better homes than yours

Day 64: And here is the basement…

(Please tell me you thought of this Simpsons episode…)

Mr Burns Basement



This next part of the tour is the reason why I prefer to go downstairs before I go up. I know I said the Makery would be next, but someone dumped a whole bunch of stuff in there and now you can’t see anything; I’ll work on it and get the Makery tour up as soon as I can. In the meantime, we’re just going to walk straight through the Makery (no looking!)…


… and towards the purple bookcase and doors.


The door on the left leads to the mechanical room which doubles as our storage area. This is where the glamour is, folks! This is where we keep bins full of ice skates, helmets, party decorations, camping equipment, winter outerwear, luggage, furniture parts, and our emergency food supplies. Our old (pre-renovation) fridge lives here too.

I think you’ve seen enough. Let’s just have a peek across the hall at the purple bathroom.

Many people have asked my why we have a bathtub down here. It was our architect’s idea. “Sara,” she said, “I know you’re into crafty stuff. One day you’re going to want to dye some fabric or wash something really big. Just get a bathtub.” We’ve yet to use it, but whatever.

For the shower walls I wanted something really simple with no grout lines. I got it into my head that back-painted plexiglass would be economical, colourful, and seamless. Nobody sells them, though, so I decided to fabricate them myself.

Let me say first and foremost that I shed a lot of tears making these shower walls. I did a few spectacularly stupid things, like buying all the plexiglass before trying a single shower enclosure, and using spray paint instead of just rolling an oil-based paint onto the panels. And let’s not forget the fact that I only realized when I went to pick up the plexiglass from the factory that the panels wouldn’t fit into my van. Oops.

So, a few lessons learned:

  1. Always do one shower enclosure first, before you commit to the other two as well.
  2. You can get spray paint off your skin and hair by scrubbing with a mix of coconut oil and baking soda.
  3. Use transparent adhesive.
  4. Don’t do this again. Seriously, just no.

The grey vanity cabinet, the sink, and the faucet are all from IKEA (it’s the same model of cabinet that I hacked to make the vanity in our powder room.) I swapped out the drawer pulls but otherwise left it unmolested. The mirror was a clearance find at HomeSense. I’m really fond of the light over the vanity, which is a cheap outdoor fixture from Lowe’s that I spray-painted to match the shower walls.

Okay, that’s the bathroom. Nothing much to see here, folks. Back out to the hallway, please.


Isn’t that a nice looking bookshelf? I haven’t yet decided what to put on it. Maybe craft books, since it’s right next to the Makery. Or maybe Mr. December’s collection of books on Financial Independence, Early Retirement, and Nonprofit management. That would be pretty handy, since the bookcase is actually a door to Mr. December’s home office. Ta-dah!


A hidden door was on Mr. December’s wish list from the start, but it looked like it might have to remain only a wish; then I discovered the company that sells these bookcase doors, shipped fully assembled and pre-hung. It was almost as easy to install as all the other interior doors in the house.

The purple of the doors and the ceiling in this office is part of a larger story about colour in our house. It was important to us that our children be able to choose their own colours for their rooms without censorship. I chose the colour for the master bedroom, and Mr. December chose the colour for his office. When I looked at all the colour chips at once, I realized they actually looked really good together; thus I decided that the colour palette of the public rooms in our home would be some combination of our individual colour choices. It seems fitting each person’s favourite colours show up all over this house that was built with all of us in mind.


One thought on “Day 64: And here is the basement…

  1. LOVE the door shelf. AND all the wonderful purple. You are so impressive with figuring out the shower/bath panels … the result is fabulous.

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