Monday, February 07, 2011

A woman with a plan

Look out. I've got a plan. And I'm going to share it with you. Although, to actually SEE my plan, you should probably click on the image below. That will blow it up bigger so you can study it.
When I tackle a project, I've got to have a plan. The bigger the project, the more specific my plan needs to be. Without a plan, I stand around staring at the ceiling, turning in circles. No kidding. I think it's a trait I inherited from my mother because I've seen her do the same thing. I stare at details. I consider alternatives. I plan in my head and then I spin around and do it some more. This tactic usually doesn't get me far. Until I've got a plan in writing, I get very little done.

So, look out. It's in writing now.

Today, our basement looks almost nothing like this plan. Besides the stairs, the furnace, the hot water heater, the windows, and the outside walls, pretty much everything else in this plan is a major change for our little basement.

Our little basement has no bathroom. There isn't even roughed-in plumbing. The door to the utility room is currently where the freezer is in the plan. Right now there is a door at the bottom of the steps, but not one into the main part of the basement.

All of that is about to change.

Er...all of that will change eventually. Just as fast as my hands can work which is, um, not all that fast.

Not only do I have the pretty plans above, I've got plans in my head. I've got plans for my plans. Plans to re-use as many elements as possible. For instance, I'd like to re-use both of the doors in the basement, hopefully by moving them from their current locations to new locations -- one to be used as the bathroom door, one as the door to the main room. I'm hoping to use the bathtub from the girls' bathroom upstairs in the new basement bathroom. There's nothing wrong with the tub and, eventually, the girls' bathroom will have just a shower (because it's a tiny bathroom). But this house needs at least one bathtub, so I'd like to move it downstairs. Reusing as much as possible is both an economic decision and a conscious choice not to discard perfectly good elements. The doors are solid wood. The bathtub is in fine shape. Why buy new ones if I can get away with the old?

I do need to bring in some new elements, like the 24" deep high cabinets in the hallway and built-ins flanking the window and a small media center opposite the bed for TV viewing comfort.

I've also got some particularly nit-picky plans. For instance, the new door to the utility room will have to be placed in the exact right spot to allow for a 24" cabinet on one side and a 30" and 15" on the other. Also, the pocket door going into the new closet will have to be in the exact right spot in order to leave wall space for a bedside table. The bathroom door needs to be exactly opposite the vanity. Because I like it that way. When the bathroom door is open, I'd much rather see a beautiful vanity than a toilet.

Most likely, there is a lot I'm leaving out. I know nothing about design. I know even less about traffic flow and codes and plumbing (although I did learn today about the challenges of putting a toilet in a basement -- it involves pumping waste uphill).

And, although it may look like I've got my mind all made up, I'm uncertain about a lot of things. Like, whether we'll even put a bed down there or if we'll opt for a VERY comfortable fold-out sofa. A sofa would make the room more multi-purpose. More media-centered. Which means we should probably put in speakers. And special lighting. Where ARE the lights going to go and how AM I going to get them there? And what will they look like? And what about the heater vents that straddle places where I need to put walls? And the vents that need to go into the utility room wall to ensure that our finicky tankless water heater has enough oxygen to burn? And what about the cat? How will I put a cat-door into the vented utility room door? We keep her litter box there and the box needs to be accessible for her.

So, yeah, I may have more questions than answers at this point.

But at least I'm making progress. Today the old wallpaper came down and the carpet staples came up. And I made a plan. That's progress.

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