Framing and painting the workshop

I feel like I can stop being a broken record. I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “We’re going to start the workshop,” or “The workshop is next!” or some iteration of that, but if we’re talking over/under 100… I’d bet over. Yesh! When it comes to this renovation, it’s always funny to look back at what we thought would happen vs. what actually did happen. Well, most days it’s funny…

But I digress. Here’s a statement I’m loving: The workshop is underway!

I thought you might need a refresher on the layout of the basement. It’s basically a blank slate with columns running down the middle.


Although it normally looks more like this…


We decided to dedicate nearly half of the space to the workshop (after changing things up a little.) The “New” layout is still the plan.


That required constructing walls between the columns and at the front of the workshop to define the space.


That picture kind of sucks. Here’s a better view with the walls filled in. We used 3/4″ treated plywood to serve as walls and work as a good base for anything Aaron wants to hang.


The walls and ceiling got a coat of white primer and white paint. Instantly it feels so much brighter and much more fresh in here.


He also topped the floor with two coats of Rustoleum’s EPOXYSHIELD in gray gloss (minus the flecks, because why do epoxy floors need specks?)

Here’s the opposite view (looking toward the stairs) before and after paint.

006workshopframepaint 007workshopframepaint

It feels GREAT to see progress on the workshop! Next up: moving some of the big tools in, running more electrical, and adding lights!

What’s your broken record project? The one you can’t stop talking about for good or bad reasons?

New plans for the basement

When I showed you a few updates from our massive pre-Open House cleaning spree, I neglected to shoot the basement thanks to a burnt out light. It’s all good though, because you deserve a proper update on our nether regions (not THOSE nether regions…)


The basement isn’t looking too bad. Nearly all of the tools and construction equipment that was residing in the living room made its way downstairs.


It certainly isn’t perfect down here, but I don’t have to walk by it every day. So there’s that.


We put up some shelves in the corner by the water heater. They are holding miscellaneous photography business stuff, Christmas decorations and boxes of childhood memories that our parents forced upon us when we bought our first house. Apparently, they were done fondly remembering the years of our youth and wanted to make better use of their space…


Aaron also installed our new chest freezer!


And apparently the sump pump is collecting yard tools.


The real story down here is that we inadvertently lied to you. After we sealed the basement, I said “guess what’s coming next guys?!?!” and tossed down this not so subtle clue.


Even in our 6 month update, I perpetuated the now discarded layout.



So maybe “lying” is a bit harsh. There was no malicious intent. The notion of living in a space before you make changes is certainly a wise one. Things are a changing down here:


Still the same basic functions (workshop, wine cellar, and storage) but in a new and improved configuration. It might make more sense if we take a bird’s eye view.


The focus of the original plan was to send people straight into the heart of the wine cellar. Basically, everything else was secondary. And we even had a big chunk of space that was just going the be open. (Yeah, I’m confused looking at this too.) A few things prompted the layout change:

  • The wine cellar square footage really started to shrink once Aaron thought about how much clearance he would need for tools and furniture to come in out and out of the basement. Walking things straight in and out is a much easier path.
  • Moving the workshop also allowed for access to the two windows. These will provide much needed ventilation and some natural light. As part of the wine cellar they would stay boarded over and Aaron’s respiratory system could be in serious danger in the other corner of the room.
  • The arrangement actually allowed us to expand the footprints of the workshop and the wine cellar, which I’m sure we’ll put to good use.
  • The storage space is filling in the cracks a bit. The storage between the two will be narrow, but we’ll utilize all the space by building shelves between the pillars. Larger items can go near the water heater.

Still with all those changes we worried that we were losing some of the elegance of the original design. We really wanted to be able to send guests down to the wine cellar and not “past the workshop and around the water heater to the door with the wine behind it.” We settled on a longer path to the wine cellar, but one that was a bit more finished feeling. So the white space in the layout will be semi-finished with walls and doors covering all of the useful bits. It will make a bit more sense once we can implement some of our design aesthetic… which seems to be our mantra here. “Just wait. It will make sense… and then totally blow your mind.”

So that’s what’s going on in our down under. It took a little more thinking to get to a design that really maximizes the space. What’s your M.O. for tackling renovations? Do you dive right in or make a plan and let “living in the space” tweak it to perfection?

How many lockers is too many?

Upon reading the title of this post, if your first thought was “there’s no such thing,” then welcome. You have found kindred souls. Our love of lockers knows few bounds, so when we saw this Craigslist post (Apparently my proclamation that we don’t watch Craigslist prompted Aaron to do just that) we both had the same reaction: BUY THEM ALL! Really, where can you NOT use old lockers? The awesome bathroom and the workshop were clear candidates for rows of these cheap, metal beauties.


When Aaron got a hold of the seller, it turned out to be a Habitat for Humanity ReStore situation. The non-profit company strips items from old buildings and resells them. Aaron headed to the warehouse and snagged 12 towers for $290 thanks to an on-the-spot discount. Our locker loving hearts were heaven. The company even delivered them. Then, of course, we got busy and they sat in the studio for longer than I care to admit.


Craigslist struck again when Aaron found an X-ray viewing light box (the kind that hang in hospitals) for sale by the same company. When he ran out to pick it up he noticed that they had even MORE lockers. His practicality kicked in and he opted to leave the lockers, but mentioned to the owner that he loved them more than the ones we’ve been hoarding.

The next day, the owner called asking if Aaron would be up for a trade. He knew a woman who wanted the cubby-style lockers we had and was willing to trade his lockers +$50. Aaron negotiated the swap and smartly included the stipulation that the owner had to help carry the new lockers downstairs. That’s a double win – aweseomer lockers and cheap labor.


While not as plentiful, these lockers a better size and in fantastic condition! They will be perfect for containing tools and other workshop clutter.


For now they are just hanging out in the corner of the basement… which is way better than hanging out in the studio.




Is anyone else as infatuated with old lockers as we are? Truth be told these are not the only lockers waiting in the wings at the firehouse. We scored a set of old bowling alley lockers that will serve as vintage camera storage once we can dig them out and spray paint them (white, of course). Oh and we picked up ANOTHER stand alone vintage locker a few weeks ago because the price was just too good.

Ok, seriously – how many lockers is too many?