Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Whole New World

We may have lost all activity on our blog since our last post was in November, but actually we have been pretty busy around here in The Blooming House. However, we have only gotten as far as documenting the progression of our home without sharing the final results. Our camera(s), digital and cellphone have been reaping the rewards with nothing to show for on the blog unless we have any visitors drop by and we are able to share first hand.

Since we last blogged we have extended the living space of our home by adding a new stairway to a fresh and clean new basement. Hence the title to our post, a whole new world. No, we're not singing Disney tunes over here, although we're so happy that we just might! Let us explain...

When we first moved in The Blooming House we had every intention on tackling the basement as it was (semi)finished, but very much project-worthy. It was such a great space that seemed to be untouched by the previous homeowners, but we quickly learned it was not quite up to living-par lets just say. Unfortunately we had to learn the hard way that the peel n' stick tiled basement had become the litter box of what seemed to be 10,000 cats. Ok, so I'm exaggerating, but the reason the ammonia levels were so high once we were ready to project the heck out of the basement was all because of a few tarps we had laid down months ago.

You may remember the workstation we had set up in the basement when we removed all the kitchen cabinets to sand and paint them. And if you scrolled strolled down memory lane in the link, you'll see all the tarps we laid down to protect the cabinetry and definitely not the floors. Well, we finally came to the big day when were were ready to remove the tarps to rip up the lovely faux marble peach and navy blue, WITH gold trim detailing I might add, peal n' stick tiles from the basement to make a fresh start.

But it wasn't so fresh. You see, we created a MONSTER under those tarps because for months we were not aware of the massive amount of dried cat urine on the tiles. (yes, we totally left this portion of the house untouched and shoes were a must when visiting the depths of our house)

Sidebar: I know this is really gross to share, but I'm only informing you for your own good as there were a number of steps to take to move forward in this project without us hightailing it out of the house for good and never looking back. PLUS: someone out there may stumble across a cat problem of their own and the information we had found was very helpful since our basement reno was a success in the end!

So there we were removing the tarps from the floor and the stench just continued to wrap around us   more and more. I seriously asked Tommy if we had ruined our home by allowing the tarps to create a place where moisture was building up and the cat urine had grown to unsafe conditions. We knew that the owners had a cat... but this was just crazy. And in comes my exaggerated 10,000 cat count again, that is how bad and dangerous the smell was, with masks on and all. It was just so frustrating to experience something so sad and neglecting to their family pets, but to allow their home, that we find so important to us, to get to this point.

But moving on since I feel as we may lose any remaining Blooming House followers by the second. To fix the smelly issue we researched online that once the tiles were removed that we would have to follow a strict regimen of a bottle of straight white vinegar, (not diluted) let the concrete floor dry out with the help of two rotating fans and then to follow up with a healthy batch of a diluted bleach wash to add to the smells of chemicals in our house. All we could think of at this point was, "Anything but the cat smells." We of course did these treatments with masks and tried to keep the fans rolling to keep a good air flow.

Here's a look at how it appeared from the lens of our camera that smelly day.

 Tommy kept his spirits up as the ammonia levels rose.

 We picked up an ice scraper from Ace Hardware that was the exact width of our lovely tiles so... sayonara suck-ahhs! The ice/tile scraper did the trick in less then 30 minutes.

The demo also include the removal of the teal baseboards that the sellers had picked out and installed to go with their delightful faux-Vegas hotel flooring, exhibit A.

Along with all the hard work we put into this particular demo (and yes, I DO participate and not just in the photo shoots) we were unable to recover a few fallen nails while piling up the baseboard trash out back and ended up with not one flat tire, but replacing two and one of them had two nails in it. Two points for the cat pee flooring. (sigh)

At this point, we learned from our good friends at Ace Hardware that the next part to our feline fix was to paint the floor with a special kind of schalack that would knock out the smell and any stains left behind, along with locking out any moisture being that it is a basement. We were warned it would be, get this, incredibly foul smelling. Okay, so we're covering up the smell with... more smell? The Ace guys weren't kidding though. It was even more intense then the ammonia, but the next day the smell was magically gone and we were smooth sailing onto the next step in the reno - new flooring!
We had to remove the current carpet on our stairs off the kitchen since it was going to get re-carpeted as well. I'll refrain from any more cat convo, but we are now cat dander free!

This is before the removal. The door at the top of the stairs is the back door, otherwise known as 'the blue door' that we decided to keep in its original form while renovating our kitchen to give you an idea where we're at in the house.

I will not lie, I did not partake in this portion, but let me be clear, he was a proud lil homeowner that night. Once the carpet was up then came the removal of the foam, tacking strips and staples. That part was pretty time-consuming.

 Door Number 1 straight ahead is what I like to call, 'the creepy closet' which holds most of our home reno tools and paints. Door Number 2 to the left is the stripped basement and Door Number 3 to the right is what we used as our dumping zone.

We created a very unorganized area, aka The Dumping Zone in the laundry room while working on the basement living area. After the carpet was installed we got our laundry room back and I got the itch to reorganize and do a little selling on Craigslist of my own after de-cluttering the area.

We contacted a few carpet vendors to come out and show us some samples, but after the first guy found a discounted price on a "scrap" piece in the warehouse, we were sold and set up the installation day! One hour and 15 minutes later that day, here's what the installation guys had left us, A WHOLE NEW WORLD down there!

After painting the stair's woodwork to match the remaining house trim it really brightened things up!

We had to remove the railing in the stairway to paint and match it to the rest of the woodwork. Best idea yet: before the carpet was installed, (because it was so grimy) I sanded and spray painted it right on the basement floor to prime it and then put on a nice coat or two of our Moonlight White paint by Behr that we use throughout The Blooming House.

 Oh how I love our blue door.

Since the final photo of the carpet installation we have re-painted ceiling with a nice clean white coat, washed and painted the walls a pale, mint green and installed new baseboards while checking off the tasks as we go.

With the carpet down (and soon you will see the finished living space) we're SO happy with the final outcome. It truly has become a whole new world down there.

Stay tuned to the next post with photos of our finished basement all moved it. Along with a sneak peek at the accent wall feature that we're looking forward to installing. (Hopefully this summer!)

1 comment:

  1. Looks fantastic lauren! it's truly totally different. what a project! I remember your ambitious idea with the accent wall and CANT wait to see that come to fruition! :)