Basement


In high school, I had a car that was affectionately (and simultaneously distastefully) known as “The Fridge”. It was a junky white Pontiac, and the hood had a bad case of peeling paint. When I would whine about driving a junker, my dad would say, “Well why would we get you a nicer car, when you can’t even keep this one clean?” He had a good point. Just because it had peeling paint and the ceiling upholstery was falling down, didn’t mean that the back seat had to be littered with school papers and lunch bags and drink cups. Aren’t teenagers gross?

Anyway, my laundry room was resembling The Fridge. Clothes were piled on the washer, detergent had trickled down and made a gooey mess on my beautiful front loaders, and there was dust everywhere. It’s like my teenager self had decided that if I couldn’t have an awesome room, then I was going to have absolutely no pride in it. I’ll show my parents for not giving me a nicer car!

So I cleaned it up. Yes, the walls are still cracked and have some death-liquid running down them, and the uneven cement floor has peeling paint (much like The Fridge! see how good at metaphors I am?!), and the stud wall offers me a great view of the water heater, but that doesn’t mean it has to be disgusting.

Since I don’t really know how to level a cement floor, frame in walls, or sheetrock (and I don’t have a “laundry room fund” set aside at the moment), it may be a while before my laundry room looks like this:

For now, this is the best I can do:

(Trust me, you don’t want to see a “before”.)

And it beats the heck outta the laundromat.

I used an old Ikea rug to protect the tops of the machines, and wiped everything down. I displayed the kitschy laundry painting, because my dad picked it out and I can’t bear to get rid of it.

I know it’s no mega makeover, but it feels so much better! Maybe I can inspire one of you to “spring clean” a depressing area of your house. It feels gooooood!

And along those same lines, I also washed all the windows. Whew! But it’s such a wonderful, cheap way to let in more light, especially on dark winter days.

And lastly (because this post is already all over the place), I made this delicious tomato soup. It’s what you should make if you too are longing for summertime tomatoes from the garden, but it’s January.

(Adapted from this recipe)

2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 14.5-oz can vegetable broth
1 generous tsp dried basil leaves
2 tsp sugar
1 cup half-and-half
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil

Heat tomatoes, basil, and broth on the stove until boiling. Reduce heat and cover- simmer 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir until butter is melted.

Eat with a big drippy grilled cheese (PS- the secret to a perfectly melty grilled cheese sandwich is to not put the other piece of bread on until the cheese is melted- put a lid on it to speed the melting process). And if you look at the other recipe, you’ll see I’ve cut the fat quite a bit, so I think that calls for a little grilled cheese indulgence. 🙂

Happy, happy Monday.

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Remember when I posted this picture of my new workshop, and told you I would tell you more about the whole kitchen’s worth of cabinets I got for free? Well thank your lucky stars, today is your day.

These are the same cabinets before Kristin went a little overboard with the Mexican theme and painted them bright orange:

They were original to her 1985 townhouse, so when she had the opportunity to get all new cabinets, she took it. (And her kitchen looks awesome! If only she would update her blog…) In exchange for our labor of removing these old ones, she let Stan and I take them for free. Wahooo!! They’re nothing fancy, that’s for sure- and 25 years old, but they’re sturdy and solid and we have a few ideas for them.

Idea #1

Finish the basement into a little apartment to rent out and use these in the kitchen. I think I could add some trim just like Daniel did to his bathroom vanity, slap a couple coats of white paint on them, and these babies would be lookin’ mighty fine.

Idea #2

Build a new garage and use these in it. Old (free) cabinets are awesome as storage/workbenches in a garage and these ones are sturdy enough to do the trick.

The fate of the cabinets probably relies mostly on what we put at the top of our priority list. A basement apartment would be nice because that’s an income generator. (Both of my brothers have done this with their “starter” homes and it’s worked out well for them. And yes there would be a separate entrance. I put the laundry room in a spot where it could be shared with the basement and the upstairs. If we needed more space in a few years, it would be easy enough to take the cabinets out and convert the kitchen space back into a living space- same goes for future buyers.) But a new garage would be awesome as well- a place to park a car out of the snowy weather! An awesome workshop!

Both would add to the value of the home, but I’m thinking the basement may be the smarter financial move. I’ll just put this on the “dream” list, and meanwhile the cabinets have a good life hangin’ out in the basement.