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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello again DIYers - it's been a while, but the last few years have been a handful to say the least.

Ok, that's just my excuses again. I've done plenty of projects, just fell behind on showcasing them. We moved from our 100+ year old 2-flat in Chicago, to a 2000 era stick built, vinyl clad, single family, HOA suburban house on the far south side of Indianapolis. Poorly designed, poorly built, and poorly maintained. So in other words: plenty of opportunities for a DIYer! So I'll be posting some here in no particular order.

Without getting into too much detail about why, we bought a 3000 sq ft 3 bedroom with a loft and finished basement. And in this case, finished meant done, kaput, broken. The pics looked great in the realtor's website, but then they always do. One thing I've learned in our most recent house hunt is that the real estate companies are driving photoshop-type AI.

Furniture Building Table Decoration Interior design


The stairs are just to the left of this view in the basement, on the other side of the stairs is more living space plus all the utilities, storage and a full bath.

Building Fixture Floor Flooring Real estate


Again, the pictures are quite deceptive, it ended up being pretty rotten, and no I'm not only talking about all of the Cubs crap on the walls. It turns out the basement was practically a cat toilet. The smell of cat urine was everywhere, like they never used a kitty litter box. I think they had lived here for 15 years or so and apparently never trained their cats. Even the carpet guys who removed all the carpeting were surprised at the amount of staining which was visible on the back side of the carpet. Unfortunately for this showcase, there are some notable points in the conversion that I neglected to photograph. The condition of the carpets was one.

But as many of you know, that cat pee doesn't stop at the carpet. It was soaked into the baseboards, the walls, the stairs, even the concrete. The smell was overpowering when they pulled up the carpet. I had a "whole house" exhaust fan rigged up in the window well to ventilate the basement for days after pulling the carpet. Unfortunately for me, I had to trash lots more. I pulled all of the baseboards, a few doors, a few door frames, the bottom foot of drywall in many areas, and even a section of many of the studs. Yes, I actually sistered in some 2x4s in order to remove the bases of the more pungent studs. I ended up painting large sections of the floor (shown partly complete below) with Zinsser BIN to seal in whatever I couldn't clean out.

Fixture Wood Lighting Flooring Floor


That storage closet at the top of the photo was so bad, I sprayed Zinsser on the entire room - walls and ceiling included - and I still ended up partly paneling it with cedar panels!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
As I mentioned, there are some photographic gaps in this project and one of them is the partly gutted basement. That gives a better idea on what else I had to remove. It wasn't just the cat urine problem, but there was some water damage, plumbing problems, awful drywall work, and overall a design that didn't suit us. Maybe it is from living in much smaller spaces for so long, but my wife and I aren't big fans of the "open design" language. We like a bit more sectioning in our spaces. So we took the opportunity to decide where to go with the layout. In my eyes, I saw three main sections to the basement, not counting the bathroom, storage, and utilities. I vaguely envisioned a guest room, rec room, and a bar. There is only one bathroom down there and only one way to access it, so it came down to whether it should be in the bar or in the guest room. Well the guest room won out, but only because the small area adjacent to the bathroom was only about 120 sq ft, and we had big plans for the bar area, which my wife was now referring to as "the tavern." So she is serious about it too.

The kitchen rehab took place right around this time, so the basement became the staging area for all the messy woodwork, painting and epoxy finished countertops. This took a while of course, so the basement project was on hold for a while.

When it resumed, I saw a natural dividing line in the soffit/bulkhead you can see in the first picture above. On the far side of the drywall box around the I-beam and ducting was about double the space in the area near the bathroom (which would become the guest "suite") so as this bigger space would be our new bar, err, tavern, it was time to wall it off.

Property Door Wood Interior design Flooring


I had done more drywalling than I bargained for, so in most cases I left the existing questionable design in place if it wasn't too badly installed. Finishing drywall is a particularly unpleasant activity for me, so the less I have to do, the better.

Dimwit puppy for scale:

Dog Dog breed Dog supply Working animal Pet supply
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Back to the cat pee for a moment - the stairs were so bad, that even after cleaning with ammonia and having them sprayed & cleaned professionally (we hired a company that cleans up after hoarders and crime scenes!) I still ended up painting them with my favorite new paint, Zinsser BIN, THREE @#$% TIMES until the smell was gone. And keep in mind, the stairs and wall stringers were previously painted. I was not interested in rebuilding the stairs.

Stairs Fixture Wood Flooring Floor


After attending to the stairs and starting the room dividing process, I decided that a pocket door would make more sense considering the entrance layout to the soon-to-be guest bedroom. I probably should have spent a little more, since the Home Depot special wasn't exactly the highest quality, and still requires some finessing to get it to open smoothly. But it does work, and that's good enough to move along. I'll get back to that adjusting later. :rolleyes:

Door Building Wood House Floor


This room would require the least amount of work and creativity. I did end up Zinssering the entire floor, but after that, it was just hang some doors, paint the walls and tack up the trim work. I was leaving the carpet for the pros.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Now that there is a wall up, we can officially say we at least have a barroom, if not a bar tavern per se. Since the wall was still open on one side, I took a little time to think about electric. I didn't know where TVs would be hanging in the tavern or in the rec room outside, so I wired for options.

Wood Floor Electrical wiring Hardwood Gas


Either room would have wiring high and low for the strike of whatever inspiration awaited us. I would also insulate this wall for at least some sound abatement. The rec room got the equivalent treatment on this and the opposite wall since we still had to decide how it would be laid out.

Wood Building Floor Flooring Line


Unsurprisingly, we got no advice from the previous owners about the creative wiring in the house, so I found quite a few audio, cable, alarm, etc. wires here and there with no understanding of where they terminated. There was a coax and ethernet line in this particular wall which necessitated the removal of a 4 foot section since the patching was so, so bad. And that's coming from a bad drywaller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One item that I wouldn't have to worry about building is the main bar itself. The previous owners had picked the furniture up from someplace like The Great Escape, and although it wasn't exactly what I wanted, it was a pretty solid piece of furniture, and one less item that I'd have to build. And due to it's configuration, I was somewhat more limited in where I could put it in the room. There was a niche in the wall that almost fit it perfectly, but it was too close to the door for my taste, as I think the bar itself shouldn't be close to the "front door." I'd be moving it to the opposite end of the room.

Wood Interior design Building Floor Flooring
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Inspiration comes unpredictably for some of us, and mine comes in fits and starts. I can't say how much time I've spent in this room looking around wondering what to do next, much less how to do it. I did have an idea though that this wall would have two wooden "beams" with a hightop table between them, like something I'd see in one of our neighborhood haunts. So that's definitely what will happen here:
Door Wood Building Flooring Floor


The door is solid core, to help with the sound and I'm getting a mechanical door closer up top to help maintain the idea that this will be "someplace else" but to add to the ambiance/realism of getting away. One thing that we really miss about our old Chicago neighborhood was the short walk to one of many locals, some which were even kid friendly. We can't walk anywhere down here; it's like 4 miles to the &%# Kroger for Pete's sake. So we figured we'd have our home away from home... umm... here in our home. Plus it could be a place for our neighbors to hang out too. I realize that people have been doing this forever, but just not us. I timed myself once, in our old neighborhood, sprinting to our closest local one day in the rain.

35 seconds. I barely got wet.

Anyway, back to the project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Here's another niche, where its looking like the bar itself will end up. The boxes and rectangles are mostly nonsensical and apparently just there for "character." As I mentioned, I'm not interested in doing any more drywall than I need to, so I will leave it mostly alone, even though I know it is sacrificing floor space. I've got to make this work as a divey, pseudo-industrial looking space.
Flooring Automotive design Building Living room House


Note the tiles under the bar area on the left. I was afraid they were legit ceramic; fortunately they were textured vinyl and came up relatively easily with a scraper tool on the sawz-all.

Road surface Rectangle Flooring Floor Composite material


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Pneumatic tool Automotive tire Handheld power drill Motor vehicle Bumper


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Brown Rectangle Beige Floor Wood


You may have noticed the black paint. I hemmed and hawed about colors, but then figured the walls would be covered with all variety of doo-dads, and I prefer the shady, dodgy look of a dark hole-in-the-wall anyway. You also may have noticed the apparent "water service" up there at the back of the tiled area. Well, it wasn't. It was just a short piece of PVC and a couple short lengths of copper just sticking out of the wall, not attached to - or even near - anything useful. I pulled them out and covered the holes. I'll figure out water later.
 

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We bought our forever home. Prior owners let the 13 dachshunds use the basement for a toilet. My wife has a very sensitive nose. It took a few years of work before the smells in the concrete went away. Only after her official sniff test did we cover the floor.

FWIW...Don.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Continuing in chronological order, I took a break from the tavern construction for a while to get after the rest of the basement. I had to work around the carpet layer's schedule and it turns out there was an opening especially for an easy of a job as ours. We got bumped up to the front of the line so to speak, so I needed to get the walls done. Painting is of course so much easier with no carpet!

I'm almost completely useless when it comes to colors, and with no time to consult interior designers, I just grabbed some color swatches from the paint department at our local Depot, and randomly picked some to match the carpet sample I think we also randomly picked.

This was some kind of gray / earth tone type color, I don't know, but it looked decent with the carpet sample and I've got limited time to get this up before the carpet gets here so that's what we get. Do a quick recoat of the ceiling, knock out the walls, finish the floors with Zinsser BIN, and tack up the baseboards. The louvered door in the utility room was later replaced with a standard 6 panel hinged door to match.
Property Door Fixture Wood Flooring


The rec room area got the same treatment. Here's a shot with the carpet installed.

Property Window Building Wood Interior design



I'm not sure why I wasn't using my window well top setup with the whole-house fan. Maybe it was snowing? I don't remember. The poor man's version got the job done. This was enough accomplished in these two rooms to move back to the tavern though. Furniture would have to wait a while -- mainly because the obscene lead times on everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My idea for the many bulkheads and whatever you call the vertical version of a bulkhead was to keep them but make them look like something else. In keeping with an industrial/dive theme I would "convert" them to wooden beams, posts, and "galvanized steel" HVAC. Here's a before shot of some boxes that would become faux wood structural members.
Wood Rectangle Shade Cloud Tints and shades


The vertical "posts" would be easy enough - this is a technique I used before at our Chicago house. I bought a few sheets of the ugliest, rattiest plywood that I could find at the store, then cut it to skin the drywall. The "trick" I used was to rip the wood with the blade at a 50 degree angle. That way, there would be no plywood edge revealing the layers, which would help with the illusion of this being a heavy, rough hewn structural beam rather than just some pieces of wood tacked onto drywall. The 50 degree angle compensates for the inevitable variation in the corner and makes sure that the very edges of the angle cut will meet, with no visible seam. After nailing the wood up, I "rolled" the wood edges to round them a bit, further enhancing the illusion. Even though the wood was already nicely ugly and unfinished, I beat it up a bit more with a variety of tools to gouge and scratch it, and splashed some black stain here and there before the final brown color stain.

Wood Floor Gas Flooring Hardwood


I used this technique on two "posts" but I changed up a bit for the horizontal "beam." I was not entirely confident in the structure of the bulkhead construction, so I didn't want too much weight on there and decided to skin it with luan instead. Much lighter, but also very smooth finish. I roughed it up as best I could but it definitely did not match the rough surface of the posts' plywood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Of course a key part of any rustic look is the exposed brick wall. Being short on time and notoriously cheap, I decided not to use actual bricks, but to figure a way to "weather" the brick paneling available at most big box hardware stores. I painstakingly notched the panels to match up and lose the straight vertical seam. Of course the basement was mostly carpeted now so I'd have to take the cutting work outside.
Table Street furniture Outdoor furniture Wood Rectangle


I think this picture was just test-fitting the panels. When I installed, I used lots of liquid nails and some light gauge trim brads to make sure the seams mated up well. We also moved the bar to approximately where it would permanently reside. Note that there is a good-sized niche here too for shelves, eventually.

Table Interior design Building Wood Flooring
 

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WOW....Ya been busy and accomplished alot !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love some of your creative and economical design techniques.

Sure wish you had posted before attacking the cat pee....I would have bought up some RPM stock (parent of Rustoleum and Zinsszer)... did ya buy that in 55gal drums.... :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Going back to another technique I used previously, I did a really messy, rough skin of the brick wall, for the illusion of a plaster-coated brick wall that had deteriorated over time. I mixed some black paint into a bucket of drywall compound and started haphazardly spreading it over the bricks. I'm pretty good at this haphazard stuff. It really disguises the fact that these are just faux brick panels. I sanded it off in spots after it dried, and even ran some water down a couple areas to simulate a weathered, water damaged skim-coated brick wall. I also used some uncolored drywall compound to apply here and there to look like recent, bad repairs to a cracked or damaged brick wall. It turned out pretty well, if I say so myself. You can also see the fake wooden "beam" which is just skinned with luan and stained a dark brown. Unfortunately there would be a seam in the middle since it was 12 ft long or so, but I already have an idea for hiding that.
Brown Wood Road surface Grey Asphalt


For another little touch, adding to the wooden structure illusion as well as the weathered industrial look, I got some stock steel and angle iron to build fake brackets here and there. Weathering is easy with untreated metal: just leave it outside for a few days. Soaking in saltwater helps too.
Wood Natural material Fence Grass Wood stain


I did some similar treatments to some short but heavy lag bolts too to complete the look. The angled band above would hide the seam in the "beam" and the angle iron would connect the beam and the posts.

Brown Door Wood Rectangle Wood stain


You may have noticed that the corner of this beam is not angle cut like the posts. I already had a plan of attaching a shelf to span the beam, which would cover this seam anyway, so I didn't take the extra time. Besides, the drywall corner was so wavy that I doubt I could've made it work anyway. Time saved is money earned.
Brown Wood Floor Flooring Composite material



Brown Wood Hardwood Composite material Ceiling
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
WOW....Ya been busy and accomplished alot !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love some of your creative and economical design techniques.

Sure wish you had posted before attacking the cat pee....I would have bought up some RPM stock (parent of Rustoleum and Zinsszer)... did ya buy that in 55gal drums.... :D
Thanks. Necessity may be the mother of invention, but an empty bank account must be the father. And yes, I was busy for sure but I can't tell you exactly how many hours I just sat in this room, staring at the walls (or ceiling or floor) waiting for some idea to pop into my head. But it was a lot for sure. I envy the people who can sort out a plan in their head first, then go attack the project. My creative "engine" runs like a model T -- clattering and sputtering the whole time it seems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
There are more bulkheads in the room, and my idea for them was to make them look like galvanized steel ducting. Actually not too difficult to do. I picked up some metallic silver paint (oooh -- them fumes!) and painted the remaining 3 bulkheads. That doesn't look like ducting yet though -- still needs some more work. I can't say I was very consistent on this part of the project, and a close-up inspection reveals that BUT... keep in mind most of these effects are supposed to blend into the background and not really be inspected. Most of them are just there for ambiance. The "ducting" for example is really ignored, I mean who is looking at bare ducting? The idea is that these items are so common and recognizable that they just add to the vibe. The next step in the fake ducting project is to use a sponge and lightly dab bits of light gray paint randomly and slightly darker gray in the next step. That fakes the mottled gray colors in typical ducting. I also watered down some gray paint and did a wash over the whole thing(s) to mute the colors even more. Unfortunately I didn't photo-document the steps too well. Here is one before I made the horizontal beam effect.

Building Wood Shade Fixture Wood stain


I guess I'm documenting this out of order.

Property Wood Building Floor Flooring


To further the deception, I got a few small vent covers and tacked them up here and there. I should have a few of those pictures coming up later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry for the delay on the updates, life got in the way. Anyhoo, back to the project. I guess I'll move on to the ceiling work. As most of us know, classic old bars have the stamped tin tile ceilings, and that's exactly the look I wanted. But I was not about to pay that kind of money, as that stuff now is expensive. Well your search engine is your friend. It didn't take too long to discover a very budget-friendly option that is basically indistinguishable from the the real thing, and it's available (by special order) from HD. The brand is A La Maison, and they make a whole bunch of different designs, new and old styles... out of styrofoam! Very cheap and easy to work with, and (at least once it's painted) looks like the real thing. Of course I need to continue the distressed look, i.e., years of corrosion and smoke stains, etc. So took a few and experimented with metallic gold paint and brown latex to concoct an old, distressed look.

Brown Door Wood Rectangle Home door


I decided that the formula on the lower left looked the best, so I began the long process of uniquely painting 260ish sq ft of them by hand to achieve that look. I was not going to get too creative with the existing can lights, as they were going to be dim most of the time anyway, so I left them as is.

Brown Building Wood Lighting Wall
 
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