Madness & Method DIY Home and Lifestyle Blog featuring home renovations, DIY tips, design plans and more Tue, 13 Nov 2018 18:11:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Madness & Method 32 32 Easy Homemade Baby Food Tue, 13 Nov 2018 18:11:43 +0000 Time to introduce solid foods and wondering where to begin? Here are some handy tips on feeding babies and instructions on making easy homemade baby food!

The post Easy Homemade Baby Food appeared first on Madness & Method.

A lot of people think that making your own baby food is too time-consuming or only for those parents (ie: crazy).  I’m going to share some tips both in this post and in a video (that I linked below) about how to make easy homemade baby food.  I also have a bunch of info about feeding baby solid food in general, so save this post or share it with those who need the info.

– Note: This post contains affiliate links. See more information about affiliates here. –

I don’t think you need any fancy baby-specific kitchen gadgets to make homemade baby food.  In fact, I recorded a quick tutorial showing how I make baby food using a hand blender (I owned an older model before I received an update as a gift).  Anyways here are some products that you may need:

Products Used/Mentioned

Feeding Solid Food to Babies

While a lot of the information I learnt about baby food came from this book, I actually came up with the four main T-words myself.  If you’ve never fed solid food to babies (whether store-bought or homemade) and are wondering where to start, just remember the four Ts!

homemade baby food freezing


It’s most recommended to start introducing solid foods at 6 months of age.  Babies can’t actually swallow foods (ie: anything that isn’t a liquid) for a few months, so starting too early may cause them to gag.  If you wait too late, they might not be able to adapt as well to the different textures.

The first time you introduce solids to a baby, make sure they aren’t too hungry or just drank their milk (whether breastmilk or formula).  You want to pick a time when baby is happy and relaxed, have some soft baby spoons ready and I even suggest starting with baby cereal (always go with the starter cereals first, even if baby is 6+ months).  The mixing ratio on the box is usually 1 tablespoon of mix to 3-4 tablespoons of water, but I find that it’s a bit too liquidy that way (it’s okay for the first few times, but it will definitely be extra messy, especially as baby gets the hang of it).

I usually try feeding baby only once a day, then gradually increase the times as they get more used to eating.  It’s also handy to get them to eat at the same times that you do (ie: breakfast, lunch and dinner), but do whatever works with your schedule!

homemade baby food


Up until this point, baby has probably only been fed milk at body temperature.  When you’re introducing solid foods for the first time, you’ll want to try and mimic that same temperature so that they’re not surprised by something different.  Once they get the whole eating thing down (ie: actually swallowing some food and not just making a mess everywhere), then you can experiment with different temperatures (like room temp or cold).

You want to introduce one new food over a period of a few days – that way, if baby has an allergic reaction, you can pinpoint the food that caused it.  During those days you can also experiment with offering food at different temperatures to see if they prefer anything.

Speaking of temperature, I wouldn’t go any warmer than body temperature for now; at least not until your baby is a bit older and can understand that it might be warmer and they may need to blow on it first.

baby food veggies


In the beginning, you’ll want to make sure that all the foods you introduce to baby are nice smooth purées.  I mentioned that the boxed cereals are a bit liquidy if you mix to their recommended ratio, but I find that 1 tablespoon of mix to 2-3 water is the sweet spot (I usually stir it up then let it sit for about 20 seconds so it has a chance to gel up a bit).

As baby gets used to eating pureed food, you can slowly start to introduce lumpier/bumpier (but still soft) solids.  Eventually, they’ll work their way up to finely chopped options, but you’ll definitely want to stick to purées for the first few months.

The beauty of making your own homemade baby food is that you’ll probably end up with more textured food compared to traditional/store-bought baby food.  I can get a really smooth puree using my hand blender, but I know for some foods (like meat), it’s almost impossible to get the smooth texture like the store-bought baby foods.  Either way, you will want you babies to experiment with different textures, and if they seem to not like a certain food, it might just be that particular texture that they don’t prefer.

making baby food


It’s important to know that just because a baby is spitting out food and making a mess might not mean that they are fussy – they may still be getting used to the whole moving food around in the mouth thing!  But if you’ve tried a certain food at different temperatures and with different textures and they still don’t seem to like it, unfortunatelyn it may be the taste that they don’t like.  I’d suggest trying that food again in 6 months or a year to see if it’s something they like later, but it may take a while for them to like certain things.

On a similar note, babies may also love certain foods when they’re little, but as they age they could lose the taste for it (or, is that just a fussy toddler thing, ha!?).

Either way, now that you’ve got a good handle on the four Ts, let’s dive into making baby food!

How to Make Easy Homemade Baby Food

  • Boil/steam/cook food to soften it up
  • Portion it out into a container, reserve water
  • Use a hand blender to puree food
  • Add water to make smoother consistency if needed

What about soft foods?

There are a lot of foods that are already soft and don’t need to be cooked (think fruits like bananas, berries, or check out this list).  You can still use the hand blender to mash up a bunch at once, or you can just smoosh them with a fork.  I also keep all the smalls seeds in my fruits, because it seems like it would be a pain to try and take them out!

(Unless anyone has a good tip for that because sometimes I don’t like seeds in my smoothies too, ha!)

What about meats?

For meats, I usually cut it up into small bite sizes.  Sometimes I’ll pan fry it first, then add water and boil until it’s fully cooked, or I’ll just go right ahead and boil the pieces.  Then just blend the pieces with the hand blender (and be prepared to add a bit more water compared to veggies).  I do find that store-bought meats have a pastier texture (whereas mine feels a bit grittier), so you can always try the canned varieties if your baby doesn’t like the meats as much.

Tips for Storing Baby Food

As mentioned in the video, you start by portioning baby food by the tablespoon (so 15ml).  Their first tablespoon will probably take forever to finish, but after a bit they’ll be chomping it down much quicker!  When I introduce a new food, I like to have about 150ml to last me a few days (giving 1-2 tablespoons per meal).

I’ll just store the food in the fridge in a closed container (these breastmilk cups work great!) and may freeze a pack if I am making food in bulk.  Sometimes I won’t have any room left in my container, so I can just spoon a few portions into a clean ice cube tray (a handy tip from the book).  I can just grab a cube the night before, or melt it in the microwave if I don’t have anything else prepared.

Remember, even if you’re using store-bought baby foods, you always want to portion it out into a separate container and spoon from there (you can refrigerate the rest for later too).

easy homemade baby food graphic easy homemade baby food video

I hope I’ve given you lots of handy tips about feeding baby solid foods for the first time, and especially about making homemade baby food!  Just pin one of the images above to Pinterest so you can save this post for another time :)

Oh, and let me know I you have any questions and I’ll try and help you out too!

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

Products Mentioned

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Basement Kitchen Renovation Timeline (ORC 6) Tue, 06 Nov 2018 21:15:14 +0000 Assuming you can renovate a kitchen in 6 weeks without having the room built is crazy. Here is a basement kitchen renovation timeline and where we are now.

The post Basement Kitchen Renovation Timeline (ORC 6) appeared first on Madness & Method.

You know when you’re watching a renovation show and it seems like everything is going wrong and they won’t make the reveal on time?  But miracle of TV miracles, everything comes together in the end, and the results are great!?  Well, this is reality and that’s not what happened at all!  Just wanted to touch base and let you know about our basement kitchen renovation timeline, aka when we started, what the delays were and where we’re headed…

This is my fourth One Room Challenge makeover, and it was undoubtedly the hardest one yet.  Actually, our first project was pretty substantial in that we built a basement half-bath from scratch; then I took it to my brother’s house with a budget bathroom makeover, and last year we barely squeaked by to get our garage finished on time.

Months ago, when I was initially planning this project, we would not have thought that we wouldn’t be finished on time.  Heck, the Husband thought started the kitchen in October was super late, and we would have been moved into the basement by now.

Photo First Appeared in Rental Renovation Basement Tour

(A bit of a backstory, we bought a second house in May so that we could have a place closer to where the Husband works, about 2 hours away from our main home.  We are planning on creating two separate apartment units and renting the main floor while we stay in the basement part-time).

Basement Renovation Timeline

  • August 7: Demolition on the entire basement begins
  • August 27: Interior weeping tile work to address multiple foundation cracks
  • September 4: Subfloor install and framing started
  • September 10: Plumber supposed to come in but cancels last minute
  • September 17: Complete electrical work for basement
  • September 27: Electrical inspection, still no word on plumbing
  • October 3: Start of the One Room Challenge
  • October 10: Second plumbing company starting work
  • October 18: Plumbing/venting inspection
  • November 7: Now/End of the One Room Challenge – and not close to being done!

Obviously, we’ve come pretty far from where we started, and we did get a lot of behind-the-scenes work done during the weeks of the One Room Challenge.

But our biggest hold-up was definitely in regards to scheduling/timing with the big 3 contractors.  As of right now, we are still waiting for the HVAC, then it will be all hands on deck to get the drywall up.  Once the drywall is done, it’s pretty much the home stretch and the basement will all come together quickly afterwards.

basement kitchen before

Photo First Appeared in Basement Kitchen Layout

But we still have a ways to go!

Where We Are Now

I’m still continuing to paint my Ikea cabinet doors and will hopefully be done within the next week or so (why rush when I still have to wait for everything else?!).  I started priming them during Week 4 of the Challenge, and I’m really liking how they’re turning out so far!  Yes, I will have an update in a few months detailing how they’ve held up and all the techniques I used to paint them!

painting ikea cabinet doors

It’s hard to capture the colour in photos (they look darker on the left) but it’s a super dark brown/dark taupe-y colour.

And in case you wanted an updated photo of the basement kitchen, here’s one I took this morning:

current basement kitchen photo

Yep, pretty much the same as last time :(

Where We Are Headed

Once we have some actual work on the kitchen going on, I’ll be linking to the progress here!

So bookmark this page, follow on Facebook, Pinterest and/or Instagram, or subscribe to the blog RSS if you want to stay up-to-date :)

Oh, and if you want to see some (completed) transformations, check out the rest of the One Room Challenge designers’ and bloggers’ posts here.

Basement Kitchen Posts
Week 1: Layout
Week 2: Design
Week 3: Progress
Week 4: Behind-the-Scenes
Week 5: Priming Ikea Cabinets
Week 6: Recap Post (this one!)

One more before/during/still-during comparison photo if you weren’t convinced we did anything at all:

basement kitchen renovation timeline graphic

I hope I’ve been completely transparent in regards to our basement kitchen renovation timeline and what we were able to accomplish during this challenge.  Next time, I’m definitely going to be doing a much simpler room (or at least, not one that’s part of an entire basement renovation!).  Once this kitchen is done, we’ll be able to move into the space and I’ll share all the other rooms/progress then as well :)

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Priming Ikea Kitchen Cabinets (ORC 5) Tue, 30 Oct 2018 18:55:37 +0000 Do you want to paint your Ikea kitchen for a custom look? Post and video with tips on priming Ikea kitchen cabinets (and how to remove paint streaks too)!

The post Priming Ikea Kitchen Cabinets (ORC 5) appeared first on Madness & Method.

Since nothing is happening in the actual kitchen yet, I figured I might as well share some information about how I’m planning on customizing our Ikea kitchen cabinets.  In my design plan during week 2, I mentioned that I was going to be painting the new Ikea kitchen cabinets so that they would be a custom colour.  Today I’m going to share some painting tips (including how to remove dried streaks) and some info on priming Ikea kitchen cabinets.

– Note: This post contains affiliate links. See more information about affiliates here. –

It’s already the 5th week of the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge, but I threw the schedule out the window when I realized that we would never get this project done on time!   In the first week I shared the future kitchen layout, week 2 was all about the design plan, week 3 had info on our progress and last week I shared some handy behind-the-scenes renovation tips.

You see, in addition to this kitchen, we’re also renovating an entire basement and turning it into an apartment and there have been a lot of unexpected delays… So while I won’t have a nice kitchen to show off next week, I do still hope you’ll come back and visit when it does get installed!

basement plumbing recap

The Husband put in most of the water lines (but hasn’t connected them yet).  He had to run new lines for the whole basement (including going from the watermain, the kitchen and to the bathroom then connecting to the lines upstairs).  He’ll probably finish them and get them inspected at the same time as the HVAC (which is still up in the air at this point!).

Anyways, let me chat about priming the cabinets, and you can even watch a video with more info about the process!

Supplies You’ll Need to Prime Cabinets

  • Paint tray / foam roller
  • Good primer (I used Zinsser Bullseye 123 in Grey)
  • Sanding sponge (around 120 grit)
  • Scrap pieces of wood (to elevate the doors)
  • Painting tarp
  • Optional: paint brush

priming cabinet doors

I did the first coat of prime on the kitchen doors last Saturday, then I flipped them over the next day and did the other side.  I only sanded the front and edges of the doors, and I’ll be comparing how they hold up over time in a few months.

comparing paint colour

Here’s a small piece of paint showing the colour the doors are going to be.  We painted the upstairs living room in our rental house that colour (you can see a sneak peek behind our family Halloween costumes) and it’s part of the whole house colour scheme I came up with.

I left a couple of doors un-primed (again, so I could compare the wear over time), and it’s pretty similar to the Ikea Edserum door finish.

priming kitchen cabinet doors

The primer we used was grey, but you could use a regular/white primer as well.  I only did one coat of primer, then I’ll be doing a few coats of paint (whatever it takes to cover nicely).  On some doors I’ll be doing a clear topcoat as well.

I did notice a few scratches in the prime when I flipped them over (I didn’t handle them nicely at all, and considering it was on the un-sanded side, it made sense).  I will be paying more attention when I paint the doors, because I do want a good finish in the end.

Removing Paint Streaks/Gloops

In the video I also show how I easily got rid of some streaks in my paint.  You’ll want to make sure you don’t roll (or brush) the paint on too thick, but in case you do have some run-offs (most likely around the edges/corners) you can sand them away with some light grit sandpaper or a sanding block.

For really thick spots, sometimes I would scrape the gloop off completely and still sand around the edge (it made a hole/indentation) which was a lot quicker.

Video on How to Prime Cabinets

(And a quick recap of our progress at the start too)

This is a handy post about painting Ikea furniture if you want more info.  She recommends to use a solvent-based primer (although I didn’t!), and even though I know that solvent-based primers are best for covering wood stains, I wanted to see how the cabinets will hold up with the Zinsser (which does say good for glossy surfaces).

priming ikea kitchen cabinets tips for priming ikea cabinets

I made two different Pinterest graphics to help you easily remember to share this post :)

Remember to come back and visit when this kitchen finally gets completed AND after a few months of use when I share the full details on how the painted cabinets have held up (and not just about priming Ikea cabinets).

Oh, and definitely check out the rest of the One Room Challenge designers and bloggers as they actually complete their rooms!  Next time will be a much smaller project…

Basement Kitchen Posts
Week 1: Layout
Week 2: Design
Week 3: Progress
Week 4: Behind-the-Scenes
Week 5: Priming Ikea Cabinets (this post!)
Week 6: ? Definitely not the reveal :)

Have you ever wanted to paint your kitchen cabinets, or wondered if you could paint Ikea cabinet doors for a custom look?  I’d say I’m about 1/4 of the way done (I still have all the painting and topcoat-ing to do) and I think it’s going to turn out great!  I haven’t gone crazy yet, but check back when everything is done, ha!

Actually, I have two littles and it’s nice to escape and get some work done quietly for a bit :)

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Kitchen Renovation Behind-the-Scenes (ORC 4) Wed, 24 Oct 2018 00:41:02 +0000 Planning a big renovation (or building a home from scratch?). I'm sharing our basement renovation behind-the-scenes & talking about the big 3 (HVAC, electrical and plumbing - oh my!)

The post Kitchen Renovation Behind-the-Scenes (ORC 4) appeared first on Madness & Method.

Guess what!?  Nothing going on with our kitchen!  I thought that it would be a good idea to share some renovation behind-the-scenes for our entire basement project. Yes, technically we’ve been doing that already since I have nothing else to talk about with no walls in yet – but I figured it would be good information in case anyone is planning a major renovation as well. Let’s chat about all the things that happen behind the walls and how you should properly plan a renovation…

This post was sponsored by the Electrical Safety Authority.  Do you have questions about electrical work?  Check out the Power Your Life website for tips, tricks and helpful information! –

(You can scroll down to the video at the bottom to see a quick recap of all the progress, but basically not much done in the room itself!  See the basement kitchen layout, design plans and progress).

painting kitchen cabinets

Behind-the-Scenes Tips for Big Renovations

We completely tore out the basement apartment-ish that was in our rental renovation so we could start from scratch. Even if you’re just doing some minor tweaking, some of these tips will still be good to know! Let’s assume that you’ve already completed demolition, have a solid foundation and already have plans for the new space (ie: where the walls will go and what the rooms will be).

You might be itching to get those new floors in, or want to bring some furniture and settle into your space – but hold your horses because you’ll need to figure out all the things that make your house actually function before you can start painting the walls (aka our issue now!).

So, how do you start rebuilding!? What goes in first!?

It’s always best to start with the bigger/less movable things and work your way down to the smaller items. That means that your HVAC and ductwork should be in place first, followed by the plumbing lines, then the electrical work. Let me give a brief overview of each of those items (and how we did it backwards, which is why this renovation is taking so long!).

kitchen basement hallway

No more dirt floors (but still an old furnace)!

Behind-the-Scenes: HVAC

Stands for Heating, Venting And Cooling, and it’s the system that controls the temperature in your house! You might be lucky and live somewhere with a nice climate that doesn’t require both heating AND cooling, but we’re up in the north and definitely need some heat! The ductwork that brings the air throughout your house is often quite large and you most likely need a sheet metal person to be able to install them and move them around. There are return vents which suck the air into the furnace, and all the regular vents that heat your house (which are probably located on the floor near windows or doors – anywhere where cold or hot air can get in).

This is the big hold-up in our renovation so far, as we only decided halfway through that we were going to have the furnace changed from electric to gas (or should I say, the Husband only agreed halfway through). The issue is that we’re building a proper basement apartment so we need to have fire dampers on the runs to separate both units (which no one knows how to do apparently!).

basement kitchen rough in

Still have to run the water lines

Behind-the-Scenes: Plumbing

Each house has two “types” of plumbing, the (usually black) plastic pipes that take all the water you use away (ie: the sewer lines); and the water lines themselves (hot and cold, possibly copper or plastic). The sewer lines run in the ground (so is most likely embedded in concrete for a basement) and also includes a venting system that brings/vents air up (also plastic pipes, and usually goes up through the attic). The water lines are smaller pipes that supply all the water to the faucets/toilets etc. One comes in, one goes out!

For us, we had one plumber scheduled to come in and install everything (in September!) – but he bailed at the last minute so we were stuck scrambling to find another company. This is why we had a big trench of dirt dug up for so long (to accommodate the first person’s schedule) and now thankfully all the sewer lines are put in and everything is good to go! The Husband will actually be installing all the water lines himself, so wish him luck :)

Behind-the-Scenes: Electrical

This is definitely something you should not attempt yourself (especially if it involves anything at the breaker!). We live in Ontario, Canada and while all the plumbing/HVAC stuff is governed by the Ontario Building Code, everything to do with electricity is completely separate and regulated by the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority).

Did you know that in some countries, you’re not even allowed to switch a lightbulb yourself without calling an electrician!? Where we are, homeowners are allowed to do the electrical work in their own homes, but you still need to get a permit and follow code!!! (<-all the exclamation points because sometimes people think that as a homeowner they are exempt!). Either way, it’s always best to hire a licensed electrical contractor to do to the work (and you can find licensed electrical contractors in Ontario here).

Our rental renovation home is actually located in a pretty remote area and the electrical inspectors only come out so often; which is how we ended up getting the electrical work done first (then the plumbing, then the HVAC – completely backwards!).

basement kitchen renovation behind the scenes

I hope that this renovation behind-the-scenes post was helpful if you are thinking about doing a big renovation or even building a home from scratch.  I learned so much in the last couple of months, and I’ll definitely make sure to have our ducks/ducts in a row for next time, ha!

Week 4 Progress Video

So, want to see the progress video for this week!?

Who knows what will get done next!  (No but seriously, will we even be able to start by the time the One Room Challenge ends?!).

Basement Kitchen Posts
Week 1: Layout
Week 2: Design
Week 3: Progress
Week 4: Behind-the-Scenes (this post!)

I’m hoping that the HVAC people will give us some good news (like that they can miraculously install everything this weekend? For free!?).  Ha!

Anyways, don’t forget that you can always follow on Instagram, Facebook and/or Pinterest :)  And check out all the (actual) progress from the featured designers and guest participants for the One Room Challenge.

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

The post Kitchen Renovation Behind-the-Scenes (ORC 4) appeared first on Madness & Method.

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Basement Kitchen Progress (ORC 3) Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:42:15 +0000 I don't have a lot of basement kitchen progress to show this week, and I'm pretty sure this will be the first One Room Challenge we don't finish on time...

The post Basement Kitchen Progress (ORC 3) appeared first on Madness & Method.

If you’ve been following along with our project for this Fall’s One Room Challenge, then you know we’re moving at a snail’s pace and waiting on a bunch of behind the scenes stuff before we can even start.  If you’ve checked out the other ORC linking participants and bloggers, then you know they’re much farther along!  Think we have any basement kitchen progress to show or got anything accomplished this week and have magically caught up?  Nope… not even close!

– Note: This post contains affiliate links. See more information about affiliates here. –

Probably a short post this week, because spoiler: we don’t really have too much new going on!  If you’re confused as to what I’m talking about, I’ve decided to do a kitchen in 6 weeks for this season’s One Room Challenge, and last week I shared the design plans for the space.

It would have probably been doable if we had more completed in the basement at our rental renovation, but alas the rebuild has taken a lot longer than we originally anticipated.  I honestly don’t think we’ll be able to complete it on time and I’ll know next time to have all the behind-the-scenes stuff booked ahead of time!

basement kitchen insulation

The plumbing rough-ins have pretty much been finished (we were just waiting to add the venting through the roof but it was raining every day) then we can get that inspected.

basement kitchen progress walls

Our contractors went ahead and installed all the insulation (and hopefully vapour barriers after this photo was taken) in the hopes of getting both those inspections done at the same time (ie: the plumbing one).

We still don’t have an HVAC appointment booked yet (we’re switching out the furnace and ductwork) so until that can happen, drywall cannot be installed…

ikea kitchen boxes

In somewhat better news, the Ikea kitchen boxes arrived and I organized them into three areas so that we can build everything as quickly as possible.

organizing ikea kitchen boxes

This is my third Ikea kitchen, so I made sure to separate the interior organization boxes (ie: shelves and drawers) in a different pile compared to the cabinets themselves (which are shown above, with the labels facing upwards for easy identification) and the door fronts (which I brought home and will be finishing there).

beautiful gold faucet

The kitchen faucet I ordered from Amazon came in and it’s the perfect matte/satin gold colour (not a shiny brass!) and I’m hoping it will go great with the champagne bronze cabinet knobs.

ikea edserum doors

I opened all of the door boxes (with the exception of one that we might need to return due to possibly moving some ducts) and placed them on the floor of our garage.

sanding ikea edserum doors

I used a power sander to rough up all the fronts of the doors, then tried to go in with a block sponge to get all the inside edges (they’re still a bit glossy feeling though).

sanded ikea edserum doors

I just need to clean them up and prime them (I left the backs un-sanded), then I’ll be painting them the nice dark colour from my design plan.  I’ll write a more detailed post about that (because I’m going to test a few options I think – so stay tuned!).

ORC Basement Kitchen Week 3 Progress Video

Recap of this post in a video format:

And that’s pretty much it for our basement kitchen progress this week… I think I have lots of painting to do this weekend :)

basement kitchen progress graphic

What projects have you been following along with during the Fall One Room Challenge?  Like I mentioned, I don’t think we’ll be done on time :(

Basement Kitchen
Week 1: Layout
Week 2: Design
Week 3: Progress (this post!)
Week 4: ?

But do please come back and see how/when we get this done! And, I’m going to have a lot more to show in the New Year for this rental renovation because once the drywall goes up, we will be in the home stretch and all the rooms will be getting finished at the same time.  You can always follow on Instagram, Facebook and/or Pinterest :)

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Basement Kitchen Design (ORC 2) Tue, 09 Oct 2018 16:52:46 +0000 Check out the slow moving progress on our rental renovation and the plans for the basement kitchen design, which I aptly named 'a diamond in the rough'.

The post Basement Kitchen Design (ORC 2) appeared first on Madness & Method.

It’s the second week of our kitchen renovation, and normally I’d like to be a bit further along… but alas we still don’t have a real floor or walls up yet!  To be fair, it’s like the third month of the entire rental renovation and technically any progress forward is good – but I know the Husband is really itching to get this thing over with!  Since we don’t have too much new to show, I figured it would be a great opportunity to share the basement kitchen design plans, so let’s dive in :)

– Note: This post contains affiliate links. See more information about affiliates here. –

Just a quick reminder that we are trying to complete this kitchen as one of the linking participants for the One Room Challenge.  You can check out my past ORC projects here, and although this is my first ORC kitchen, I have completed two kitchen renovations in the past, including our more traditional style kitchen and my brother’s budget white kitchen.

Last week I shared the layout of the kitchen and talked about how it’s going to be located in a 2 bedroom basement apartment.  We’re planning on living in it half the time, doing short-term rentals when we’re not there (and renting out the main level full-time).  But before we can move into this space, we actually have to finish it!

Ready to see the design plans!?

(And I’ll go into detail about how/why I chose these elements, so if you want to get the quickie progress – scroll down to the video).

basement kitchen design colour scheme


It might seem weird to choose your hardware first, but once I saw these Classic Square Knobs in Champagne Bronze, I was sold!  I worked with Liberty Hardware on our nursery dresser makeover and they were open to collaborating again and I’m super excited :)  I’m actually going to be installing them diagonally (like little diamonds instead of squares) – so it should be a fun/different feature.

Colour Scheme:

I came up with a colour scheme for our rental renovation a few months ago, so I’ll be repurposing some of the same colours in the kitchen.  I wanted to go with dark cabinets and knew that they had to be painted to match our colour scheme (you can actually see the colour in our family Halloween photos).  I know that it may seem a bit risky to go with such a dark colour in a basement (since we won’t really have any natural light in the kitchen at all) but I think all the light elements will help balance it out.


I love Ikea, and I knew that we would definitely be using their cabinets again for this kitchen.  I was hoping to get some custom shaker doors made by Semihandmade, but things uncovered during the demolition of the basement made me alter the layout and they require a big lead-time so I missed the cut-off in order to get done on time.  Which means that I’ll be buying brand new cabinets and painting them.  I know I know, sounds crazy!  But I can’t really stand the thought of not matching the exact colour I want, so I found these Edserum cabinets (in the shaker style I like!) and they’re actually a) one of the cheaper cabinet styles, and b) already close to the colour – so I may just be lazy and paint the outside…

dark ikea kitchens


The counters actually took a lot longer to decide on than the first three things.  The main thing we knew was that they had to be c-h-e-a-p, so that eliminated all quartz/granites/etc.  I was strongly considering a butcher block, and visited Ikea a couple of times to check out the options in person (once when I was on vacation in Winnipeg, and another when I was in Ottawa).

ikea butcher block counter options

They have both a fake wood option (basically just a wood veneer on top of particle board) or a full wood counter.  While I don’t have it on the design plan, the floors are going to be a wood-look vinyl, so it would be a bit tricky to try and get something to match the colouring when I didn’t have a sample on me (and we still need to order the floors… so who knows if I change my mind!).

ikea laminate counters

In the laminate, I was really considering the Saljan counters and thought it would be a nice light option.  On my second trip to Ikea, I saw the Ekbacken light gray concrete-look counters, and I loved them!  They’re a bit thinner than the regular laminates, but have sharper edges (which I prefer) and it’s actually ridge-y and bumpy to imitate an imperfect concrete.  The Husband loved the price, “wait, it’s 75$ for the WHOLE counter?!” (we installed quartz before, so it was close to that price per foot!).

basement kitchen design elements


Because we weren’t doing a stone counter, I knew we needed a drop-in sink.  I want to try something new here and just get a single bowl (and I wanted a 24″ cabinet, so we were kind of limited too!).  While stainless steel was the go-to choice, I also wanted to try something a bit different and decided on this white Hallviken sink, again from Ikea.

ikea kitchen sinks

I didn’t actually see it in person, and I was debating between that one and the Havsen sink. In the end, I chose the Hallviken because it had the extra lip on the back (perfect for sponges/soaps) and I preferred the plastic-y feeling compared to the ceramic.


I knew I wanted another champagne bronze/gold element in the kitchen to match the hardware, so I set out to search for a faucet that would fit the bill.  Actually, the faucet I really wanted was out of my budget for this kitchen, so I had to find something else.  Requirements were that it had to be gold, but not shiny brass and a single hole installation.  My wish list included a pull-down feature (but that was almost a necessity too) and it would be fun to try a sink with a joining thing (the horizontal bar) so I could have a good place for our washcloth!

I wasn’t 100% sold on this one and had a few saved on my wishlist, but then Jenny Komenda recommended the exact same one so I figured it must be good :)  It’s this Gappo Gold one from Amazon, and although it’s hard to tell if the finish will match the hardware perfectly, the price was right!


This might sound weird, but once I decided that the sink was going to be white, I thought it would be fun to match the appliance to the sink!  Normally they’re all stainless steel right, so it only made sense hahaha.  Actually, it’s a bit better since white appliances are normally cheaper – and that’s exactly what our budget calls for :)

While I’m not sure which ones we’re going with yet, I do know that we need this short microhood to fit with the design with our 7′ ceilings.  Do you think we need to match all the same brand, or mix and match as long as they’re all white?


Okay, this was hands-down the hardest decision for the kitchen!  I agonized over what to do for weeks, should it be traditional tile, a stick-on tile, something else, nothing at all?  I’m all about regular tiles, and literally browsed every. single. option online, saving all the white or light grey tiles.  There were a few square options in my favourites (either 4×4 or 6×6) and then I had an ah-ha moment that I would install them diagonally!

It would match the diamond handles and then I came up with the cute name “diamond in the rough kitchen” (because if that doesn’t describe this space, I don’t know what does!).  A few days later I realized I did a diamond pattern in my brother’s bathroom for another ORC project, then when I was sharing this photo on Instagram I realized the mirror for that bathroom was diamond too!  I don’t think we had any diamonds in our garage ORC project… or that would be just too weird.

Ummm, when I was adding the links to those projects, I saw that I also did a diamond wainscoting treatment before, and my logo is kind of diamond-y too.  Is that my thing?  I never really noticed it, but all the signs are pointing to diamonnndssss!  In the past, I know I’ve mentioned that I much prefer square shapes over circles, and it might be some sort of diamond shreddie thing happening now…

Week 2 Video

If you skipped all my blabbing above, you can get the same basic idea here in this video:

And check out some of the photos where we are now:

Kitchen Progress

basement kitchen progress

This is the “hallway” section of the kitchen, near the sink/fridge and where all the bedroom doors meet.

basement kitchen plumbing

This is the view standing at the sink looking towards the fridge and bathroom.

basement plumbing work

And looking back towards the wingwall and the main water line (which will be hidden by a cabinet).

What has been done so far

I’m told the plumbing should be completed tomorrow, then we’ll need an inspection for that before we can fill it back in and concreted over.  Once all the dirt is cleared out, the subfloor will go back in place and we can buy the flooring and bring it down.  We’re going to get the furnace switched out from electrical to gas, so hopefully, that can be done soon (and we need to get some ducts fixed so there’s heat down here – and install fire dampers too).  I’ve ordered the kitchen pieces from Ikea and it should be delivered tomorrow as well (please send help since I’ll be organizing the boxes with two littles at my feet!); the faucet and microhood have also been ordered…

To-Do List

  • Finish plumbing (sewer lines)
  • Install floors: dirt/concrete, subfloors, vinyl floors
  • HVAC + ductwork
  • Plumb water lines (hot/cold)
  • Walls: insulation, vapour barrier, drywall
  • Assemble cabinet boxes
  • Paint door fronts + sides
  • Install kitchen (cabinets, counters, sink, faucet)
  • Appliances (fridge, micro-hood, oven, dishwasher)
  • Backsplash
  • Build and install shelves
  • Bring in stuff

Thankfully we have contractors doing the bulk of the work, but the Husband will be installing all the water lines so maybe he can get that in this weekend.  I might also start painting all my cabinet doors this weekend because I honestly have no idea what I’ll share next week unless I get something done!

I normally like to plan my ORC projects out so I can work on everything the entire time and have good things to show… but we may just be installed everything the last two weeks, so wish us luck!

basement kitchen design pinterest graphic

Hopefully you like this “Diamond in the Rough” basement kitchen design and can get a good sense of where we are headed.  You can always check out my Rental Renovation Pinterest Board for some ideas of things that inspired me in this space (and the whole rental renovation too).

Basement Kitchen
Week 1: Layout
Week 2: Design
Week 3: ?

Don’t forget to check out all the other One Room Challenge designers + bloggers as they also tackle a space in 6 weeks!  Let me know if anyone is struggling to get things done each week, and send me all the help!

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Basement Kitchen Layout (ORC 1) Tue, 02 Oct 2018 18:59:44 +0000 Here are the plans for the basement kitchen layout at our rental renovation. Here are the current photos and a bit of background info for this narrow space!

The post Basement Kitchen Layout (ORC 1) appeared first on Madness & Method.

It’s an exciting and overwhelming time all rolled into one!  AKA the start of the One Room Challenge, and we’re tackling the kitchen at our rental renovation (a huge project!).  Today I’m going to share some background information, current photos, the plans for the basement kitchen layout and even a video that recaps our “progress” for this week.

Welcome all :)

My name is Nicole and I live up in Northern Ontario, Canada!  We bought a second house in April that’s close to where the Husband works but we’ve still kept our main/regular house (which is located about 2 hours away).  Our plan is to freshen up the upstairs, completely renovate the basement to create a second unit/apartment, and live there part-time while we rent the top half.

We completed demolition and uncovered some foundation issues, and have started a bit of the rebuild process and are currently waiting for some plumbing work, HVAC work, inspections and pretty much the rest of the rebuild (including insulation, drywall, floors, etc.).

This is definitely the BIGGEST renovation we’ve tackled to date, but I’m hoping the deadlines for the One Room Challenge will help push us into completing the kitchen (and pretty much the rest of the apartment at the same time!).  This isn’t my first ORC rodeo, and I know that we’re starting at a bit of a disadvantage by not having an actual “room” to start work.

Our past One Room Challenge projects:

Ready to see some photos of where we’re at?

basement kitchen entrance

This is the entrance to the kitchen from the living/dining room (just before we had the electrical work done).  You can read about the apartment layout and framing to see what the rest of the space looks like, but we’ve not really gotten anything done since then.

basement kitchen wall

While I was originally hoping to have the kitchen open into the dining room (with cute built-in seating), we uncovered a concrete wing wall that can’t be moved.  I’m gaining a few extra feet in the long cabinet run, but losing some narrow cabinets I wanted on the opposite wall.

original kitchen layout idea

Basically, the kitchen is a narrow space, and I was thinking that I could squeeze in some skinny cabinets near the fridge (on the wall that blocks the furnace – the dark grey block in the layout above).  But with the wing wall, we’re losing some walking space so I’ve removed those in favour of a better walkway through to the bedrooms/bathroom (see the final layout below).

basement kitchen hallway

As I was mentioning, the kitchen is kind of the dividing element of the apartment, separating the entry/living/dining room from the 2 bedrooms and bathroom.  Unfortunately, the furnace is located right in the middle of the unit, and we had to work around that.

Basement Kitchen Layout

Here is what I was thinking for the layout:

basement kitchen layout

Essentially, we have an L-shape kitchen with a long run of cabinets along the long outside wall, then the fridge is on the opposite side (tucked near the furnace wall) with some cabinets there.  I’m thinking those will act like a linen closet for the bathroom (since I lost some space compared to my original idea).  I was originally hoping to have a tall cabinet instead, but found out the electrical code here states that the switch for the bathroom can’t be within 1m of the shower stall, so it has to be on the outside (aka where my cabinet was going to go…).

basement kitchen before

Here’s a little mockup showing what things should hopefully look like once we start to get this room built back up!

Anyways, check out this quick video for a bit more details and layout of the space:

(Little Élise was a little cranky when I was trying to film this, so that’s why she’s there with me!).

Next week I’m going to share the design details for the space so definitely come back and check those out!  (Normally I like to do it the first week, but we’re still waiting on everything so aren’t going to have any progress to show for a while…).

basement kitchen before

Because ya, this is exactly what the room looks like right now and we can’t really install anything if there are no floors and walls :)

basement kitchen layout plans

I hope you follow along with our renovation progress, and you can always follow me on Instagram to see some behind-the-scenes stuff too!  Hopefully, by next week we have some more work to show, but at least you can see the design direction for the kitchen (I sort of showed a bit in the mockups).  As I said, we have a LOT of work ahead of us :)

And don’t forget to check out all the One Room Challenge featured designers and linking participants (I’m in this group) because there are going to be a lot of great renovations happening in the next six weeks!

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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TMNT Family Halloween Costumes Tue, 25 Sep 2018 19:38:32 +0000 Our TMNT family Halloween costumes for this year, including the DIY instructions if you want to make your own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes too!

The post TMNT Family Halloween Costumes appeared first on Madness & Method.

It’s my favourite holiday – HALLOWEEN!  Move over Christmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year :)  Last year, we went as Beauty and the Beast; and the year before we were The Little Mermaid.  I decided to stray away from the Disney theme but still stuck to a pretty recognizable childhood cartoon: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Check out our DIY TMNT family Halloween costumes!

– Note: This post contains affiliate links. See more information about affiliates here. –

I was extra on the ball with getting our costumes ready for three reasons, I wanted to make sure that 1) we weren’t scrambling at the last minute, 2) I could share them here so you can make your own this year too, and 3) I wouldn’t interrupt the kitchen renovation posts (starting next week!).

This year, it’s sort of a combination of some DIY elements, and some purchased elements, so I’ve included a list below if you wanted to DIY the costumes too:

DIY Materials List

TMNT Outfits List

Or you can always buy them outright – I found these on Amazon: Adult Donatello, Adult Michelangelo, Adult Leonardo, Toddler Raphael.

But let me share how we made our costumes, okay!?

I ordered the bodysuits a while ago in case they took a long time to come in (I’ve made that mistake before waiting for items to ship across the world!).  I bought some yellow t-shirts as the belly/shell bases, but you should definitely go with a green one instead (and add the shell and yellow belly on top).  You can always stick those parts on your bases directly, but I wanted to keep them as-is in case we wanted to reuse them.

making tmnt bellies

Anyways, using some yellow/beige paint, I drew out the belly shapes on our yellow shirts (I picked up the little ones a second-hand store).

tmnt green shell

Using a piece of dark green felt, I traced an oval shape and cut them out, then hand drew some shell shapes on each of those.  I hot glued the shells on the shirts (and left a bit of extra space at the top in case we wanted to stuff them to make them stick out more!).

Notice all the yellow that I had to hide?  I cut off as much extra material as possible, then ended up painting the sleeves and stuff green to match our bodysuits.  (Which is probably what took the most time).

You can skip that step if you go with a green shirt :)

painting felt for nametags

For the small accessories, I cut out some circles and letters for their belt loops, then bought the appropriate fabric colours for each character.  The belts are brown, and their character colours are visible in the wristbands, elbow bands, knee bands, and eye covers.

tootsie dog in housecoat as master splinter

Tootsie is Master Splinter, and I thought it was so appropriate and funny!  I actually got a toddler’s size housecoat second hand and dyed it deep pink (it was originally a pale yellow).  I wasn’t sure the colour was right at first (I was thinking it was supposed to be a burgundy or brown) but then Husband said it was perfect!

toddler as tmnt raphael

We already had a green long sleeve shirt for Zachary (the same one he wore in our Christmas photo last year!), and I just picked up some matching pants.  We actually decided he was going to be Raphael because the weapon was the least destructive!  My parents had these plastic ninja knives from when my brother dressed up as a child, and I knew he had the smallest chance of hurting people this way (ha!).

baby as tmnt leonardo

It worked out because the Husband wanted to be Donatello, and Michelangelo was my favourite character.  Élise was left as Leonardo, and I think she looks cute no matter what :)  I did cut eyeholes for both of their eye bands, but it was much easier to put them across the head than cover their eyes.

tmnt family photo

Speaking of eye holes, my orange fabric was a bit different than the rest (I bought some locally and they didn’t have orange in the same material as the others).  I think I’ll need to cut mine narrower to match, and I’ll need to wear contacts on Halloween so I can actually see properly!

teenage mutant ninja turtle family

These were the inspiration photos I was referencing when I was planning/making the costumes, and I think we look pretty good!  My nunchucks will just be paper rolls and string, and we still have to finalize the Husband’s bo (it’s a broom handle!).

teenage mutant ninja turtle costume

I love taking family photos (and I LOVE Halloween), so you can imagine how excited I was :)  The Husband?  It’s pretty much his nightmare, so we try and get everything done as quickly as possible.

tmnt family costume halloween

If only Tootsie knew to look at the camera, ha!

Check out this .gif showing a bunch more poses:

family tmnt halloween costume

Because I couldn’t stop myself and wanted to include them all!  BTW, we took these photos are the rental home (in the upstairs living room).  We recently painted and still have to refinish the floors, which explains why there aren’t any baseboards at the moment.

family tmnt costume

I think I decided on our TMNT family Halloween costumes last year (November 1st probably!) because I knew that we would have a little addition to our family to make the perfect number.  I have no idea what we’re going as next year yet, but I have a running list of good group costumes that I will definitely be doing as the years go by.  Zachary is still young enough not to choose anything himself, but he sure loves dressing up and was a little disappointed we didn’t take our costumes outside yet, ha!

Do you go as a group costume with your family, or is everyone on their own!? 

Please tell me I can keep this tradition going forever :)

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

Oh, and check out how happy Zachary was when Tootsie was in her costume:

zachary hugging tootsie

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Basement Apartment Layout Tue, 18 Sep 2018 20:39:49 +0000 I'm sharing the basement apartment layout plans that we've come up with; so check it out if you're planning a two bedroom apartment in a limited space!

The post Basement Apartment Layout appeared first on Madness & Method.

Last week I went over some of the demolition woes in regards to our rental renovation, and this week I’m sharing the basement apartment layout plans that we’ve settled on.  And by settled on, I mean all the framing is up and we’re starting the rebuilding process, so it’s pretty set!  Check out some photos of the progress and let me know your thoughts :)

Just a reminder, after we opened up all the walls and discovered pretty substantial cracks; we had to get them fixed up and that derailed our timeline a bit.

planning framing in apartment

Once the new concrete along the edges was set, our contractors came back in and started laying the subfloor pieces.  Demolition uncovered a support post, but I pretty much had that area dividing the bedrooms anyway.

laying subfloor in basement apartment

Actually, we also uncovered a missing post in the living room, so it will have to be added again!  Unfortunately, it kind of takes away from the completely open living space, but it ended up being out of the way from where I was envisioning furniture and stuff.

Before demolition began, I had gone in and measured everything as best as I could and came up with this layout:

Photo First Appeared in Rental House Basement Tour

The main thing to know is that the basement dimensions are approximately 23 x 43 feet, the furnace is located right in the middle of everything and we weren’t moving the laundry room either.  I’ll share some photos of the framing that we have up now, and if you scroll past those I’ll share the updated 2 bedroom basement apartment plan (just a bit different than this one).

shared entrance framing in basement apartment

So basically, you walk down into a shared hallway with the door to the apartment at the end on the right.

storage staircase in basement apartment

We’re going to be keeping as much storage under the staircase as possible, and the door at the end of the hallway leads into the laundry room still (similar to the original basement layout).

shared laundry room

We pushed as much into the laundry room as we could, but unfortunately, the final bathroom size had to get squished down a bit.  This will be a shared laundry space, so I don’t anticipate people will need the floor space to hang laundry on a rack (they’ll probably do it in there own apartments, right?).  The plan is to keep this room pretty much as-is (aka no drywall being added or fancy finishes).

basement apartment entryway

Anyways, once you enter the apartment, they’ll be an entryway/storage area to the left of the door – and you’ll be in the open living and dining room.

basement apartment living and dining room

My first thought was to have a kitchen with an eat-in style dining room (with a built-in bench covering up the water main) but demolition uncovered a huge wingwall (that concrete structure in the photo above!) and we can’t take it out.

basement apartment kitchen

Which means that the dining room had to get moved a bit more into the living room space, but I was able to squeeze in 3′ more of cabinet and countertop space.  I’ll be talking about the kitchen layout and design plans in more details in a couple of weeks, so make sure to stop back in then!

basement apartment kitchen dining

Oh, you notice that big hole of dirt on the ground do you?  Well, the original plumber we had cancelled, so we’re waiting for someone else and we kind of have to work around that…

When we were first planning these renovations, I was thinking of using an above-floor plumbing system from Saniflo for the kitchen because it is more DIY-friendly (plus quick to install and more cost-effective alternative compared to regular plumbing!).  However, we found out that our plumbing stack is one of the old cast ones and needed to be replaced, including running all new lines, which is obviously going to cost us a lot more :(

basement apartment hallway

Anyways, at the end of the kitchen is a small hallway that connects to the bedroom and bathrooms.  Unfortunately we have one duct that comes extra low in this area, so hopefully people don’t hit their heads on it!  (Anyone have any suggestions on making it stand out in a nice looking way?).

basement apartment bathroom

My original bathroom estimated size was at least 8 x 6 feet, but it’s been squished down to just over 5 feet (and I can’t remember the width right now).  I was first thinking that it would be convenient to just do a shower and have two doors into this room (one from the entry); but decided to do a bathtub since we might be spending more time at this house than originally anticipated

basement apartment bedroom

Right next to the bathroom is the master bedroom, and if you remember from the original walk-through, this was a super dark room with panelled walls and no windows.

basement apartment master bedroom

The second bedroom got an upgraded window too, but it’s pretty much the same size as it was before.  However, I decided to push out the closet into the master bedroom (rather than have it come into this room or go into the kitchen) so that we would get as much space as possible in here.

Basement Apartment Layout

2 bedroom basement apartment

So basically, the living room is sort of the same (but with an added post), but now the dining room encroaches on the space in the bottom right (where I have the dotted line).  The kitchen has a similar depth, but is a bit longer; the bathroom is smaller, and the bedrooms were sort of shifted a bit to accommodate the support beam.

Unfortunately, I figured most of my dimensions thinking about building walls under the support beam – but didn’t account for the fact that it’s dropped a lot from the ceiling (and we only have 7′ ceilings to begin with!).  So we couldn’t actually open any doors if we had put the walls there (or the doors would have been only 6′ high).  As it is now, the beam will kind of be in the way of some of the doors (not the swing, but it will be in your face a bit at the entries).  But like I said, the ducts come down pretty low in a few spots too, so…

basement apartment layout graphic

So where are we now?  Pretty much what you see in the pictures!

Actually, the electrical was run this weekend (and my photos are from the day before), but we’re still waiting on that inspection before we can do the drywall.  We’re also in limbo right now with the plumbing, so can’t finish the floors until that’s installed and inspected as well.  I think it’s going to be a mad dash once everything passes and we can move quickly with the finishings…

So ya, while I want to start the kitchen the first week of October, I might be forced to wait a bit until we actually have a proper room (you know, one not made of dirt floors!).

OH and we may be upgrading the furnace too now that everything is open… so definitely a project that has snowballed beyond our original scope :(

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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Rental Basement Demolition Wed, 12 Sep 2018 00:57:52 +0000 I feel like the basement demolition is taking forever at our rental renovation. It seems like it's two steps forward one step back, plus a huge expense!

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Adding a second living unit to our rental home is undoubtedly the largest renovation we’ve taken on to date – and although we’ve done our fair share of projects, there have been many different issues and obstacles here that we’ve not dealt with before.  While I’m hoping to be able to start the kitchen in October (just a few weeks away!), I feel like we’re in an endless demolition and rebuild is taking forever… Either way, I need to start sharing some progress – so let’s check out the basement demolition!

I may have mentioned before, but we hired contractors for the rental basement demolition, and they’ll be doing most of the rebuild as well.  Eventually, we’ll take over for the finishing touches, but we’re super happy that we didn’t have to do the bulk of the heavy lifting!

basement demolition

Starting in the “back” of the basement, furthest from the staircase – we have the area where the bedrooms will go.  As soon as they started ripping down the panelling and walls, they realized there were a lot of small cracks in the concrete where water had seeped in.

looking at the old basement kitchen

We also uncovered a support post, and the view in the photo above is looking from the bedrooms to where the old kitchen was.  This will be where the bedrooms meet, and where the kitchen cabinets are, is where the bathroom will be.

old basement bar area

There was a lot to tear out in the bar zone, because it was a weird mashup of closets, walls covering the furnace, and the bar (you can see the basement before tour here for a better idea).

living room in basement demolition

Goodbye weird shower hallway!  The basement had been such a weird layout before, I was pretty excited when the Husband sent me these pictures, because it was already looking better :)

new hallway area for basement renovation

Because we aren’t moving the furnace, I had to design the layout with its current position in mind.  The floors were also built up from the concrete, so we actually gained a couple of inches of space by taking them out.

future dining room in basement

Unfortunately, we discovered a concrete wing wall, which is right where I was planning on doing my dining room (with a cute built-in bench and everything).  Apparently, when the house was first built, the doorway was a few feet lower and they just covered everything up (which explains the weird subfloor in the entrance!).

basement laundry room

Once everything was removed and thoroughly cleaned, we then had to address a large number of cracks along the foundation walls.

current basement window

While we were waiting to hear back from the foundation company, our contractors continued to work on other areas.  In order to make the bedrooms up-to-code, we needed to add a window with proper egress in case of emergency.

basement windows

Which meant we needed to remove the way too small window and add a larger one, and add a window in the second bedroom from scratch.  The old window was about 12″ high, and I went with some HUMONGO 4′ x 3′ windows for the bedrooms.  I figured that if we were going to have to cut through the concrete to add a window, I was going to go big!

basement windows from inside

Apparently, the concrete was over 16″ thick in the lower portion of the walls, so it was quite a beast to get through.  The new windows literally make everything look so much brighter and the bedrooms won’t feel “basement-y” at all.

The Big Expense

I mentioned last week that we had an unexpected expense come up, but thankfully everything is fixed now (obviously after we paid 20k).

foundation trench

In order to deal with the cracks, the basement specialists recommended to dig out a trench throughout the edge of the foundation and add a water catching system.  That way, any water that did come in the future would funnel down into the pieces, then into the added sump pump and pipe out the yard.

adding interior weeping tiles

While we seriously considered just sealing all the cracks properly and hoping for the best, this method ensures that no water would get through the walls and ruin everything.  Still, the expense was ginormous and we’ve had to stretch the wallet for something that we weren’t planning.

interior membrane

It also took an extra few days off the “schedule” but thankfully they were able to come in pretty quickly to get it done.  I use the word schedule lightly, because it seems like whenever something is supposed to happen, an issue comes up and puts everything off track.

rental basement demolition graphic

But the Husband has assured me that everything should be built back up in the next two weeks (plumbing, electrical, drywall), ready for us to start the kitchen by the first week of October.  Unfortunately, we’re also at the mercy of passing a bunch of inspections, and because we’re located in a pretty small town, some of them don’t happen too often and we would get pushed much further back on our timeline if they don’t go well.

Next week I’m going to share photos of the framing (which should be completed tomorrow?) and talk more about the layout and what’s changed since I originally shared my plans.  There were more (smaller) problems that came up; but thankfully they have just involved some design tweaks rather than large deposits of cash…

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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