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Woohoo! I am proud to report that my basement renovation is finally, totally, completely, almost done. There are just a couple of minor repairs (shaving off a door that can’t clear the new, plushy, cushy, awesome carpet and repairing a leaky toilet) and then hanging some pictures on the walls when my photo prints arrive in the mail.

I am even prouder to report that it came in … over time and over budget! Not a surprise, but thankfully the overruns were not too extreme. I had naively hoped that the “three day carpet” from Home Depot would take three days, but of course it ended up taking more than a month to get it completely installed — the three days apparently refers only to scheduling a date for them to come measure, then the carpet takes several weeks to manufacture beyond that, then another week or two to schedule the installation. No matter — I needed the extra time for painting (every. single. surface. ouch!), repairs, and assembly my collection of Goodwill- and Craigslist-sourced furniture. I hoped to be done and ready for guests by October 1. It’s looking more like it will be Oct. 15, but that’s really not too bad in the scheme of self-contracting.

Cost-wise, the total ended up at $5,363.47. I had an aspirational budget of $4,000 and a “real” budget of $5,000, so I feel pretty good about this without too much self-flagellation. I definitely splurged on a number of things that I could have forgone completely or, with more patience, found more cheaply on Craigslist, and I ended up doing some improvements and acquiring a number of furnishings that I hadn’t initially calculated in my budget — repairing said leaky toilet, adding a towel bar to the bathroom, new peel-and-stick flooring in the utility closets, a necessary extra coat of paint, extra pillows, storage shelves, microwave, etc. I also made a valiant effort to find some of the bigger-ticket items like the sofa and dresser on Craigslist or at Goodwill to no avail, but I feel good knowing I tried.

The constraints of a budget made this a fun process — finding some great deals on Craigslist, learning how to spray paint, and going to bed with a sore back almost every night (that’s fun? sort of) — but it was also fun to know that I was saving enough in certain areas to be able to splurge in others. I got a very nice carpet and pad, which I couldn’t be happier with (coming from someone who normally despises carpet), and had a few overly indulgent Ikea shopping sprees, including one where my mom got to help load an entire sofa into her rental SUV while visiting from the east coast — one of the highlights of my summer, though perhaps not hers!

So without further ado, here are some shots before and after of the nearly-finally-final masterpiece — what a difference some paint, carpet, and the removal of track lighting can make!!

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BEFORE: Living Room


AFTER: Living Room

BEFORE: Kitchen

BEFORE: Kitchen


AFTER: Kitchen

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BEFORE: Bedroom 1


AFTER: Bedroom 1


BEFORE: Bedroom 2


AFTER: Bedroom 2

Woohoo! I love it so much I want to live there myself — a cozy home is a wonderful thing and I’m immensely grateful for my ability to do this, have this, and live this. Growing up is pretty awesome.




© 2015, Cheddar Pie. All rights reserved.

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