My House: a Visual

When my daughter and her husband decided to help me out and move in with me, none of us realized how much it would cost in more ways than one.

The idea was that they would renovate the basement in to an apartment for them. It would not include a kitchen or a bathroom. We would share those rooms on my floor. I live in a two bedroom ranch and the size of the second bedroom is the same size as some people’s closets.

The first problem was what to do with everything stored in the basement. I knew if I was with the kids when they went through everything, nothing would get thrown away. I keep everything, just in case.

The following is a Google Earth photo of my neighborhood. My sister lives one street over to the left of my street, fourth house on the right. You can see her red jeep sort of (if you have really good eyesight) in her driveway.

My house is hidden by trees.


Now when I have another police story you can picture the neighborhood–and there ARE more police stories.

This story has more to do with the renovation that took place and the cleansing my house went through while I was in the hospital for three weeks with pneumonia last February.

This is a photo of the basement before my kids had it renovated. My son was in Florida for the winter and had no idea we had torn the walls down in his room and packed up all his stuff.

damons-basement.jpgThis use to be his bedroom. The kids had already torn down his walls when this was taken. If you look carefully on the ceiling to the right there is a dark board. That’s where my husband axed out the ceiling during the fiasco when he burned the kitchen table in the fireplace.

basement.jpgThis is the rest of the basement.


The above photo is the actual dumpster that the kids filled five times with stuff from the basement, upstairs etc. So that basement was going to be where they would live. They gave up a nice cottage to live in my cellar.


The above three photos show the basement a few months ago. They’ve added and changed it a little.The top photo is their living room. the middle photo is a wide hallway with a big picture window on the left with a view of the backyard. The bottom photo is their bedroom. They also have an outside entrance too.

They have a fridge so they can keep their snacks away from me. They keep their beer in there too. I wish my daughter had done the fridge meme.  I’d love to know what’s in her fridge.  On second thought maybe it’s better that I don’t know.   There is another room off the hallway that has the furnace in it but it is big enough so that when they get the money they can build a bathroom in there. They don’t need a kitchen because I do all the cooking. I call them on the intercom phone and just say “dinner’s ready”. They come and get their plates and go right back downstairs.

Then my ex- husband moved in after being dumped by his girlfriend and we had to put walls in the little bedroom for him. My son had body slammed all the walls when he was doing heroin. We also had put everything we wanted to keep in there and now we had to find a place for all that stuff. A lot of it went in the attic and a lot went into my son’s storage facility that he rented when he went to Florida.

I had to call him and tell him that when he came back up here he wouldn’t be able to live with us. It was hard to do but it was for his own good. Someday I’ll tell the story of his drug use. Right now I am happy that he is clean. He even called me the other day and told me he got a second job. Now he has a full time job and a part time job. My son who got fired from mostly every job he had is now working two jobs. Wow!!

So basically, everything I own is in my bedroom. I don’t have any photos of my bedroom. I love my room. It is my sanctuary. Everything I love is in it except my family. I like to get away from them sometimes and I am sure they like to get away from me sometimes. I talk a lot. Even when I am home alone I talk to the cats (and they listen to me and don’t give me any backtalk).


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. neighbourhoods in Toronto
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 10:44:08

    Congratulations to you! It could be really hard to get through the renovation and during this time dealing with family affairs. Your home is lovely and never mind that is not as huge. I own one of the spectacular Toronto houses and I found it difficult to furnish it because of the size. Your home should be cozy with pleasant atmosphere, that simple it is.


  2. Little Miss
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 10:47:33

    How awesome, Joan, that your kids did all that renovating. What a great job they did. I suppose if I had a basement I’d let my daughter move down there too. I think having families help each other out is a good thing, as long as it doesn’t enable the children to remain dependent. You did the right thing with your son. I know how hard that must have been. You must feel so proud of him now. Congrats to him for staying clean. My bedroom is my sanctuary too. 🙂


  3. joanharvest
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 11:28:27

    @ neighborhoods in Toronto
    One good thing about small is it’s easier to clean. It is a cozy home. I’ve lived in it for 33 years. My daughter pays for everything because I’m disabled though I can cook and clean from my wheelchair.

    @Little Miss
    To be honest, the kids hired someone to do the work. They did the demolition because it had been made into rooms years ago by my ex-husband. So all the walls had to be torn down and the old ceiling removed and the floors which my son-in-law did. But the new stuff was done professionally. Though the kids did all the painting.

    And yes, I am proud of my son, but I still take one day at a time with him. I will write about him sometime. But the story of my son is also the story of me and our family because we went through hell with him but fortunately we all survived.


  4. Wendy
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 16:33:51

    Wow. The basement is so beautiful! I love it, I’m sure they love it, too. It looks so fresh and new, like you can breathe easy just being in those rooms. And I think it’s so important to change the “homestead” to reflect the new dynamics of a now-grown family. It’s a cleansing of not just the house, but of your thoughts, also. It’s given you all a whole new perspective for this phase of your lives and I think it’s just wonderful. I’m so happy for you guys, all of you.

    I give you so much credit for letting go of your old stuff. Throwing it out, or taking it to the Salvation Army or whatever, is very hard. I know, I had to do it. It’s very taxing mentally. And knowing that you’ll feel better afterwards doesn’t seem to make it any easier. Having done it in a major way, just as you have, has made it a little easier not to let it accumulate again. I never buy anything anymore without giving a lot of thought to how much I’ll actually use it, will it end up in a closet? Will it end up in a dumpster? etc. Because I never want to go through that kind of purging again. But I’m definitely better off for having done it, and you are too!


  5. Moonbeam McQueen
    Jan 23, 2008 @ 00:47:02

    Wow, Joan. What a story, and what a renovation! It’s really beautiful. Your home sounds so lively and fun and full of family. You’re a great person.


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  7. teeni
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 23:35:58

    Wow – the basement turned into a wonderful apartment. It’s amazing how things can be transformed! I happened to find this post when I did a search on your site to find the meme I owed you. I couldn’t resist commenting here when I saw all the work you guys did. Hubby and I are doing our kitchen over. I’ve posted about that with pictures too if you are interested in seeing what we did/are still doing, actually. LOL. Kitchens are a looooong project when you are doing the work yourselves.


  8. joanharvest
    Apr 29, 2008 @ 17:39:13

    @ Teeni
    Yes, I definitely want to see your kitchen. That’s our next project. The bathroom is half finished. It has all the new fixtures, a shower that I can sit down in, new toilet and sink and a stackable washer and dryer so I can finally do my laundry without having to go downstairs. But it has no walls yet, just insulation and a little sheetrock.

    The basement turned out wonderful. They love it down there.


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  10. javajunkee
    Nov 30, 2008 @ 00:50:23

    if they ever move out I got first dibs on that apartment! ..that is too freaking cute!


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