Monday, November 3, 2014

An Update

It's been ten years since we've had our basement work done and it was time for a change. I spent the better part of four days painting all but the bathroom. We're really happy with the much warmer feel of the new colors.


Thursday, December 30, 2004

One Last Entry

I took some photos with my 35mm camera the other day and Tammy had the idea to put some before and after photos together. Here's a before picture looking toward Rachel's future dance room from about where the bar would be located. Here's the after photo. This before photo was taken looking through what would soon be the half wall. Here's the after photo. The kitchenette before...and after. Another view, before...and after. Before...and after. Anyway, I wish I had more of the before photos but I don't. Here are some more photos from the 'after' collection...looking into Rachel's dance room; the entertainment center Keith made and the Tulip lamp we made for over the bumper pool table.

I didn't get any shots of the bathroom or sauna because I don't have a wide enough lens to get a decent photo.

Rachel hasn't had dance class for the past two weeks. I'm looking forward to coming home from work next Monday night and having her show us what she's working on. Wear your tap shoes, kiddo and don't worry about leaving marks on the floor. Mom and I will someday look at those marks and they'll remind us of when you were young and how you used to dance for us. Hey, have I told you lately that I love you? i do.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

Final Video

I thought I'd put together one last video of our finished basement. I don't think we could be happier with the outcome. I'm not even sure that we'd change anything if we had it to do all over again. Dan was great to work with and I can't say enough good things about him and the guys he brought in to do their parts. If you're reading this and you live in the Minneapolis area and are considering a project around your home you owe it to yourself to give Dan a chance to bid it for you. I learned of him from my brother, Keith. Keith has a cabinet shop in Farmington and he works with all sorts of contractors. When I mentioned to him that we were finally getting around to finishing our basement he recommended Dan without hesitation. Tammy and I have said several times how glad we are that we didn't try and do this job sooner because we most likely would've hooked up with someone who wouldn't have done anywhere near the job Dan and John did for us.

Here's a video of the completed project...roll the video.

To get in touch with Dan you can email him at

Dan's website is located here.

To get in touch with Keith you can reach him at 651-463-4004. View his website here.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Day Forty Four

We're so close to being finished with the project but we still have a few things remaining not the least of which is to try and figure out how to get the tv and all its components singing in harmony. Dan wants to try his hand at finding the reason why they're not working correctly before we say uncle. The tv is working fine but it's not connecting with the surround sound. The DVD is connecting with the surround sound but there's no video...Hmmm. I'll see what I can find after work tomorrow...I'm just too tired to mess with it tonight.

John was back on the job today helping Dan grout the bathroom. We're really pleased with how the bathroom turned out. it's the nicest one in our home. I called Keith tonight to let him know we could probably use a cabinet in there for towels. He'll stop by sometime in the next couple weeks and get some dimensions. No hurry. Dan and John also put in the shower and toilet. All that's left are the toilet paper holder and a bar for towels.

Mack and Larry showed up to lay the carpet. Mack is another laid off Northwest mechanic. Larry has been installing carpet for 15 years. He used to own Cedar Lanes bowling alley on 90th and Cedar ave in Bloomington until it burned down in '87. It's painful to watch them use the kick bar when stretching the carpet into place. That can't be good for your knees...but then who am I to talk about abusing your knees. The carpet looks nice and it didn't take long for Toby and Allie to start chasing each other around with the new traction pad in place.

While the carpet was being installed the cable guy came by and got our moxy box installed. As I was saying earlier, we still have some bugs to work out. I was a bit worried that the delivery from Game Room Gallery would happen at the same time that the cable and carpet guys were here but they were running late. They called to let me know and I told them that being late was a good thing for me. They showed up just after the cable guy had left.

I had to keep Toby and Allie locked up in the den because they love to go down and visit with the guys. I came up and found that Toby had discovered some gift wrapping ribbon. It was funny because for our Christmas cards Tammy posed a picture of Toby and Allie supposedly playing with some wrapping materials. This was the real thing without any staging.

I forgot to mention that the couch was delivered on Saturday and it's going to be just fine. I was worried that the color would be too similar to the carpet and tile but it's not at all. It's going to be just fine which is a good thing because it took quite a bit of effort for the movers to get it into the basement. I didn't want to have to think about getting it back to the store for a different colored one.

The last thing we did today was to hang the lamp over the pool table. Maybe now I can get some photos of it and post them week.

Yes, if you carefully read the last post I made you would have picked up my hint that there was something extra being delivered along with the pool table. Tammy took Rachel to Tammy's aunt's home to show her how to make Lefse but more importantly to get Rachel out of the house while a certain delivery was made. Rather than spell it out I'll let you watch for yourself...roll the video.

I don't know what got into me but when we went to Game Room Gallery to buy the bumper pool table a couple months ago. I saw the Simpson's pinball machine for sale and the wheels started turning in my head. I didn't say anything to Tammy that first night we were there but on our second visit I mentioned that it would be fun if we could have it for our basement. Let's just say I didn't have to twist her arm too hard to get her to agree. Hey, we've got it set on free play so come on by and leave your quarters at home.

John was the first of many today to try their hand at it. Tammy also gave it a go and she has the high score so far at 6,000,000+. The closest I could come was 4,500,000. I think we've got a challenge in the making. We talked about trying out the sauna for the first time but I think we all tired too soon. Maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, that's it from here today. Dan will be by in the morning to continue working on all the little stuff remaining. I think we're all ready for the project to be completed. One thing Tammy and I can say is that we not only got our basement finished nicer than we ever imagined it would be but we've met some incredibly nice people along the way. It won't be the same without Dan and John and the rest of the guys coming by to do their stuff. We'll have to stay in touch for sure...besides, we've maybe got some more plans in the works. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Day Forty Three

John came by early this morning to finish the finishing work. He'll leave just a bit of trim remaining to be done in the bathroom and Dan will finish that once the caulking is done. Dan also came by this morning to work on some of the odds and ends. I was telling Dan last week that when I'm in the final steps of completing a lamp I always underestimate how much more time it will take to complete the job. He said our basement project will be much the same. The loose ends can be very time consuming to tie up.

Dan worked on installing the sink and faucet as well as changing out the door on the cooler. After he'd finished that we brought the TV down and put it in place in the entertainment center. The cable guy is coming in the morning so we needed to have it ready to go.

Keith came by yesterday and did some trim work under the bar top on the half wall into Rachel's dance room. He also brought along a nice swivel stand he made for the 15" tv in the bar cabinet.

I spent most of yesterday wiring up the speakers and running to BestBuy to try and find the specific cables I needed to wire the different components. I'll find out tomorrow how successful I was at making my connections. I finished getting the speakers installed for the surround sound this morning.

It was a late night last night made even later by my cousin's visit on her way back to DC. Deborah ran into some snowy weather and missed her connection in MSP so she stayed with us for the night. It gave us a chance to christen the bar with a glass of wine. All that was missing were the bar stools and they'll stay missing until the carpet is installed tomorrow.

Monday is going to be a busy day around here. The cable guy comes in the morning between 9 and 11. Hopefully all will go well with getting the TVs online. We're also expecting a 10:30 am delivery from Game Room Gallery of the bumper pool table and maybe something else. ;) The carpet installers are also supposed to be here sometime tomorrow to do their thing. I'm hoping there isn't too much overlap with all of these guys but there's bound to be some. It would be nice if the carpet guys didn't show up until later morning or these guys will be tripping over one another.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Day Forty Two

Today was the biggest day of all so far. I couldn't believe all the stuff coming off of Keith's trailer and into our home. We had to stage some of it in different areas of the house so there was room to work in the basement. We suffered one casualty along the way. Dan and I were carrying in some cabinets with Dan walking backwards ahead of me. We were talking about something and not really paying attention to what we were doing and Dan backed into one of the steps leading up to the front door and went down with the cabinet crashing hard into his shin and also catching his knee. But like a trooper the first thing out of his mouth was 'I saved the cabinet!'. He definitely took one for the team. Thanks Dan and I really apologize because it should have been me to warn you of the step but I didn't even think of it.

Assembling the cabinets was an all day job for Keith, Doug, Dave and Jason. Dave is also an air traffic controller. We used to work together for several years up until recently when he transfered out to the tower at MSP airport to be closer to his home. He works for Keith and Doug on Fridays. He has carpentry in his blood and this is a good way for him stay in touch with it. He also coaches girls soccer. A better friend you're not likely to find. Dave's also the one who helped me (or should I say I helped him) build our stained glass shop.

Jason is a younger guy who recently began working for Keith. He's a good kid. Here's a photo of him assembling the doors to the entertainment center. Speaking of the entertainment center...I had to run some errands after we offloaded the trailer and when I came back I was a bit wowed by it. It's huge but not too big. It's quite the centerpiece for the room. Actually, I think it will make our TV look not quite so large.

While the cabinets were being assembled, Dan put the finishing touches on the balance bar in the dance room. There wasn't much else Dan could do today with Keith and his crew everywhere and we needed to stay out of their way.

Did I mention how amazed I am by my brother, Keith? To watch him work is a thing of beauty. It seems that he doesn't get rattled by anything. A problem appears and he takes it in stride and provides a solution. I've got so much admiration for him...and to think, I couldn't stand the guy while we were growing up. I'm thankful for maturity.

Dave got the dart board hung in place with the bullseye the required 5'8" from the floor. Keith incorporated an arc into the raised panel front. We wanted to hide the outlet inside the wall but we were over a cold air return and it wasn't doable. Keith did a nice job of covering it so it wasn't so obvious.

I don't think we could have been more pleased with the laminate we chose for the counter tops. Here's a bit of the bathroom counter. I think it's called, Fallen Leaf. It just seems to go well in there.

I called Keith a few nights ago from the place we're purchasing the bumper pool table from (Game Room Gallery in Burnsville) to see if he would be able to build a pool cue holder or would it be best if I just bought one. He told me he had something in mind and would bring it by today. This is so much nicer than what I would have found at the store. Notice again the arc Keith carried into this as well. The base piece is similar.

After it was all assembled, Keith recommended that I paint the area behind where the TV will go a flat black. I wouldn't have thought of that. It will look nicer once everything is in place to not see the lighter colored wall behind.

Here's a photo of the bar and kitchenette. We've still got a few things we're working on in this area and hope to have it nearly finished tomorrow. I'd forgotten to buy a faucet for the sink so I went out tonight and found one. Keith is working on a swivel support for the TV which will go in the upper left of the cabinets along the back wall above the microwave.

Rachel came home from school and ran downstairs to check it all out. I heard her say several times something to the affect that 'this is so cool'. She ran and got Katrina from across the street and she came down and responded in a similar way. Oh, btw...Rachel is ready for Christmas...she did this design on her own ;) Tammy got home from work after everyone had left and I think she must have said the word 'magnificent' three times in five minutes.

Magnificent...mag·nif·i·cent ( P ) Pronunciation Key (mg-nf-snt)adj.
Splendid in appearance; grand: a magnificent palace.
Grand or noble in thought or deed; exalted.
Outstanding of its kind; superlative: a magnificent place for sailing. See Synonyms at grand.

Yea, I'd say that's a pretty good assessment.

Anyway, it's been a long day and I should wrap this up. Schneiderman's will be by in the morning to deliver the couch which I don't think we'll keep. It's tan and I really think it needs to be a deeper color. We'll give it a go though and if it doesn't work out we'll have to special order the color we really want...more of a deep forest green. Dan will be by sometime in the afternoon as will Keith. We're also hoping/expecting John to come by and finish the trim work if he has the time.

Just a have to look close to get the humor in today's comic. Lemme know if you need help.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Day Forty One

Dan finished laying the bathroom tile. He told me he spent quite a bit of time last night thinking and rethinking the tile. His inclination this morning was to tile only two of the walls. I was sort of thinking the same thing yesterday after the first wall was done. We all agreed that tiling all the walls would maybe give it more of an industrial feel. Just tiling two of the walls gives it a rich look but doesn't overdo it. It looks real nice.

Seth, Pete and one other guy from Clearview Glass came by around 11:00 with our mirrors. We had to spend 30 minutes or so checking and double checking the placement of the holes in the glass for attaching the brackets which hold the balance bar. There was only one chance to do it right so as Ross Perot would say, 'my daddy used to tell me to measure twice and cut once'. Dan had nailed some supports behind the drywall to anchor the brackets to but once we got to actually placing the bar we decided to shift the position we'd originally planned for meaning we wouldn't be able to use the supports Dan had made. Fortunately we were able to center it all on some studs and get it pretty close to where we wanted it. It all looks very nice and we're looking forward to seeing the balance bar in place. Rachel got home from school and ran downstairs to see how it looked. She's very happy with it.

Dan and I spent the last 45 minutes of the day clearing out all the tools, left over materials and trash from the basement in preparation for Keith, his crew and the cabinets to arrive in the morning. Keith anticipates it's going to be an all day job fitting everything into place. I'll try and help where I can tomorrow but I'm more concerned with staying out of the way. Knowing Keith's appetite for Subway, I think I can at least plan a Subway run for everybody. It's going to be a big day tomorrow.