The Buehler Buzz

{watch dumb and dumber do up their dwelling}

Category: Basement

Oh man oh man oh man have I been on a roll lately…

…being completely awesome.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m thinking it’s a combination of the weather getting warmer (which makes me super excited), having my life partner working most nights until 9 PM (there’s only so much TV I could watch before I started feeling my brains getting pulverized by the demon monsters that live inside the plasma), and finally having my poop regulated (let’s face it – constant fecal issues will suck a gal’s will to decorate).


I’m working on the windows for the kitchen right now – I decided that I kept going back to a few pictures in my stash because I absolutely needed my windows to be black.  Don’t worry, I’m keeping the white trim.  I’m not a moron.  Wonder what it’s going to resemble?  Check out this picture from Tommy Smythe:

black window, white trim


See that awesome black and white kitchen?  With the stainless steel countertops?  Yeah, I found that just a few months, meaning WAY after I did mine a couple years ago.  You know what that makes me?  A fucking genius.  (I told you, I’m on an awesome run here, just go with it).  I’m also doing the back door to match –it’s going to be completely rad.  I’m hoping to get almost completed this weekend, as long as the weather cooperates.  But, we live in Chicago, so you know, it’s probably going to blizzard.


What else… I’m working on the built-ins in the purple room.  I decided I do need to add some color under the soffit (the white was too boring), paint out the shelves (instead of leaving them natural), and also put a color on the back of the shelves (instead of leaving them white).  I’m working with this light pink color for the mid-ceiling under the soffit and the backs of the shelves, but I’m not sure if it’s just right or if it’s too pastel… whatcha think?

Purple room, bookshelves, BM Wild Aster


Purple room, BM Wild Aster, bookshelves


I’ve been weirdly obsessed with pink lately, and had previously decided it was the right color for the basement, too.  Yeah, I hear you – don’t screw up the basement by painting it PINK!  (Or if your name is Johnnie: “Are you kidding me?!  You’re trying ANOTHER color before giving in and returning it to the pristine greatness your father and I spent A WEEK creating for you!?”  To which my reply is: “I know, Mom, seriously, it’s a disease.”)


Want to hear a funny story while you’re still freaking out about the pink that might calm you down?  Months ago, I started experimenting with the basement.  (Cover your eyes, Momma.)  The white was just feeling too stark, you know?  Too WHITE.  So I attempted the gray/taupe we used on most of our first floor, but it looks like watery sad mud in the windowless section of the basement.  (Yes, you were right about that, J Gail).  So, I turned to a piece of our art for inspiration, and my pink obsession became a viable option – the piece is loaded with beautiful pinkish tones.  What’s a gal to do but head over to her nearest paint store and grab a quart to try out?  I slapped some on the walls the other night, and I think I might be in total love.  Seriously.


So of course, Aaron comes home from work and I drag him downstairs to show off.  This is our routine, by the way – I drag him to where I’ve made updates/spray-painted/rearranged/crafted/painted and make him pick out the change and then compliment it excessively.  It’s like a fun hide and seek, except I think I just learned the other night that it may not be as fun when your partner is COLOR BLIND.  He stood in the basement turning around and around trying to find out where the change was, and I finally stood him facing the portion of the wall that was pink and said, “Look, honey, right here – it’s pink”.  And he says, “Where?” and then we repeated those two sentences about 5 times because I thought he was kidding and he thought I was kidding until he says, “That brown patch in the green?” to which I replied (probably loudly), “Oh my god, you’re not messing with me!?  You actually think I painted it green around a brown patch on the wall?!”  (In his eyes the “green” = the gray/taupe that was previously there and the “brown” = pink)


And now I know he truly means it when he says I can do whatever I want to the house and he knows he’ll love it.


It’s because he can’t see a damn thing.




What do you get when you mix…


with a crapload of this:

and let her loose on a bunch of this?

I’m desperately hoping for this:

Wish me luck!

So, this happened:

After sitting on our tucas’ for quite some time, (at least in regards to “house projects”, better known as “that huge list I once wrote down and was so horrified once I got to number 157 that I had to stop recording and haven’t been able to look at it since without a gallon of Beefeaters at my disposal”) I bounded out of bed on Saturday morning and decided this was the day to tackle the basement!

Yes, the basement. You know, that one of four rooms we’ve actually already painted? Supposedly to satisfaction? That took a week of my parents time, sweat, and possibly ruined some of their joints for life? Remember that?  It looked like this:

Well… I hate the white. I admit it. What was I thinking?! Seriously, I’m not an expert in anything house related (besides being born with awesomely fantastic taste, of course) and even I know that you don’t paint spaces all white unless they get lots of natural light. Guess how much natural light most of our basement gets? Duh, zero – it’s a basement. (Built in 1947, before walkouts were the norm.)

By the time Aaron arose, I was already deep into my striped experiment. Oh yeah, it failed horribly. See, the basement is all paneling, and I just KNEW it would be sweet boobs to paint every other panel the gray that’s on our first floor, and leave the remaining panels white. Um – I was totally wrong. My cutting-edge stripes looked like the inside of a circus tent that you’d take to a psych ward (because it still looks circusy, but it’s a bit calmer than red since you used a gray that turned khaki once you removed the natural light that usually hits it upstairs). So then I moved on to painting every panel gray, and leaving the inserts between each panel white. Still horrible, seriously. (See above picture for reminder.) Because the boards are rough, which means the edges are rough, which means it ends up looking like I painted wavy lines of white on my walls after a night of heavy drinking (which caused my hand to shake so much that I ended up with wavy lines, see how I walked you through that thought process?).

So there we have it – the first official TOTAL FAILURE of the new house. Hey, it had to happen sooner or later, right?  We’re now brainstorming ideas for getting some brighter color down there, but I really think I need to focus on the rest of the fabrics, etc first.  We still have barstools to redo, seat cusions to redo, couch pillows to add, art to hang, a bar cart to organize, etc.

In other news, we totally amped up our front hallway closet and did some serious work on the boiler room, too, so not a total waste!  Check out this quick fix in the boiler room:

From this disgusting trim and switch when you open the door to the boiler room:

(Yeah, I had already started cleaning it before I remembered to take pictures.  It was even more disgusting than this to begin with.)

To this beauty!

Not bad for two minutes and a Magic Eraser, eh?  Oh, sweet sweet chemicals, how I love when you work your magic on me.

Want to see the bad wall again? Haha – this will probably be the only time I admit to such wrong-doing and open myself up for ridicule, so please – enjoy!


A few updates…

So, the boiler. The spontaneous flaming issue has been corrected. And of course, I have a good story to go with that fix. Well, mildly entertaining at least.

As you know, we’ve been working on fixing up the basement. Because we’ve taken to moving at a glacial pace recently, it wasn’t until Thanksgiving weekend that we FINALLY got around to clearing out and painting the pool table room. (Oh yeah, get jealous. We have a sweet pool table rescued from what we think was a foreclosed mob house out here in the burbs.) Living in the Chicagoland area, it was obviously freezing and snowing that whole weekend. We obviously needed heat in the basement. And, well, there wasn’t any. And I don’t mean it was shooting out intermittently or leaking out semi-cool. I mean there was a thermostat and exactly zero heat registers anywhere in the basement that would indicate indoor heating. I can tell you that the pool table room was exactly 51 degrees that weekend we were down there painting, and shortly thereafter plummeted to 43 degrees and stayed there. It was around this time that we also noticed the aforementioned erupting flames, so we called the boiler people.

Something needed to be cleaned on the flame-thrower end of the boiler, and some turny things needed to be replaced on the valves. (See, I pay very special attention to these types of details.) Those issues were taken care of, and then Aaron was down there turning the valves and getting reacquainted with the heating monster. (I’m serious about it being a monster – our boiler is original to the house, which was built in 1947. This thing is HUGE.) We were feeling groovy, and fairly secure that the house wasn’t going to catch fire… at least not in the basement.

Fast forward a couple of days, and the ceiling in the pool table room begins to leak. After spending a few minutes in the room, something feels off. Strange. Not right. We couldn’t quite put our finger on it until we realized that we were down there wearing only tee-shirts and we weren’t freezing to death. Guess what? We have a heated CEILING in our pool table room. Apparently we’d just never turned the correct valve on the boiler to turn it on! (I have mentioned that we’re slightly mentally disabled, right?)

We had the leak fixed, and we now have a basement that’s been residing at a comfortable 67 degrees for the past month. We’ve been getting a ton of use out of the pool table, and it’s reinvigorated us to continue working on the basement… which means lots of talking about fixing it up and drinking martinis down there.

(But want to hear the best part? The week before we figured out we had heating, we had a big holiday party and forced our friends to hang out in the basement because we were so excited about the pool table. They were literally huddled around the two space heaters that we had on, and about half of our guests actually opted to leave on their winter coats while down there. We were throwing booze and food down their throats for a couple of hours before we gave in to the increasingly loud pleading and let them all come upstairs and thaw out. Yeah, we’re kind and considerate hosts, as long as you do things OUR WAY.)

I also owe you pictures of the finished living and dining rooms – coming soon. Seriously. I have the pictures taken, but then I lost the battery charger for the camera and the camera died so I couldn’t get them off the camera. I found the charger the other day, so downloading and uploading to commence shortly. The pictures are great… if you don’t mind Christmas-themes halfway through January. Which I know you won’t, Mom, my only reader!

There’s been a slew of other fun things happening around here, so get ready to be enthralled with the specifics of changing out a kitchen faucet (a 2 day gig), how to fix a wobbly toilet seat (involves liquid nails and 2×4’s), what exactly a sewer stack is and what to do when it’s creating a lake in your basement, and of course pictures of the pool table room.

Later taters,


Is it bad when your boiler is shooting out flames every few minutes?

It is?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Damn.