“It’s kind of an acid trip-in the basement! Or maybe an episode of ‘Lucy and Ethel decide to wallpaper’!” — Lynne
“It’s like the ’60s and ’70s threw up in there. I love it.” — Lauri V.
“The patchwork effect works as a tongue-in-cheek homage to the Early American style that was all the rage when we were kids. — Kathleen
“You led me astray with all the posts on Scandinavian wall systems… I was expecting some very pared down, sleek Danish modern-type space.” — Lynn-O-Matic
“…Alice in Wallpaper Wonderland…” — Annie B.
I’ve had not the best day so far today – it just got better! — Jason
My mother always used to say, “Well I better do something, even if it’s wrong.” — Lauri V., back again with wisdom for our times.
It’s been fun all week to show off my office craft room remodel — and to read your comments. Maybe I’d best get back to the rest of retro world, so my special series is coming to an end (although I will have its and bits more within the next few weeks spotlighting various resources etc.) To wrap things up: I did a big camera download, and here are 25 photos of some of the details — each one of them sweated and second-guessed, of course, right up until the minute the credit card was slapped down on a counter.
Above: I kept the wagon wheel light that I had already put in place. I purchased it a long time ago from Eco Building Bargains in Springfield, Mass. I like that this light is… wonky and unexpected… compared to the compared to the sleeker 60s look going on throughout the rest of the room. But hey, the milk glass mimics the brite white in other details!
Diminutive track lights: Bought these new from Ross at Berkshire Lighting Outlet up the road — the team there is always amazingly helpful. The lights and strips are Halo brand, *I think*. Just a normal brand. They are on a dimmer. Which may have to be disconnected — because even though I had the electricians install the kind of dimmer that does not buzz, I still hear buzzing.
Maybe to orient you, I should walk you around a pamorama of the room before I jump into all the details. Above: The east wall, aka the wall shared with the bathroom. I talked all about the recessed shelves in this story. The amazing butterfly tile was a surprise gift from Bungalow Bill. Squint center, low and you can see pipes sticking out the wall. While I had the walls open, I took advantage of the bathroom plumbing in the exact same wall, and prepped for a sink inside my office/craft studio. I will do something… crafty…with the sink and this area of the room. Soon. Even though I don’t need this sink terribly badly right now (the basement slop sink is not far away), I do neeeeeed to finish this room… I am going to finish what I started, because I have other little projects I want to do. I am all inspired.
Disclosure: Runtal gave me a discount on the retail price of this baseboard heater.
Above: The south wall. Some key details here: The Runtal electric baseboard heater — pretty! Orange shutters — which came from my mother-in-law; they are decorative, I have them hinged but I do not have them set up to go across the entire window. The wood trim all came from Eco Building Bargains, Springfield. More on that story in a bit.
Above: The north wall. I’ve also talked a lot about this wall — the built in shelves… the vintage medicine cabinet… the New Old Stock Sunbeam Appliance Center.
Now, back to specific details: I love my Runtal electric baseboard heater. It is a new product for them — the company is well known for its radiators, which look just like this. The electric is a new thing. This heater is 4′ long. It is very heavy — like 40 pounds. And it is really powerful — the electricians had never seen one before, they were impressed. I have been able to turn it on a few times (before summer kicked in decisively) and it really does seem to warm the room well. It is more like a furnace, almost, than what you think of when you hear “electric baseboard heater.” Disclosure: This was the one product that I asked a company if they would be interested in providing to my project, in trade for advertising or some sort of sponsorship. Runtal declined that request, but they did give me a discount on my online purchase. Now that it’s installed, would I pay the full price if I had to? Yes. I love it. It looks fantastic and seems to work great. I will do a followup story spotlighting this particular product because I think it is so stylish and 1970s (at least) authentic.
Above: I put this photo in so you could see more of the track lights and my vintage wagon wheel light. The carpet — was already in the room, and runs throughout the basement. It’s gold-ish. You can also see the trim here… I’ll talk more…
The shutters, as I mentioned, were from my mother-in-law. The paint is original. I had to get new hardware to attached the shutters to the window molding. The best place I found online for shutter hardware was: Shutter Medic. The hinges that I ordered came very fast, and they seemed very fairly priced. The green ceiling trim… the white window trim… and in other photos you can see the stained wood baseboard trim… all came from Eco Building Bargains. Now here’s a huge irony: They came from a house in Cambridge, Mass., that This Old House TV is working on and will feature in upcoming episodes. Yes: This Old House gutting original (?) 1887 trim… letting Eco Building Bargains take it… where it lands in my patchwork crazy office. Here’s the house. The “dated” word gets thrown around quite cavalierly. Ha! Their “dated” is my “triumph”! Dated dated dated dated.
This ceiling trim had amazing detail. Pardon my painting. At first I painted it white, but white was too milquetoast what with everything else going on in the room. Then I chose this green. Pointed at a color on a chip at Sherwin-Williams. Now that is living dangerously!
I had to repaint the ceiling trim this green when it was already installed. It was a real pain. The painter’s tape was not working too well, really. This close up makes my errors much more visible than they are in real life. There are three different styles of ceiling trim — because I could only get so much linear feet of the frou frou from the Cambridge House at Eco Building Bargains (there is more to this story, but I’m already writing too much this week.) The two 14′ long walls of my room both got the flowery trim. One short wall (above) got that piece you see; the bathroom wall got something similar. The corner bead (or whatever you call it) — which we needed because the different designs of trim could not be mitered neatly — are, get this: Lincoln logs. When Kevin and Dave were here to install the trim, I had to hustle around my hoarding piles to find something we could use for this bead. Last year, I had purchased some Lincoln logs — or, it’s something like Lincoln logs — and we played with the pieces until we found a combo that would work.
Above: The baseboard trim. Again — this i straight from the This Old House TV project house. The patina is fabulous. I left all the holes. There are rosettes around the doors, too!
The cafe curtain is a fragment of lace curtain I had in a house I sold 13 years ago. It’s an Arts & Crafts design. Once I knew I was going to use those shutters, I knew I wanted a lacy white cafe curtain and remembered these, they were in a box in the attic. I bought the long adjustable rod from Home Depot.
I wrote a whole separate story about my Ikea and Eco Building Bargains storage solution.
You gotta break some eggs to bake a cake. We had to remove the wall-to-wall carpet to gut remodel the room. The pad underneath was, at that point, already trashed. So I used the carpet pad for comfort and warmth when I was working in the room. I love my little vintage stepstool, too — it was $4, the color is Safety Orange.
My vintage medicine cabinet — purchased like 9 years ago and sitting in the attic waiting for its moment of glory. I love the scallop and the etched flower. There’s just something perfect about how it sits in the room.
Amazing what hair, makeup, lighting and a little photoshop gel can do. Above: Real life, up to our elbows in wallpaper paste, taking a break to capture the moment. Those are our boys — my Astro, Denise’s Bug. We had us some fun.
Have yourself some fun out there, too. Okay?