Time for the annual re-do. As I mentioned in my blog post last January (AH, JANUARY), I’ve just reached that time of year when I develop a list of house projects I want to get done by Spring.
This year, the projects consist of painting and removing the carpeting from our finished basement. I have been on a campaign to get all wall to wall  carpeting out of the house. We’re pretty far along with completing this goal since we started to address it about 10 years ago. The only remaining carpeting is in our  basement and three of our bedrooms.

My husband and I decided to tackle the basement first. The wall-to-wall carpeting now in the basement is 14 years old. It has been professionally cleaned every year. But it is matted, there are stains that can no longer be cleaned out and I think it has served us well but it’s time to go. It is a large space, 900 square feet in all. We finished this basement with carpeting before our first grandchild was born because we knew this would be a perfect place to hang out, watch movies, play games or just to play at night or when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Over the years it has more than exceeded our epectations on all counts. My concern is that removing carpeting, although a much healthier , cleaner choice, will make the basement cold and/or noisy. I anticipate that it will also be slightly more demanding in that we will need to dust it a number of times a week – let’s face it, tweedy burber hides a lot of sins that requires vacuuming only after grandkids visits and bi-weekly otherwise.

So off we went, looking for materials that will address my concerns. Hardwoods, as we have in the upstairs rooms, is not an option for a basement for obvious reasons of potential damage from water, warping, etc. We have concentrated on wood grained vinyl. We’ve been told by more than one store that vinyl is the new way to go in basements, having surpassed laminates because of its waterproof qualities. Also high grade vinyl comes with an attached underlay of either cork or foam that addresses the vapor barrier issue. It also creates a softness that one would not expect from vinyl. We plan to put a large area rug on the main play area for the grandkids and a small area rug in front of the sofas in our TV area to help with any coldness and sound control. The remainder of the room with be left without area rugs. My husband is totally on board with this basement reno, required no convincing and in fact he lead the charge on this one.

Aside from my concerns already mentioned, I ran into another major snag: coordinating the new materials we choose with the red oak stairs that lead down into our basement. As you can see by the samples in the photos, there are two options, also the most costly, that coordinate pretty well with the stairs.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3857

One other option – which has grey/brown qualities to it – looks great with all the white we have in the room but doesn’t match the oak that is on the stairs. This is already a costly project due to the size of our basement, so redoing the stairs is not an option. On the other hand, the grey/brown flooring is definitely a more updated look as opposed to the oak.   UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3855

So our options:

*    Go with the option that matches the oak but is a more outdated look
*     Don’t allow the stairs and other oak accents in the large roon to dictate the color
*      See if there is a middle option that checks all our requirements for the basement

Ok, so that was the prologue. Now I will tell you that in the course of writing this post, we made the decision about which material to go with and the work has been done.  When we do a house project, my husband and I have been pretty successful  not beating it to death. We knew our options, we know our concerns, we discuss the pros and cons, and make a decision. Our decision was to choose the brown/grey vinyl which was installed this past week. I have to say the look is great and so far, the stair to floor difference doesn’t bother me.   I see it as I’m coming down the stairs but once I’m in the room, I don’t see it anymore.


Now will it be more work? Stay tuned…..
The next project will center around painting the rooms on our first floor. Just starting to think about that, which will require a call to our longtime painter, Jeff.    More on that at a later posting.

In the event that you haven’t heard, or don’t care, Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. I’m not a football fan. My husband is a luke-warm football fan at best but each year we get together with friends to celebrate that year’s championship team. The Super Bowl is part huge athletic event, huge musical event and huge pop culture event. It seems that everyone celebrates this day with a recognition of some sort, fan or not.    It’s a holiday!  In fact today I heard in the grocery store one of the clerks saying to another, “We’re so busy, this is just like Christmas!”    This year we’re actually celebrating the end of the football season with about 10 friends.   We do love the comeraderie, the commercials and the food!

This year, I actually have a chosen team, however.    I was born and reared just north of Philadelphia so I’m happy to root for the Eagles – a team that has never won the Super Bowl. I don’t know if they are really good or just got lucky, and I know that they are going against the Patriots, the Meryl Streep of football, apparently. So I suppose the odds are not good. Even one of my Pennsylvania friends, a die-hard, year-in and year-out Eagles fan, texted me  after the Eagles won the division championship, texted me saying, “Oh my God, THIS wasn’t supposed to happen!”   We’ll cheer them on just the same.

But I am loving planning the menu: New England Clam Chowder, Hoagies, CheeseSteaks and maybe some Philly soft pretzels.

So Fly Eagles Fly and we’ll see who wins…

With the SuperBowl comes a lot of food. Snacks, some variation on a main course, dessert. We have New England (characterized by Boston) and Philly in the Super Bowl, cities with amazing culinary scenes that I love. But let’s face it, you say Philly to anyone who knows about that city and the foods that immediately come to mind are cheese steaks and hoagies, not exactly health food. I am serving both at my party tomorrow and assume that if my guests are eating healthily the rest of the year (and I know they are) they can be given a hall pass for one day to indulge a bit. For Boston, you have Chowda, the white kind that is not my favorite by any stretch, but one that I am making for my party tomorrow. I must say that I’m not a fan of any cream soups, so far.   But I’ve been tasting it as I’ve been cooking, and it is pretty darn good, if I say so myself.   My favorite clam chowder is Manhattan – the red one – a much healthier and tastier choice, I think, but one that seems to have been overtaken by the New England variety in restaurants across the country.

Anyway, no matter how you’re marking Super Bowl Sunday, have fun.   Would love to hear what you’re doing to celebrate!

Until next time…..



  1. Good choice on the flooring! It’s fun to change things up! Can’t tell you how much we missed being at your party. It’s always fun with lots of laughs. I did try calling, but nobody answered. Sometime, we’ll all be together again for this fun event.


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