Ok, Em. I took this challenge to heart. My basement has been a work in progress for some time but I kind of stalled out on it, for a couple reasons—including the one that makes me sad. Some of my favorite people who used to come play down here almost every week aren’t around anymore. But this week, instead of avoiding that, I held that loss in my heart while I worked. It makes me smile to think how excited those little faces would be to come play in this brand-new, cleaned-up version of R-basement.

So. Lest you think I went overboard here, Em, your challenge simply helped me finish something that was soooo close to being done. Thank you, girl!

The story of our basement starts about 60 years ago, when every house in my neighborhood apparently decided they needed to add a bar and possibly a poker room, or maybe a dance floor. Definitely a work bench too. Sometimes a fireplace. A bathroom if you’re lucky. Oh, and wood paneling.

I know this, because I’m an avid estate saler, and I’ve been in a LOT of these basements. I smile every time. It’s so predictable. Which is so cute to me. (Sorry, guys, it just is.)

Also, because I’ve seen so many of these basements, I happen to know that I’m one of the lucky ones. Mr. T, who built this house and whose 90-something wife sold it to me, was both talented and a perfectionist. I don’t just have a bar. I have a full, wet bar, complete with an old freezer and a little sink. I have a gas fireplace (that I MUST get working!). I have real wood paneling, not fake.

I do heart R-house, and Mr. T.

Anyway, in spite of all that, here’s the general state of our basement for the past few years:


Finally, this winter, when Pa asked me if I had anything he could do for me (I know! I’m spoiled!), I asked if he’d consider painting the basement. He’s a great painter.

He said yes.


I don’t blame you if you’re a little jealous. Again, spoiled.

The problem is, now I’ve had this beautiful shiny white basement with things thrown everywhere, thanks to preparing for a garage sale, a sewer issue, moving things for painting, and who knows what else.



Getting tagged was just the motivation I needed. Wanna see where we ended up?

Come on down…





Or should I say, valkommen!, since I channeled all my swedishness for the bright and cheery decor down here. Most of this was left over from R-townhouse where we used to live, or it’s been collected along the way.



There’s a little IKEA sprinkled about…


And a few things, like this candle and the table it sits on, that have been passed on from my swedish ancestors (my grandpa made the table).


basement-after9-_-the-both-and-_-shorts-and-longsAs for the toys, most of them are behind the bar…

basement-after8-_-the-both-and-_-shorts-and-longs…including a little kichenette and cradle that my grandpa  made for me when I was about 5, and cradle linens my grandma sewed. They still kill me.

basement after 17 | the both and | shorts and longs


And who doesn’t want an (unplugged) Frigidaire freezer and (disconnected) real sink in their play kitchen? Plus lots and lots of dress-up clothes.

basement after 18 | the both and | shorts and longs

I need kids to come play. Now!

basement after 16 | the both and | shorts and longsHere’s the play school (or play foosball, or play whatever you want) area:



basement-after12-_-the-both-and-_-shorts-and-longsNow for the full disclosure part. I’m not sure technically what “clean your basement” means to you, Em, and I think if Ma and Pa were moving in here for three months, I’d have a slightly different definition, but here’s what it meant to me. Main living area and bathroom.


It did NOT include the workroom (cough, cough, gasp), so the walk to the bathroom is taken at your own risk.

basement-after13-_-the-both-and-_-shorts-and-longsYep, that’s another project for another day.

Phew… I’m pooped! I’m sure you are too if you made it to the end of this marathon post. OR if you’re one of the brave ones who took this tag and ran with it. (If you did, leave a comment! We want to know!)

As for the rest of you:


by julie rybarczyk