Our house was built in 1913 which means it comes with more than it’s share of quirks. The wood floors downstairs were unevenly stained by a previous owner. The kitchen has five doors and no cabinets. No one would ever be able to sneak up the stairs because of the squeaks and the kids’ rooms have funhouse floors. The door of the built in medicine cabinet in the upstairs bathroom sticks. There are light switches throughout the house that don’t seem to turn anything on or off. But we have put a lot of work and love into this house over the years and we have definitely brought out the best in it. It is a beautiful old house.
Except for the basement.
The basement has remained the basement of a house built in 1913, which means that sometimes it has felt about a step above a root cellar. Ok, that’s an exaggeration but it has never been a space we could do much about. We’ve used it as storage and as a laundry room. It’s always been a little musty, the walls a little crumbly. We did replace the old scary furnace and the water heater but other than that, we just ignored it.
Then, at the beginning of this summer, I suggested to Luisa that we have the walls skimmed and have a couple of glass block windows put in where the windows had been boarded and sealed. We got an estimate and it seemed doable, so, we spent a weekend in August emptying everything from our basement and bringing it to the main level of our house. We told ourselves it would only be for a couple of weeks - a month at most.
Projects always turn out to be more complicated than expected, don’t they? This one turned into a major project and cost more than we had planned. And through no fault of our wonderful contractor, they just finished. That means that everything from the basement has been in the living areas of our house for nearly 3 months. It’s looked like an episode of Hoarders and I do not deal well with clutter.
But we are in the last stages now. Luisa and I are painting the basement and we hope to be able to move everything back into the basement soon. It’s still not a modern, finished basement but it will be more several steps above a root cellar now.
I’m trying to find the lesson in all of this. Maybe it’s “Home ownership is expensive,” or “Old houses are hard to keep up,” or “Minimalism is where it’s at.” But I think the real lesson might be, “Don’t listen to Vikki when she says, ‘I have an idea for a little project.’”