Sunday, November 5, 2017

The LT12P Fan Cave!

Part of what I was doing while Less Then 12 Parsecs was on hiatus was converting part of my basement into a "fan cave".  (Thank you to Ryan Dassing for that moniker!). This is not a typical "finished basement" as you often find in suburban American homes.  No, instead, what I did was cordoned off a corner of the basement, laid down a false floor, and put up four walls.  Basically, I made a room to call my own.

A little history here...  when my wife and I purchased our home, it was plenty big enough for the two of us.  Compared to the apartments we had shared, this place was darn near palatial!  In fact, we both had extra rooms we called our own.  Not bedrooms, but dens.  Studies.  Man-caves. (call them what you will).  It was great!

Then, the kids came along...

It's amazing how much room kids, and all their stuff, takes up!

So, I gave up my room for my daughter, and told myself that "someday" I'll get that space back.

Well, I grew tired of waiting for "someday" to come, so... I went into the basement, and made a corner of it my own.  That's the stereotype anyway right?  We nerds all dwell in basements according to popular myth!  ;-)

This post is a series of photos of my build process, followed by a video tour of where things stand now.  The room is about 90% complete I'd say, but I wanted to get this out there.  (I wasn't going to bring LT12P back from hiatus until I was 100% with the room, but I'm not sure that day will ever really come!)

I should have taken more photos, but here is what I remembered to make note of...

The first task was to clear out the junk in the basement.  This was taken after 99% of the stuff we had stored down there was gone.

The wall on the left caused my first problem.  I found that it was leaking, in part because there weren't any rain gutters on that side of the house (that's another story for another day).  So, the first thing I had to do was a bit of masonry.

(I did research for each step of this building process, but I'm not a contractor.  Far from it!   I'm sure I got a lot of it wrong. If you see mistakes on my part, please don't tell me.  My ego doesn't want to hear how poorly a job I did!)

This next photo is of the corner of the basement after the wall had been repaired and painted.  Also, the ceiling has been painted at this point as well.  These first two photos were nearly a month apart.  I had to wait for the cement to cure before I could seal and paint it.  That was unexpected, and annoying, delay.

Next is the framing for the false floor I laid down.  We've had one small basement flood in the 20 years that we've lived here, and I am paranoid it is going to happen again.  I even laid down a heavy tarp on the floor as well, and a tarp along the wall (with heavy foam insulation behind it) to keep out the cold.  I wasn't able to build all the way to the far wall (the white wall in the photo) because of the water-do-hicky-thing.  I don't know what it's called, but that's were the water line comes into the house.  I could have built around it, but I thought better of it.

To keep the draft out (our basement gets quite cool in the winters), I put down a lawyer of fiberglass insulation.


And then next is the ply-wood sub flooring.  Here's a find fact I didn't figure out until I was nailing in the last piece...  One side of this type of ply-wood is smooth, and the other is rough.  Guess which side I have facing up?  Yup, the rough!  Oh well. --- Because I was trying to keep the cost down, I didn't put any additional flooring material over this.  I just painted it with a heavy duty floor paint, and then threw down a could of cheep throw rugs.

Next, I started framing the walls.  Because our house is hold (from the 1920's, and because the basement floor wasn't even close to level, this was a pain.  I swear, every one of these studs was a different length.  So there was lots of measuring, and remeasuring, and then measuring again, to make sure I got things right.  (and even then I didn't always get it right, but I got it "right enough".)

This is after the walls went up, and I put together the first of 11 bookshelves.   I just put up the cheap, 1970's fake wood paneling, and then painted them.  I ended up using 5 different color paints in total.  The ceiling is a very light grey with a satin sheen (to reflect the light, since there are no windows in this room), three of the walls are an eggshell medium grey, then the floor is a matte black.  The desk I installed was a darker, putty grey, and the wall behind that a flat white.  Because every decorator knows the power of an accent wall!  -- I tried to complete this project "on the cheap", but buying all the different paints was my one extravagance.  A treat for myself.

Here are the brackets for the kitchen countertop I purchased, to use as a desk.  I also purchased
 the same type of brackets (in a smaller size) to use for a shelf that rings the room.  ---  I screwed up two of these brackets, as they are not quite the correct height.  I think I'll be ok though.

And these here is the countertop, all installed!

And finally, here is a panorama shot of the room, before I started to move in all my books, computer, lights, and Stormtroopers.

All in all, I am quite happy with myself.  I did this project completely on my own.   I believe my wife thinks I am crazy for doing this, (and that I spent too much money), and she is probably right (on both accounts), but life is short, and you have to find ways to enjoy it while you can.  And so, that's what I'm doing!

And now, here is a video tour of the room, now that I have moved in.  Enjoy!