The horror of our basement – it’s time to get dirty!

There is still a long list of “to-dos” around the house – hangovers from the renovation that I’ve been procrastinating on doing. Here’s a secret: I actually don’t really enjoy renovation. Its a lot of work! It is dirty, frustrating, seeming endless work! So, once we moved in, I stalled. Ok, I didn’t just stall, I literally QUIT WORKING ON IT. There are some very good reasons for this (and not just because I’m lazy) the main reason is that it is totally thankless work that most people won’t even notice and not really anything that I would even bother posting on the blog but it still will take a large chunk of my time and energy.

First example – interior doors. Here’s the thing: they’re old so they don’t necessarily fit into the standard framing size that I built for them so it’s not like going to the store, buying a door and putting it in. Oh no, the process of getting these doors sanded down, cut down (if need be), painted and hung is almost nothing like the usual process of “installing an interior door” so they’ve been on the back burner. We need a door on my office, a door to the basement and a door on our master bedroom. Not to mention I still have a pile of closet doors to build.

Second example: All of our exterior door thresholds need to be purchased, stained to match our hardwood floors, sealed and installed. Right now we have gaps between our exterior doors and our floors. Its not pretty but it is literally just cosmetic. We also have a number of holes in our hardwood floors (three really obvious ones) where the hvac used to run vents up from the basement into our living room and kitchen. Big holes the size of long bricks. Very ugly. Any patch I put there is not going to be the perfect wood color match to the existing floors which is why I keep procrastinating because I have a really hard time putting my heart and soul into “average” when there are other projects I would much rather be doing.

Now I mentioned “renovation” in the beginning of this post and no I have not yet talked about anything I would consider “renovation” (It just drives me crazy when people call “painting a room in their house” a “renovation”) No, the reason I mentioned renovation is because right now, what I have staring me down and what I am working myself up to tackling is our basement. The Dungeon.

The sad, tear-filled, horror story of our basement, how we wasted so much time and money for nothing and now have a new renovation plan for a workshop. The sad, tear-filled, horror story of our basement, how we wasted so much time and money for nothing and now have a new renovation plan for a workshop.
The sad, tear-filled, horror story of our basement, how we wasted so much time and money for nothing and now have a new renovation plan for a workshop.

Here’s the thing about the basement that brought me to a full, tear-filled, halt. I started renovating my Grandma’s house in the spring of 2014, only six months after Joe and I started dating. ALL of the plans I made for this home were based on the idea that I would be doing all of the work by myself and I would be living here as a single gal. SO, because the basement had a second entrance I planned on putting in a rental suite down there because I knew with only one income I would not be able to afford the house payments and still be able to buy food (and I like to eat from time to time). Fast forward a year and a half later and Joe drops the bomb on me: he doesn’t want anyone living in our basement regardless of how much they might pay us. I don’t blame Joe because, quite frankly, I don’t want anyone living in our basement either! But, dammit!!!! Moth***nf!! So much time and f**s***dammit**ing!!! So much money… sh**** ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Does the man know I cannot abide waste?! Does he love me at all!? (These are the moments they talk about “compromise” when it comes to a happy marriage.)

Did Joe tell me NO? Of course not! The man knows better then to ever tell me no! Honestly, he would just find a way to survive if I decided to forge ahead and finish this basement and get a renter in it. However, I really don’t want somebody living in our basement either, the only reason this is killing me is because of the waste of time and money we’ve (mostly ME) have put in down there. I framed in this entire basement, I ran all of the new electrical, installed two baseboard heaters, I plumbed in an ENTIRE kitchen, a sub pump, full bathroom AND laundry room! Joe spent an entire day with a sledge hammer and jackhammer making a hole in our 100 year old foundation to put in an egress window so this rental suite could be legal – not to mention I hauled the majority of that foundation out of here – rock by frickin rock! I even put a sub panel down here that cost us at least $2,000 to get installed. All for nothing. *head lands on desk.* At one point (because I clearly hate myself) I actually did the math and figured out that I wasted nearly twenty thousand dollars in this basement.

Not to mention!!!

(now we come to the worst part . . . cue the Jaws music)

This basement was my Grandparents’ winter wood workshop. It was full of tools, shelves, work benches and in one of the corners was my grandma’s cellar and mason jar storage. I ripped it all out. I hauled it all away honestly believing that I had no choice. If I had known I NEVER would have touched this basement.

*deep breath*

This is killing me, I miss my Grandparents’ old basement so much, it used to be one of my very favorite places. It used to smell like roots and black dirt and pine and wood and old wonderful things – it was so cool. Knowing it was me who destroyed it, knowing now that I didn’t even need to, is heart breaking.

I have literally broken my own heart.

*head lands on desk again.*

I have cried many many tears over this situation and my poor husband feels so responsible that he’s been desperately trying to come up with something to make me feel better. And … low and behold… the man said, “Why don’t we make it your wood workshop?” Oh. My. Gosh . . . like . . . my own wood workshop? A place to work all winter long, a place to keep all of my tools and paint instead out in the garage? A place for just my stuff? Really? Like I’m a real furniture refinisher and wood builder? Oh wow . . .

Does this plan soften the blow? Not all of the way of course (we literally ripped out a workshop to put in a workshop!) I’ve still wasted hundreds of hours down here and thousands of dollars. HOWEVER, the bathroom will be nice to have (when I’m filthy from working I won’t have to walk upstairs and through the entire house when nature calls) and the bathroom vent fan and egress window will be nice when I’ve got serious fumes going on. A second kitchen, a rugged “workshop” kitchen – a place to wash off all of my brushes that isn’t our nice kitchen sink is going to be awesome! And it is always nice to have a second stove “just in case” even the refrigerator for a “beer ‘fridge” or whatever will be nice.

Is my heart better? A little. Slowly I’ve been working up to excitement for this little plan. At least the basement won’t be a total loss. We already have out in our garage all of the kitchen cabinets and the refrigerator, my grandma’s old stove is still in our extra bedroom closet (lol yeah I know) literally the basement JUST needs to be put together, it just needs to be “finished.” It needs me 🙂

The sad, tear-filled, horror story of our basement, how we wasted so much time and money for nothing and now have a new renovation plan for a workshop.

So, I’ve already made some decisions that have made me a relieved and happy gal! First thing: I’m not touching the ceiling, we are NOT going to sheet rock it! Hallelujah I don’t have to sheet rock another ceiling!! When we ripped down the old warped particle board that was up there before we literally left behind about 8 million nails that I would have had to have pulled out one by one – not having to do that makes me very happy! I’m just going to leave it as is: rough-sawn floor joists and the 100 year old sub floor of the hardwoods upstairs. Maybe, just maybe, this will turn out good enough that my heart won’t ache so terribly every time I go down there.

Thank you guys for listening to me vent 🙂 Wish me luck I’m hoping to get started this weekend!

The sad, tear-filled, horror story of our basement, how we wasted so much time and money for nothing and now have a new renovation plan for a workshop.

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  1. June 23, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I also remodeled my house recently and threw all the debris in the basement. At first, I didn’t think the waste would build up fast. That was until i decided to check the basement one day and what I saw was staggering. To this day, I’ve never gotten around to cleaning it. But i have a plan, my brother is visiting soon and I plan to trick him into helping me clean the mess.

    • June 23, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Oh wowser! Sounds like what we did when we gutted the house we just threw it all out the north windows… It is almost impossible to believe how quick it builds up and just how MUCH it ends up being! Good luck with your basement 🙂

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