Stripes for the Hovel

Basements are notoriously unappealing.

The lack of height in ours isn’t helping any.

But we put in a little effort and painted out the floors in some fun stripes, and were actually surprised by what a difference they made.


I affectionately refer to the basement as my husband’s man cave. He calls it his hovel. I’ve tried to convince him that it’s subterranean, day light deficient, modest dampness just makes it a more authentic experience. He’s not buying it.

Because it’s not a very high use area in the house and almost no one else ever ventures into the basement it’s been pretty low on the priority list. It’s kind of our dirty little secret. You can get a full view of the house here and here.

One of the first things I did do when we started renovating the house was to tear up the tiles from the floor. It was winter and in a random example of providence the cold make the ancient adhesive even less effective and I was able to pry them up fairly easily with a putty knife.

We also tore out the old wood paneling and removed all the random trim peppered around the one ‘finished’ half of the basement. The random rustic woodwork and ivy wall paper use to cause me to swing between being perplexed that anyone would take the time to try and make this space look presentable and appreciation that someone at least gave it some kind of attention.

It’s been surprisingly difficult for us to find a balance between how much effort to put into the basement to make it a positive addition to the house and knowing when it would just end up being a waste of our time and money to do anything more. Because the walls are short we could never formally count the basement as additional living space. However every tenant we have had live in the house has used the basement as  more than utility or storage space. We’ve always used it as our tv room aka. the man cave/hovel.

We decided to set up a fully functional laundry room, small pantry and organized utility room on the far side. So far its resembles none of these things and is basically THAT room. You know the one where you dump everything else? It’s like the red headed step child that you neglect in favor of all of the rest of the rooms in your house.

We’ve managed to get frost walls put up all along the outside walls. Frost walls are like thermal underwear for your house. They don’t structurally support anything but they add a layer of moisture barrier and insulation on top of the cement walls.

On the other side of the basement we decided to set up a semi-finished space that can be used however the owner sees fit. We haven’t fully decided if we are going to lay down some laminate to finish off the floor. It’s the same old question of what is worth the time and money and what isn’t. This one is still up in the air.

However in the time being I saw the floor as a big blank canvas just begging for me to practice some of those fun floor painting techniques I’ve seen floating around the past few years.

When you paint a floor, especially a cement floor, you are suppose to use paint that is hardy enough to hold up to the traffic it’ll receive. Since I was preggers at the time, and I don’t fancy breathing in all those lovely fumes normally, we decided to go ahead and use the no VOC paint we already had. We put two coats on the floor with a roller attached to a long pole. It was like mopping in reverse. I mixed some of the blue with white no VOC paint and painted a coat of that on each alternating stripe.

Of course, being regular old wall paint it doesn’t look like this now. It’s nicely scuffed and scraped, but the stripes are still a fun moment that brightens the whole experience of the man cave/hovel.  Besides we’ll probably end up covering it with laminate in the near future.

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