arrives.

Oh, we were silly.

We didn’t finish before our friends made it from Portland to Chicago, but the good news is that without us even asking, they packed “work” clothes along with them. From the first night they were here (before we even put air in the extra mattress!), they were in the basement alongside us, patching drywall, installing switch plates and scrubbing the tile. But first, remember where we started? Here are the various before photos I snapped – everything from move-in day to progress:

The basement didn’t appear that bad. But as we mentioned here, the more we worked in that unit, the more things we uncovered – missing baseboards, yellowed doors and trim, cracks in the foundation, and the list goes on and on. But! Let’s no longer dwell on the past; rather, let’s officially close this basement chapter.* Because finally, after weeks and weeks of spending every evening devoted to that lowest level (and with the tremendous amount of help from our cross-country buds), we were able to move on to the most gratifying of all the projects – paint!

(*On a side note, there is still an access panel that needs to be added next to the laundry room [and a refrigerator for the kitchen and new outdoor lights!]. While it wasn’t funny at the time, that piece of wall was opened up on Thanksgiving morning to fix a plumbing issue, which was continually causing our first floor shower to flood!)

Now, the basement is looking cleaner, brighter and more put together. It looks like a pretty nice place to live, and it’s much more spacious that our first Chicago apartment and our teeny, tiny condo!

As a member of the Ace Hardware blog team, we were so fortunate to be able to try out their newest line of Clark + Kensington paint. We asked our renter what colors she was drawn to, and she – just like us – prefers the cooler shades of grays. While the main living space “after” doesn’t look too much different than the “before,” it’s actually a cleaner gray (the former color had a pretty hefty yellow undertone to it): Clark + Kensington’s Silver Dollar. It’s probably one of the most neutral grays we’ve seen – not too cold, not too warm, no hints of pink or purple; overall, it’s a subtle, soft hint of gray (the Holy Grail, we think?). The bathroom and kitchen got a soft blue-green, Clark + Kensington’s Misty Moor, and both colors were painted using Flat Enamel (our favorite finish for a still wipe-able, matte look).

We actually love Misty Moor so much, we’re wondering where we can use it our own home (the bathroom? A guest room?), and overall, we’re pretty satisfied with the paint quality. It was nice and thick, however, some areas did require a second coat for the most cover.

Of course the best part of working with Ace Hardware is sharing the goods with you, too, so together with Ace, we’ll be giving away a $100 Ace Hardware gift card to one lucky reader! What do you need? Paint? Liners, trays and brushes? A new power tool? (Ooh, yea.) Using the Rafflecopter widget below, enter as many ways as you’d like. Giveaway runs through Monday, December 9th at 5pm CST, and the winner will be announced within this post. Good luck and happy entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We’ve partnered with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel. Ace has provided us with the tools and materials necessary to complete this project (hey, thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own.


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  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie12.5.13 - 7:07 AM

    Wow! It’s looking great!

    We, too, found all kinds of “fun” things when we started working on our house… like how whomever laid the tile didn’t put backer board down, so right after we moved in all of the tile started cracking the kitchen and bathrooms… and after knocking out one section of a wall, we just boarded it up and decided not to even go there! I’m glad your PDX friends were there to help you out – those are some truly great house guests!ReplyCancel

  • Alison F.12.5.13 - 7:31 AM

    Thanks for the giveaway! Way to close out 2013 on a productive note!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square12.5.13 - 8:55 AM

    I really love the new gray color! And the change from boob light to drum shade, love that too. Thanks for hosting the giveaway! We need so many painting supplies, our house projects are coming along, but there’s still a long way to go. I know you can relate. :) I’m inspired by your progress on the basement!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim12.5.13 - 9:02 AM

    Emily, that sounds similar to an issue we had in the basement, too! And no kidding, best house guests ever. We couldn’t have tied up all the loose ends without them!

    Laura, yup, every single lighting fixture was switched out. We just couldn’t take all those boob lights…ReplyCancel

  • andee12.5.13 - 9:08 AM

    Where did you get the flush mount drum-shade light in the living space? I’ve been looking for something similar in our bedroom and can’t find it. It looks great!ReplyCancel

  • misie12.5.13 - 10:21 AM

    Looks great guys! You have one lucky tenant!ReplyCancel

  • blair {at} the fox and she12.5.13 - 11:09 AM

    It looks great you guys!! I always get so inspired when I see what you’ve done :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah12.5.13 - 11:57 AM

    Looks so great! It’s incredible how bright that space is as a basement/garden level unit! I continue to be amazed at the amount of progress you all have made on your home. I know you’re sick of the endless necessary projects, but you’re doing a wonderful and inspiring job. Thanks for letting all of us random internet strangers follow the transformations.ReplyCancel

  • Alexis12.5.13 - 1:01 PM

    Looks incredible!ReplyCancel

  • Kristi12.6.13 - 7:48 AM

    Look great. Like the lookReplyCancel

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