We have a two level apartment in San Francisco. We are very, very lucky. The only problem is the downstairs had been trashed by floods, toddlers, kids, cats, normal wear and tear and a bit of good old neglect.
The result? No one wanted to be down there, so our family of six was pretty much crunched in our upper level as the downstairs accumulated more junk, more cat problems and more tendency to neglect the area. The worse it got the less I would go down there. It was a vicious cycle.
Something had to be done.
The first step was deciding what type of floor to put in. Steve and I always dreamed of putting hardwood in. I went to Lumber Liquidators and found a wonderful Strand-Woven Bamboo from their house brand Morning Star. I liked that bamboo is a renewable resource and when you choose strand woven it is incredibly durable.
The downstairs was painted all yellow. Even on the ceiling. It had also been colored on by Ella. (she wrote her name everywhere) I called my brother-in-law, who is a pro-painter, and he agreed to help me paint if I did all the prep. Chloe and I got to work taking everything off the walls and patching all the holes and sanding sections.
We worked for 3 days and got the room fully painted and the carpets all ripped up. My brother-in-law worked a few more finalizing everything to install the floor. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
It took three long weekends, but the space is now complete. It is like a blank slate waiting to get fixed up with better storage solutions, art hung, lighting and a new rug, but I am really liking the results.
I had wanted to do this for many years, but never was able to take the plunge and commit to the work.
Here are some tips on tackling something like this:
1. Set a deadline
The only way I was able to get Chloe’s room done was because I promised her it would be done by March 30th. I targeted this room to be done by June 3rd and that set the wheels in motion and the project just rolled out from there.
2. Get help in any way you can. (pay for it or ask a friend)
I hired my friend initially to do a major organization of all the stuff that had accumulated. I had friends come over and help me move all the furniture. Steve’s son Erin helped watch the kids and do other random jobs connected with the project. I had Chloe filling nail holes. My brother-in-law went above and beyond on the entire project and my floor guy did an amazing job.
3. Make decisions and stick with them.
So many floor choices, so many paint colors. So many options. You can drive yourself nuts. I found the bamboo and just decided that was the one. I did a little shopping around just to ensure I was getting a good price (3.59 per sq ft, Memorial Day Sale!) and bought it. The paint color was some left over white from another project. I did not put a lot of thought into it. This made it a lot easier for me.
4. When in doubt, throw it out.
We got rid of so much stuff. It is liberating. We did two junk pick ups. Tons and tons of stuff is gone. Ahhhhhhhhh…… Now Erin keeps telling me “the trick to organization is finding a place for everything”. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.