Basement library complete

Here’s the after to Tuesday’s before, with my row of Bestå shelves from Ikea fully assembled. The doors went on Monday night, and the books went in the last few nights. I’m still waiting on one glass door and a few DVD organizers for the small shelf to the right, which will help with the clutter there.

The hardest thing about the shelves is probably just deciding where to put them to maximize storage. The shelves that meet the bottom of the glass doors need to stay fixed, and there are LPs behind the bottom doors, so that dictates the position of two shelves; and there needs to be another fixed shelf about a third of the way down for stability. But there are a lot of options for the other shelves. I ended up doing something I swore off years ago: sorting books by size and spacing the shelves accordingly. I bought five extra shelves for the units I bought (comprising four 75-inch bays and one 50 inch bay), and I think I still need to buy one or two more extras.

Bonus: click through on the photo and look at the “original size” version on Flickr, and you can get a pretty good look at the titles in my library.

Basement update: bookcases are in

A quick update on our basement project: it looks like we’ll make our deadline. The picture to the right shows a stage in the completion of the project, with the Bestå bookcases mostly assembled and the Flor carpet in.

I was able to finish the carpet with about an hours’ worth of work on Sunday. I was pleased with how well it came together and how solid it seems now that it’s settled in for 48 hours. Oh yes–and it’s bright too! Hoo boy. But it works in the otherwise slightly dark basement room, and helps set it aside as a “family” room as opposed to our more formal spaces.

The bookshelves were pretty straightforward too, though assembling three sets of shelves takes a little time. They’re cam-locked standard Ikea frames, just like a Pax closet or Akurum kitchen cabinet, or just about any other flat pack furniture, so the timely part is in leveling them so that the doors will line up properly, and in securing them to the wall. I was luck and hit studs going into four out of the six locations that were recommended as anti-topple points, so between that and the fact that the frames were screwed together I think we’re in business.

Since the picture was taken, I’ve finished hanging the glass doors on the front of the cabinets and have begun loading in the contents, which will take a while. I’ll post one more update when the shelves are all loaded in.

Basement progress update

We’re bound and determined to finish the basement project before the middle of next week. Why? Well, we’ll have both my parents and my sister visiting, and we only have one currently usable guest room… so it’s crunch time.

Fortunately, Lisa and Esta decluttered a lot of stuff and painted a lot of the basement last week, and Lisa and her Mom and I finished it over the last few days. So today was finishing day, beginning with a quick trip to Ikea to buy the bookshelves (detouring around the big fireball on Rt 128). More on the shelves tomorrow.

I bought a door to replace the water damaged one last weekend, and did a trial hanging of it today, mortising the hinges against the door and the frame. (Whoever hung the last door didn’t bother to mortise the hinges, just screwed them into the frame directly.) Then Lisa started painting the door, and I started laying the carpet.

We’re using Flor tiles for the carpet, and it’s kind of interesting. They come in boxes of 18 inch square tiles, and you start laying them down the center of the room on both axes, get them lining up as you like them, and then start filling in the four corners that are left. The tiles float above the subfloor, and are joined together by “dots”–essentially large stickers with heavy duty adhesive that join the corners together. It all goes very easily, until of course you get to the edge of the wall. Then the swearing begins. While Lisa put a coat and a half of paint on the (thankfully preprimed) door, I got about a wall and a half done along the edge, including the fireplace, before we had to knock off for the night.

Tomorrow’s job is to finish the carpet tiles, hang the door, and assemble the shelves. Then we can load the books and records back in, and find out how many books I have to find another home for. We won’t have a new sleeper sofa by Thursday, but we’ll have most of the room done, and that’ll be something.

Houseblog restart: Basement library and guest bedroom

For various reasons, we’ve taken a good long break from home improvement, so the houseblog has been pretty dormant. That changed last week when Lisa and I started to look seriously at what it would take to reclaim our basement as a guest bedroom.

Right now it’s quite a project. Ever since the flood in 2006, we haven’t really used the room as living space. We had a lot of cleanup to do, and ended up parking a lot of junk down there along with my (mercifully undamaged) books and music. The sump pump we installed in 2007 has helped us recover our confidence in the room, though, and we have A Plan For A Guest Room. (I’m capitalizing it so it feels more official.)

The room is not too small, about ten feet wide by fourteen or fifteen feet long, but of that fourteen or fifteen feet only about eleven feet is usable. The fireplace in the basement (which smokes too much to be usable) is made of fieldstone from behind the house, which is nice, but projects into the room about a foot, rendering the foot or so of wall space on either side unusable. And on the other side there’s a corridor running from the foot of the stairs to the door to the laundry room that has to be kept open for traffic. So there are already some floorplan challenges.

Add to that all the acres of leftover boxes, kitchen debris that we “decluttered” from the kitchen only to clutter the basement room, other clutter that accumulates through a few years of family life, extra furniture gifted by well meaning family members, surplus dog beds, and so on, and there’s a bit of a challenge in even seeing the walls.

So here’s the punchlist for the project:

Phase 1: Declutter

  1. Package up in storage crates the stuff we need to keep.
  2. Sell a few items of furniture and maybe some leftover electronics (surplus turntable, CD player, DVD player, TV)
  3. Give away whatever we can’t sell. (Thank you, Arlington List and Freecycle.)
  4. Throw away whatever we can’t give away.
  5. CDs–I have about a thousand CDs left after the Great CD Ripping Project concluded. They need a home.
  6. Before I get rid of the CDs, I need to buy a hard drive to back up my music drive, so that I don’t lose all the music I ripped.

Phase II: Redecorate

  1. Temporarily box up all my books and LPs. (No small feat.)
  2. Collapse the old open bookshelves that currently consume the walls in the main room.
  3. Paint!
  4. Lay new carpet tiles.
  5. Replace the door that covers the access for the main house water valve and the sump (the prior door was damaged in the flood).

Phase III: Reinstall

  1. Purchase and install new bookshelves, with doors, along one wall of the room. (Hello, Billy. Hello, Bestå.)
  2. Load in the books.
  3. Purchase a new sleeper sofa and set it up along the other wall.

The good news: Esta is visiting right now and has already helped with items 1, 3, and 4, and will be helping with #9. That still leaves a lot to be done when I get back from Tanglewood. But it should be fun.