Basement Progress: A New Old Hallway

It’s been a while. We have quite a bit to catch up on including potty training, a week in Florida, and all the ways that Analiese seems to be growing up way too fast. We’ve also been sick on a monthly basis, which is probably the main reason why I haven’t been writing as much. Sometimes other things in life just have to come first.

Another reason for our absence here could be chalked up to the fact that we have an impending deadline on when we want the basement to be finished. So, most weekends and week nights after Analiese goes to bed are spent trying to make that a reality. Which brings me to an update…

You may remember this unsightly view from our side entrance which leads directly to the basement:

Here’s another view:

How I don’t miss those blue walls one bit.

Once the plaster walls were removed and disposed of, we lived with bare studs for a while. They were waiting patiently for something fabulous. They deserved an amazing makeover and we planned to give it to them in the form of distressed pine boards.

We did the math–hello, high school algebra. I better relearn a few things before Analiese is doing this stuff for homework!–and purchased the right amount of 1×6 pine boards (Actually, I forgot to account for an entire section of the wall, so a second trip was needed, but we had enough to get started with). We made our selection based on the ones that had the most knots and natural imperfections because the next step was going to be beating them up anyway in an attempt to achieve an old, rustic look. We figured the more natural imperfections, the less we had to do to create them ourselves.

This took place during potty training week. It was a perfect way to de-stress (which I needed) until it became really uncomfortable to sit like this with my growing baby belly. We eventually set up a table to do the remaining sanding, beating, and cutting.

As I finished a batch, Ross and I switched our basement/Analiese duties and he started hanging them.

Evenutally he ran into the future location of some recessed lighting and had to do some measuring…

and cutting of his own.

And soon, after many many hours of this back and forth, we had this:

At this point, we had to decide how we wanted to finish the wood. I had lots of ideas that would have required tracking down a few unknown products and many steps. This was originally the route I wanted to take:

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The blogger who posted the tutorial on how to achieve this yummy chippy paint look even emailed me back to let me in on a must have product for achieving an authentic chippy paint look without actually painting something and chipping it away: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. But that stuff is expensive and I know all of the other steps in the tutorial would be very time consuming. It may not seem so at times, but I do have the ability to keep things realistic and within budget.

And so…we decided to go the classic stain route, which still had its fair share of steps involved–stain, poly, sand (220), poly, sand (220), poly, sand (600)–but it was a manageable process that Ross and I could do together to save time. I guess this is what dating looks like for us these days.

A few nice days allowed for windows to be opened to allow for better air flow during the staining process. And we opted for a water-based, low-odor polycrylic satin finish. And…tada!

The color is Minwax’s Special Walnut. Knowing that I didn’t want it to be too dark, I literally wiped off the stain immediately after applying it to a very small section. I found it was best to get into the cracks, dents, holes, etc. first and then do a clean swipe across the boards before wiping away the excess. It still looked pretty dark once it dried, but after the first phase of sanding, it looked much more like the color I was hoping for. It goes great with the chocolate ceiling and exposed steel beam which is painted the same color.

We also made some progress with the trim around the doors. I opted to paint them before putting them up to attain a really clean line between the stained wood and painted trim. Of course, I’ll need to go back and do some touch up now that there are a good amount of nail holes in them.

Here’s a close-up of the walls:

And once the final phase of sanding was done we could finally put the trim around the lights. Gotta love these finishing touches.

Depending on the light, the ceiling and walls tend to take on a different color, but I assure you, they are the same. Same wood. Same stain.

Ross did a great job with the trim, too. It had to go through the same stain, poly, sand, etc. process as the rest of the wood and then cut to the right angles to fit just right. And for the record, our stairwell was not originally constructed with right angles, which was an added challenge in the whole endeavor.

Once we realized that we could officially finish part of the basement, I ran out to Lowe’s to pick up switch plate covers. I slapped them on, waved my hand around the small area and told Ross, “we are done with this spot.”

It’s the little things that keep us going on this one!

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