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2014/09/29 / Shanan


If I wait any longer to start showing you at least snippets of our very happy basement renovation, it will inevitably take a full season of the old hem ‘n haw game: me throwing pillows and magazines around in an attempt to ‘style’ our lives and lamenting over the quality of my own photos.  So carpe diem and all that.

You may recall hearing about built-in bookshelf inspiration and wanting to paint the living room walls pink. Done and done (with more to see soon).  Up top is what the main wall looks like and below is the  somewhat-blank-slate-in-progress once our ceiling had been drywalled.  We decided to go with the full grey bookshelf treatment (the colour is the never-fail Chelsea Grey from Benjamin Moore) and Chris basically built the forms around the doorway to the mudroom and that lowered ceiling beam, which had to stay.  He did such an amazing job!

We mounted what I’ve been told is our incredibly modest-sized television into the unit and at the bottom there’s a row of closed shelving so we can hide art supplies, kid’s games, etc (just noticing that some of the doors are slightly ajar in the photo above… yeah, yeah).

the symmetric basement reno before

built-in bookshelf reno vintage peacock chair

The peacock chair came from a neighbour’s garage sale this summer and will probably be getting the full spray-paint treatment.  If I decide to show restraint it will be white… if not, a really bright yellow.  Only time and pregnancy hormones will tell.  We’ll also do a seat cushion but isn’t that little pillow beautiful?  Chris’ mom sewed it for us with fabric from an old skirt of mine (that I will never, ever, ever fit into again).  The rug is a hand-me-down from my parents and makes the room feel cozy.


I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have all our books out of boxes after literally almost three years.  Is it possible that we have even more art and conspiracy theory books than I remembered?

built-in bookshelf reno DIY grey west elm lamp

This was my old cream couch… it’s also been in storage more or less since just after Theo was born, so we’ll see how it fares with sticky fingers abound. But we’ll deal. The brass tripod lamp is new from West Elm.


Still-life with pretentious paperbacks and thrifted gold apple jar.

Rah rah sis boom bah – there’s more of the living room to show you, plus the budget bathroom, mudroom and laundry transformations. But I hear patience is a virtue… ?  What do you think so far?

  • allison_bt:

    It looks fantastic!! I have to admit I am just a tad jelly as we’ve discussed similar upgrades to our place for oh, seven years now, with no action. Congrats!

  • Shanan:

    Thanks, Allison! Upcoming baby has been a good incentive to FINALLY get these things done… nesting and all that.

  • Jana:

    I love everything about it! Chris did an amazing job with the built-in shelving. Inspires me to get started on ours…one day.

  • natalia:

    the lamp finally arrived!!!

  • Trilby:

    Looks fab! (And I love pretentious paperbacks).


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