January 10, 2012

Basement office/play area improvements

As promised, I finally cleaned up moved a few piles of things out of frame temporarily so I could take some photos of the new and improved basement office and play space that we created over David's winter vacation. It's such an improvement over the space that was here before, it's amazing. I looked for some before photos to give you an idea of the previous space, but I don't even have any. Suffice to say it was cramped and not super functional, and now it's so open and useable that I can't even believe it's the same room!

We used a few kitchen cabinets from Ikea as the bones for our work space. A tall cabinet with pull-out drawers flanks each side of the desk area to provide much-needed storage for toys and office supplies.  The desk surface is a kitchen countertop with a small drawer unit (from the Ikea office area) in the middle for extra storage and also to provide support. We originally planned to add doors to the wall cabinets all the way across, but they were sold out of the size we needed for the middle one. Now that they're up, I think the open storage is kind of nice to break up all those doors and give us a little bit of a display area.

The tall cabinet on the right (my side) is home to the printer, the scanner, the Silhouette, and some assorted office supplies. The pull-out drawers make it easy to access things when you need them, and then close the drawer and hide it all out of sight when you don't. LOVE!

David's side is home to his new beast of a Mac that was a Christmas gift from my very generous in-laws. That computer is actually what started this whole thing, as our previous desk space was hardly large enough to support this new mega-monitor, and since I requested the hand-me-down Mac for my very own, that meant that we would need space for two work stations anyway.

The tall cabinet on David's side is storage for the play area that lies beyond. The drawers make it easy for Lincoln to select something to play with and makes it clear where to return it when he's done. So far, he's done a great job of keeping things tidy and is actually remarkably helpful when it's time to clean up.

This corner is now home to the train table and easel, and also has plenty of open floor space for other activities. We would still like to add some book storage for kid's books, and hang that magnetic board that's currently just leaning up against the wall by the cabinet. I also think we'll need to get a fireplace door like the one we have upstairs to replace the screen that's currently there. Lincoln doesn't mess with it at all, but I'm sure Thing 2 will find a way to hurt herself once she's mobile. Obviously, we have plenty of time to figure that out!

We still have some things to do to make it a little more homey- like re-hang the art that used to live on the walls where the cabinets now are. A little painting might also be in order, as most of the walls are the color you see above, except for two that are white. It's a little weird and disjointed, so we're thinking of finishing it off all in the same color, or adding an accent wall. Perhaps a full 360 degree tour will be in order once we've gotten those things straightened out.

Now that it's all done, I couldn't be happier with the new space. We have a nice family room down here now instead of a chopped-up bunch of not terribly useful areas. And I'm amazed at how easily it all came together. We were fully anticipating lots of swearing and problems as we took on such a big project, but the DIY gods must have been smiling on us that night as we had no trouble and everything came together beautifully. And it was certainly helpful that Lincoln was staying overnight with Grandma and Papa the evening that we did the major installation, so we could make as much noise as we needed and work into the wee hours. Thank you!

There are a couple more pics of the space in a flickr set here. I'll add notes and links to sources if anyone is curious.