My friend Rhonda, who lives in another part of the country has asked to see my basement now that it’s clean. Now, let me phrase this first part of the post by saying that it was intended to be part of the last, but I got so picture happy with the lemons that I decided it merrited it’s own post. Also that my husband’s helper Brandyn spent 4 hours in the dungeon vacuming the floor and the cobwebs off the ceiling to make it look this good.
When we came looking for new houses, one of the “would like” things on my list was better basement storage for household supplies, food and oh, happy day and on my personal list a root cellar. Most of the houses we looked at had none of this. The one house we offered on in Vergennes had a beautifully large basement. But that sale we fell thru. Then we saw this house. It had an honest to god root cellar! I was sold!
In years past, there used to be two stairways to the basement in this house, but when they added on to the kitchen, they closed up the one that came down from the pantry. Sigh, says I, if only… but, still, it’s head and shoulders above the house in Bellows Falls for basement storage. (this may also have ot do with the fact that my husband’s business is not being run out of that self same basement) Anyway, the stair down is in the center of the house. A little inconvienent, but it opens onto a large central room in the basement. On both the north and south ends of the house, there are 2 smaller rooms that are walled and doored off. The room on the north end, which is in the back side of the house, is the root cellar.
The worst part of this whole basement was that it has been neglected for about 30 years. The floor (up above!) was sagging and joists had been cut, notched and sistered badly The pervious owners had plasticed up the opening to the bulkhead door and had completely ignored the water problem down there.
We’ve dealt with the water, previously posted about in the drainage disaster of doom, requiring a backyard dig, a french drain and a dry well for all the water to run into on the outside of the house. My yard is still a train wreck.
My dad come out over the summer to help with the sagging problem – his solution? Build us a support wall!
He also put in a real door (and I honestly don’t care that it’s plywood, it opens, shuts and has a lock!) to the bulk head. He then fixed the rotting sills to both of the smaller rooms and made their doors work too. My dad rocks the carpentry thing.
Oh, and did I mention the windows? We moved into this house with 2 of the 5 windows in the basement plywooded up. Dad came, did his magic with concrete and the vinyl windows, and now my basement is warm this year. You can’t actually see the outside thru the wood supposed to be blocking the window off! And the wind. OMG. It doesn’t blow in the basement!!!!! My dad rocks.
The only problem? Now that it’s warm down there, we’ve had flies. All. Winter. Long. My husband tells me I’m a cat hunting them, because I do it every day after dinner. I can get the big ones, it’s the little ones that are killing me.
Ok, I can wax a little poetic about things like, oh, windows and insulation. They float my boat. I like warm, I like screens. So, back to basement…
When we moved, I put all of our overstock of food (we moved from a BIG kitchen) down in the pantry (we moved into a SMALL kitchen) on heavy duty plastic racks we had up in the attic – ostensibly to organize the attic. But, hey, we moved. New functions!
So, I had all these racks – like 6 of them! So, being the crazy nesting pregnant lady, what did I do? I went down, swept and de-cobwebed the room we were going to use as the pantry, and with a little help, put all the shelves up. We then loaded all of the food onto those shelves, bought a couple of more to help with the overflow, and filled those up too.
Hey! We had pantry! I LOVE shopping in my basement!
Here’s what it looks like – walk down the cellar stairs
Walk down the cellar stairs and see that wall my dad built. Turn left:
In that small nook on the left are cleaning suplies, paper goods and vitamins.
pan right (I’m standing in the doorway to the pantry to take this picture.)
Turn back to the right and see the pantry/larder:
View on left as you walk in View on right – abandoned stairs.
There’s more on the flip side of the left side, but I didn’t take pictures…
So, moving out of the pantry back into the main room, to the other side of the stairs, this is what it looks like:
Walking back past the stairs, looking to the right, the old laundry area –