It took wwwaaayyy longer than I thought and cost wwwaaayyy more than I thought, but the basement office is almost done now! I have a few finishing touches to add - after which I'll post some better pictures and a breakdown of the cost - but it's at least up and running now. I'm not in love with the way it turned out and it looks nothing like what I pictured in my head, but it achieved my primary goals of being a (1) kid-free and (2) comfortable place for Matt to work during the weekends.
I painted one wall with a warm (read: red undertone) grey I found in the stash of paint the homeowners left and another wall white. But I ran out of paint before I finished the white wall and had to go out to buy more paint! Despite buying the paint a few days ago, I just finished up the white wall today.
School was canceled due to intense snow and I have found that putting Theodore down for his afternoon nap in his car seat is an incredibly effective way of getting him to take a serious nap, so after he went down, I set the girls up with Frozen in the finished part of the basement while I worked on the unfinished part. Cleaning the painting supplies took longer than painting did, so I had plenty of time for other things.
The first other thing was to hide the exposed insulation. The homeowners left all the curtains when they moved, which are way nicer than mine, so mine have just been sitting in my linen closet. I had one for the girls' room that was dark blue that I'd sewn white fleece on to (black out + warm in winter!). Since we have nice curtains and non-drafty windows now, I cut the curtain into squares and tucked it around the insulation.
It hides the insulation really well. I re-swept out the corner and arranged the furniture. No furniture (except the lamp) was purchased in the making of this office. Our old kitchen table, the desk chair we already had, a two-shelf bookshelf from Florida, and an old kitchen chair all found new homes in Matt's office. The old kitchen chair is functioning as a place for me to sit when I come down to visit.
Once I had everything arranged, I hung up some pictures and awards of Matt's on the walls. A few days ago, the girls and I made a finger painting picture just for the space. Lots of fun, bright colors to brighten things up.
Lastly I hung up the sheer curtains from our apartment on the rafters to create a more private feeling. I'd envisioned hanging more substantial curtains that were not sheer and touched the floor, but curtains are very expensive and I was out of money.
Originally I had hoped to throw a few carpet remnants, but (1) I'm out of money and (2) The chair rolls really well on the concrete. So I'm going to make or buy a rug to put underneath for Matt to put his feet on. We'll also get a space heater next fall, or maybe earlier. Matt gets cold very easily and cozy spaces should not be uncomfortably chilly.
A few things I learned while doing this project:
1. Paint is expensive and you always need tons of it.
2. Never spray paint walls. Or ceilings.
3. Just because I grew up watching my dad do all kinds of projects, I was not magically instilled with project-doing skills.
4. It is really, really hard to create the image I see in my head in reality. I need to spend more time planning and researching before I dive in to my next project.