My Favorite Hardware Store is…My Basement.

On Saturday, this blog turned 7 years old. SEVEN! That’s so old! I celebrated by thrifting most of the day and buying a few things that I did not need but wanted and didn’t have the self-restraint to leave behind. Some things never change!

But other things do change. A lot has changed, actually. In particular, everything?

When I started this blog, I was a freshman in college who tried—mostly in vain—to make my dorm room cute and nice until I could get the hell out and move to an apartment. In service of this goal, one of the most important things I brought with me to college was a clear plastic “men’s shoebox” from the Container Store, onto which I had adhered a label reading, simply, “tools.” In my possession, I think I had a hammer, a selection of nails and picture hooks, a small spackle knife, a pair of vice-grips, a tape measure, and a manual screwdriver with a bunch of interchangeable bits.

I was the only person on the floor to bring anything like this to college (this was New York City, after all), so my little teeny tool kit ended up being a valuable piece of social currency. I wasn’t just that guy in room 218, I was that guy with a hammer. Try not to be too jealous. It was a long time ago and I’m not nearly that cool anymore.

When I did rent that first apartment, my supplies got upgraded to an entire drawer, which I remember thinking was SO legit. I mean, I didn’t have any friends with a set of clamps and multiple sheets of sandpaper. I could pretty much do anything!

As time passed and the projects got more numerous and more involved, I started to accumulate more. More and more and more. I started having to buy actual power tools on an as-needed basis, fill out the selection of manual tools, and figure out when keeping the last dregs of a can of wood stain just wasn’t worth the storage space. After a year I moved to Brooklyn to an apartment that needed more work than I’d done on the first one, and I was also designing and building stuff for clients, and so the collection continued to grow.

And then I bought the house. And it’s been almost four years since then, so maybe you can imagine. If you’ve ever renovated, you know how many tools and supplies are involved, and how many trips to the hardware store you end up making over the course of a single project. You acquire a TON of stuff, especially if you’re anything like me and end up keeping and storing anything that might still be remotely useful to some future task. You stop returning small extra purchases to the hardware store because you’ll use them at some point anyway, and start to think you could practically build an additional house with all the supplies you have to renovate the first one. It seems crazy, but also not crazy?

Of course, just HAVING all that stuff doesn’t necessarily equate to using all that stuff, because you have to be able to find it all! This is harder than it sounds, because when you’re mid-project and you need to something, you want to be able to grab it quickly. If you can’t, you might think you actually don’t have the thing you thought you had, so you end up buying it again. So you gotta keep it organized. Organized-ish. Organized enough. Because THEN, this magical thing happens. You’re doing a project and you actually have everything you need and it feels so badass you can’t even stand yourself. And since you’re not buying much stuff anymore because you’ve already effectively transported a small hardware store into your own home, you can delude yourself into thinking that renovating is cheap! It’s all very satisfying. Hoarding, but with purpose.

This is why I’m SO GLAD that I put some real effort into my basement a while ago, even though I haven’t really discussed it here! The basement was TERRIFYING when I bought the house, primarily because it was so dark. I think there were three lights in the entire space, all activated either by pull-chains or tightening the lightbulb until it turned on. Picture lots of groping in the dark for lights and running into cobwebs and tripping on the uneven floor and just being generally spooked.

Now, this basement is what it is. It’s never going to be a finished living space or anything like that, but I’ve tried to make it nicer and, someday, might make a few more improvements just to polish it up a little. By the way, the beams and steel supports were here before I was, which I always think is kind of remarkable. Somebody did some major work on this house back in the day! There was a family who owned the house between 1962-1973, and I think they’re responsible for this among other improvements. I’d love to find them and thank them for taking care of her! Unfortunately google hasn’t turned up anything helpful for me regarding their whereabouts. I’d guess at least the kids are still out there but I don’t know where.

ANYWAY. The first and most important thing I did? LIGHTING. IT CHANGED EVERYTHING. Now there are 16(!) lights, all on a single switch at the top of the basement stairs. Wiring a simple circuit like this is somewhat time-consuming (what isn’t, really?) but not technically difficult. I think it took me a couple of days. It’s the kind of project that’s good practice if you want to get comfortable with simple home wiring tasks. A lot of electrical work is very straightforward and approachable for homeowners, even though it seems kind of scary. If you’re thinking about it, read up! There are a lot of good books out there like this one, and big box home improvement stores always have similar books for purchase. Also check to make sure it’s legal for you to undertake your own wiring work—it is for homeowners here as long as it meets code and passes inspection.

With the basement all lit up and gorgeous, I turned my attention to storage! The house came with these old and VERY cobbled-together shelves, which I sort of loved in a way because they were just so scrappy. But they were not functional so rather than try to modify them, I just ripped them out.

Look how crazy! These must have been here for a long time because the concrete floor was poured around them.

Bam! Shelves! Fancy! I bought these simple utility shelves (similar to these), which are cheap and very sturdy. The shelves themselves are a fairly thin particleboard that does bend and bow over time (particularly on the shelves with heavier items), so maybe someday I’ll swap them for some thicker plywood or something. For now they’re fine. It’s hard to care about stuff like that when you don’t have a kitchen.

When it comes to how things are organized, I’m not convinced there’s anything that makes this easy. I’m certainly not dutifully putting each thing away right after I use it, but I try to spend a little time every couple of weeks (more or less, depending on how much I’m working on) resetting and putting everything back where it belongs. Otherwise I end up with 7 packed IKEA bags full of tools and supplies on the floor.

I won’t claim it’s a flawless system, but it works for me! I don’t have a pegboard or a nice big rolling tool chest with a bunch of shallow drawers (have you ever looked at the prices on those bad boys??). Instead, it’s basically just a huge version of what I’ve been doing since I brought that little plastic container with me to college! I like keeping things in clear plastic bins, I guess.

Here’s what we have going on with these shelves, from left to right:

  1. Wood stains and poly. A Dremel. A jigsaw. Antique plumbing escutcheons. A crock pot for stripping hardware. All the screws, washers, nails, that kind of stuff. Manual sanding tools, the finish nailer and nails, clamps, rags, the staple gun and staples, velcro, weatherstripping, leftover subway tile, tiling supplies, and window repair supplies.
  2. Safety equipment like respirators and gloves, batteries, soldering supplies, anchors, door and cabinet hardware, assorted old house bits and bobs, wrenches and pliers, sandpaper, the mouse sander, the oscillating saw and blades, manual screwdrivers, rubber mallets, hammers, pry bars, sawzall blades, levels, manual saws, tin snips, pain scrapers, framing squares, pens and pencils, plug-in drills, drill bits, empty plastic containers, chisels, box cutters, pens, pencils, and the requisite container of random IKEA hardware.
  3. Paint sprayer, router, pneumatic siding nailer, hand planer, various cleaners and sealants, orbital sander, aluminum flashing, construction adhesive, wood glues, various solvents and chemicals, spray paint, leftover VCT flooring and mastic, wallpaper removal supplies, shelving brackets, L-brackets and mending strips, concrete binding adhesive, and what I think might be an original plaster ceiling medallion which was down here when I bought the house.

And on the other side, more shelves! These nicer metro-style shelves were secondhand and are great. From left to right we’ve got…

  1. Assorted crap that I’m saving for an upcoming project!
  2. All paints, spackle compounds (I have a few varieties, but always go back to Ready Patch), my Kreg Jig and Kreg Crown Pro, siding nails, and framing nails for the pneumatic guns. All that paint is leftovers from past projects (I KNOW) but will get used up shortly and save a lot of money in the process. Full gallons can be re-tinted, too, as long as the formulas are compatible!
  3. More paint! Cans of spray foam, different types of primer, Bondo (my one true love!), caulks, paint brushes, adhesives, hole saws, supplies for drywall and plaster repair, painting supplies, and Shop Vac accessories.

Then over here, there’s…

  1. Grout, leftover tile from Anna’s bathroom floor, a pneumatic flooring nailer, a garden sprayer.
  2. 6 mil plastic, lightbulbs, an old pot also for stripping hardware, cork contact paper.
  3. Assortment of NM electrical cable, power strips, light switches, outlets, switch plate covers.
  4. Electrical boxes, utility light fixtures, supplies for small re-wiring and lamp-making projects, drop cloths, and other electrical supplies like clamp connectors, electrical tape, breakers, wire nuts, staples, and conduit straps.
  5. Pex fittings, other assorted plumbing supplies, and a belt sander.

Here’s my nice stockpile of light fixtures. There are more but they didn’t fit on the shelves.

I feel shame.

The furniture/old sink hoard has been worse in the past but this is just the basement. There’s more. There’s lots more. It’s just elsewhere.

We also have in attendance a pile of old framing lumber and a pile of moldings that have been removed during demo in various parts of the house. And some old wide-plank pine tongue-and-groove subfloor. And a bigger pile of narrower old pine tongue-and-groove subfloor which you can’t really see. I got 99 problems but having enough old lumber ain’t one.

Oh yeah and then there’s this area, which is where I keep…this stuff? Old doors, old window sashes, a tabletop, a billion chair bases, and some other random things.

My favorite part of the basement, though, is the room right under the kitchen. I actually think this room could be fixed up a little and turn into more of a workshop space one day. Until then, it’s where the lumber goes.*

*BECAUSE THE GARAGE IS ALREADY COMPLETELY FULL OF LUMBER. I don’t know if you’re ready for the garage. Let’s see how this goes first.

We’ve got some leftover Pex pipes, various trim pieces, beadboard from the solarium, beadboard from the mudroom, beadboard from the downstairs bathroom…I love beadboard and am so excited to repurpose this material for some upcoming stuff! There’s also more framing lumber, yellow pine flooring, fir flooring, and a totally absurd amount of lath.

I struggle with the lath. I recognize this is ridiculous. I feel like I have to do something cool with it, but I haven’t figured out what! I think it comes down to the fact that I’m not sure I actually like stuff that’s made out of lath (unless Ariele Alasko makes it, but I think she’s mostly moved on from that). I mean, now that I can buy a big fake lath piece of “wall art” at Target, it just seems sort of played out. And I don’t want to toss it because it’s part of my house, but maybe I just have to accept that it really isn’t anymore? And be OK with that? And use it for something practical, like firewood? Or give it to someone who is more inclined to do something crafty with it than I am?

LOL. That all makes way too much sense. It can’t be right. I’ll just store it indefinitely. Forget I said anything.

OH, and by the way, isn’t it fun how you can see the outline of where the stairs used to come down from the kitchen? Those stairs were removed nearly 100 years ago, but I love that there’s no mystery about where they were.

SO ANYWAY. There it is. My basement.

And since I started this post with blog-i-versary talk, I’ll end it by just saying a big, sincere thank you. This blog has been such a strange and fun and unexpected experience, and has fundamentally affected my life in so many ways. It’s a big part of who I am that I owe to you—the people who read, comment, share, and make this still fun after 7 years. I’ll try to make year 8 the best one yet!


125 Comments

  1. Daniel….happy blogversary…..I think I started reading just before you bought the house but then I course read backwards……gotta say the first picture is horrifying…..but LOVELOVE all the storage in your basement….it’s amazing……tell us though…are there critters down there?….

    well done…..you inspire me everytime.

    • Thank you Debbie! Luckily no critters, unless you count some spiders! Now the attic, that’s a different story. :)

  2. I am out-of-my-mind-IMPRESSED! And also very envious. Now I really do have to finish the taxes so I can go to the basement and organize!

    Happy Anniversary, and THANK YOU for letting us come along!

    • High five from someone else who is also avoiding working on taxes by reading this blog! ;)

      • ME TOOOOO! Just clicked to read Daniel before inserting the turbo tax CD. GO Daniel….I’ll organize my garage after taxes….(Basement is hopeless and way too creepy – 112 year old house)

    • Thank you! UGH TAXES. Samesies.

  3. Happy Blogversary! I’ve been reading since you lived in the Brooklyn apt and it is so hard for me to believe that was over 4 yrs ago. Congrats on this amazing adventure you’ve created! I always look forward to your posts – it’s never a dull day in your neck of the woods.

  4. OMG Slobber, Slobber, so jealous that you have a place to keep a wood pile and extra doors, etc. I have a place for all my tools, and paint and light fixtures, etc. But wood just takes so much room.

    Congrats on the organizing. Nothing worse than knowing you have something but not being able to find it and having to buy it again.

    Congrats on the 7 years!

  5. The basement door is what nightmares are made of!!! Congrats on the blog birthday! I vote for a summer fire pit party to burn all the lath you don’t need.

    • I know, that basement door was a mess!! BUT, you’ll notice in the second to last photo that I stole the front door off of Olivebridge (normal modern fiberglass exterior door, whatevs), hacked off the bottom, and stuck it here. The glass on the original one getting accidentally shattered was the impetus (sniffle…it was pretty under that peeling paint mess!), but now it’s much more insulated and secure. I still kept the old door. ;)

      Hey, that lath could probably heat my house for a winter! Wood stove, remember?!

  6. When I moved to my first apartment, my dad went through his tools and put together a toolkit for me. Since he didn’t live far, they didn’t get used much. I moved, gave them back, and later, going through a divorce, went to a hardware store on 7th Ave in Brooklyn to buy some new tools. A female salesperson (co-owner?) was nearly giddy in helping to equip me for a new life of invincibility. Tools are great.
    Your basement is interesting. First, those metal shelves are awesome. Second, you have sorted odd-sized items as well as could be. Third, you are Recycling Superhero for reclaiming so much. The Earth thanks you.
    The stone walls of the basement are very cool. My (2nd) husband turned a windowless corner of ours, one with cool stones, into a wine cellar. He made some cubbies on an uninteresting wall; each holds two cases of wine. And there’s a little marble bistro table and chairs. Sometimes we do tastings with friends. It’s wonderfully cool in summer! An idea for you….

    • I think about stuff like that sometimes! You can tell that the basement likely had rooms built into it at some point from where walls are painted and then abruptly unpainted. I sort of can’t IMAGINE the day when the basement will feel like a space I need to renovate, but hey! Maybe in 20 years. :)

  7. Original plaster medallion?! Hope you’re planning to get that back on a ceiling at some point. Finding original house parts squirreled away in an old house’s basement and reinstalling them is a long held dream of mine. Unfortunately, when I cleaned out my building’s basement all I found were bags of construction debris and a century-old, half-ton pile of heating coal.

    • Yes, I do want to put the medallion back! It’s such an odd style and one that I’m not sure really goes in this house (I guess it’s conceivable it came from somewhere else, right?), but its too cool not to. I think maybe the upstairs hallway!

  8. I have often wondered about the basement so thank you for quenching that curiosity. I am jealous. However, I am also concerned about your security – I hope you have bars on your windows because that is a ton of equipment! OK fretting over – congrats on the blog! We love it!

    • There are these kinda chickenwire grills over the windows on the outside? I think more to prevent pests but I dunno, it’s really not any different than first floor windows and doors. That’s what alarm systems are for!

      (and thank you!)

  9. Happy blogversary, Daniel! You always make my day when you post. Man, I can’t believe how long I’ve been following your reno adventures. A lot has happened in 7 years!

    Randomly, I wish I lived closer so I could buy some of your lath! I’ve been dying to do a bit of an Aleksandra Zee-style statement piece for my living room wall (http://www.aleksandrazee.com/portfolio), but nobody seems to save the lath when they demo out old buildings around here, and you can’t just walk into Lowe’s and buy new. It is annoying me that knockoffs are becoming a thing before I could even get around to making something cool. I blame Fixer Upper for all the lath knockoffs, it’s totally a Joanna Gaines-style thing.

    I am also super jealous of your sheer amount of storage space between the basement and garage (and bonus living room with the dead guy tub, lulz!). I’d indulge the worst of my hoarding tendencies. As it is, my garage is now full of antique doors (waiting to be painted to swap out with my shitty hollow core doors) and steel panels and frames (waiting for a good deal on a 180 mig welder to pop up so I can finish a few welding projects), furniture I’m in the middle of refinishing, and sooooo many cans of paint & stain & caulk. And it’s not a big garage– even my truck is 2 feet too long to squeeze in there! No wonder I can never find anything!

    So anyway….I am dying to see your garage hoard, especially the sinks!

    • Eek! OK, nobody seems too appalled by the basement…we’ll do the garage soon! I just assume my car fits in it, but I’ve never actually tried. Oh man.

      • Don’t try it Daniel! If your car doesn’t fit, it’ll just add to your list. Much better to not know! Ha!

        Our car is too long to make the tight turn in our historic alley, so until a new car moves up the priority list, our garage sits mostly lonely. But our friends love that we have a guaranteed guest spot.

        PS. Love how many readers are procrastinating taxes today. I just finished today (goal was 3 days ago, ugh) so now I am enjoying wine to help my nerves recover.

  10. Hmmm, well you’re not totally a DIY hoarder but it’s a close call. You will eventually start tossing or free item-ing, or selling. I did. And now I have a similar type basement but outfitted correctly for a general purpose area–home gym, laundry room, craft room, workshop, dog grooming area and generally messing around without tripping on DIY stuff. More open space than corridors through “stuff”. It was hard but I do love the space now….open and able to handle a mess if needed.

    And thanks for doing this blog. It is very much appreciated.

  11. Happy Anniversary! I have been reading since the beginning and always look forward to a new post. Here’s to a whole bunch more anniversaries! What’s next? A book? A show? Pls?
    Now about that basement. … I’m jealous. You have EVERYTHING!

    • Hey, if any tool sponsors are listening, she’s lying! I don’t have everything! I need morrreeeeee! ;)

      I don’t know what’s next! We’ll all find out together!

  12. Wow, did you have to do much to keep the basement dry? And what about those Eames and bertoia chairs? Can’t wait to see them all Daniel-ed up!

    • Nope, fortunately it’s been a very dry basement! I definitely have some repointing work on the foundation in my future, but luckily there’s no real water infiltration. It’s one of those things I just don’t question!

      (I DON’T KNOW! Too many chairs. But I can’t get rid of them. I’ll figure it out when the house is more done!)

  13. May I say what a delight it has been to find new posts popping up so much more often lately? I know you had an insane year and little time to devote to the blog (for excellent reasons), but it’s such a pleasure to see the little ‘1 new post’ notification on my Feedly! I make an audible gasp of happiness. Every time.

    • Thank you Meredith! I’ve been trying! I’m not sure how after 7 years my posts still end up being twice as long and four times more time to put together than I thought they’d be, BUT I’LL JUST KEEP AT IT. :)

    • Echoing Meredith’s comment 100%. Your global audience clearly appreciates the very human guts, glory, and goofs you share here so appealingly, the Daniel-ness as much as the DIY. Thanks for taking the time, and for putting bits of yourself out there with a bunch of strangers you’ve turned into fans who cheer for you through the ups and downs.

  14. Wow, amaaaazing space! I would totally do the same! Organisation is the key :)

    Am I the only one find it concerning over that wonky supporting column in 3rd photo with wood beam slightly twisted??? I would prop up another post under end of steel beam to support it.

  15. “I think there were three lights in the entire space, all activated either by pull-chains or tightening the lightbulb until it turned on.” Solidarity, as I am living with this in my basement. Great work in cleaning it all up!
    Thanks for this amazing blog, Daniel, and Happy Blog-iversary!

  16. Whoa. You wouldn’t even believe how inspiring this post is. We have a tool “corner” in our basement that I have been neglecting for, well, years, and this post might be the kick in the ass I need to get going. I can see that light is going to be my first issue, as well. There are three bulbs on pull chains, plus one flourescent over the laundry, but the tool corner is dark and cramped. Ugh. But looking at your organized shelving is so thrilling! Imagine not having to rummage through a pile to find something that I may or may not have! Heaven!

    And congrats on your Blogiversary! I have been here since your post on marble thresholds over on Design Sponge, however long ago that was. Pre house buying, for sure! You are still my favorite blogger in any genre, and I am always thrilled to see a new post. Here’s to another 7 years, I hope!

    • Haha, I’m glad this post was inspiring! Everyone’s got their something, haha! I secretly love organizing (this is very hard to communicate to people who see my renovation-zone house because it would not *exactly* appear that way), and it’s actually nice to put things away once things have places! It’s, like, basking in your riches of wood glue and sheathing nails. ;)

      That was…a long time ago! Thank you so much for sticking around through the thick and thin!

  17. Happy Blog-aversary! You were one of the first blogs I started following when I realized there were such things. I think is was right after you moved into your first apartment. Thanks for what you do; in all the diverse ways you do; in the wonderfully droll and/or funny way that you do. Please – keep on doing what you do!

  18. I LOVE seeing this Daniel. Behind the scenes is just as interesting as any progress upstairs. Now, about those ‘pain scrapers’ Do they come in different types? Is there a multi-purpose option – physical/mental/emotional??

  19. Happy 7 and thank you for making me feel SOOOOO much better about what I store in my barn!

  20. Sorry about the mistake comment! Anyway I can’t believe that you have done so much in seven years !you might want to slow down a little -multiply all this by 30years. l love your college toolbox

    • I deleted it, I got your back! Oh god, just imagining this basement in 30 years! Hopefully it’s thinned out and not just totally blown out of control!!

  21. I started with you soon after the beginning and it has been a fun ride. You have grown so much and gained so many skills. Your writing is a delight, and a great day is the day you post something. I know you are busy making a living, but if you could ever find the time to write a book…..I’d be thrilled. I love the basement. Do you have the original boiler, etc? My father lived in a big Queen Anne Victorian with a 6 unit apartment house next door. Each apartment had its own coal furnace. The furnace had to be banked and whatever every night. The elderly owner of a huge company lived in one apartment with a full time caretaker-nurse. She was afraid to go “down the cellah” every night, so my father had to go over, starting at age 6 to accompany her. Poor kid. I’d be scared also. We lived in the Queen Anne when I was little, and that cellar was creepy also.

    • Thank you, Ann! I’ll try to squeeze in the book someday. :)

      The old boiler (oil burning though, not coal!) is gone—hauled off, good riddance! That thing was crazy! Now I’m on a high-efficiency natural gas boiler/hot water heater combo unit that’s been great. I can barely remember to fill my car with gasoline, so I’m glad I don’t have to worry too much about my heat!

  22. Wow! Time flies! Happy Blogversary, Daniel I’ve been reading since well before the Brooklyn apartment and I’ve continually been impressed with your imagination and work as a renovator. Also, through your writing, you have revealed your kind soul (the Linus story!) and generous nature. The world is a better place with you in it, Daniel. I look forward to the book you will eventually write.

  23. Seven years, eh? Yikes. I came on board around the time you painted the bathroom of that one apartment in “Raccoon Fur” by Benjamin Moore and I never looked back. It’s astonishing to see how much has happened since then.
    I enjoyed getting to see the basement, although now I am picturing you as a cartoon dragon with a hoard of old sinks. And I would say something about the paint but you’ve clearly said all of it to yourself already, and hell, if it’s gonna get used it’s better to hang onto it, right? (Am I an enabler? Is that what’s happening here?) So glad it’s finally got lights. I cringed imagining the “before” experience of walking into it, sticking your hand up and going “don’tbespidersdon’tbespidersdon’tbespidersdon’tbespiders” until you finally found a bulb.
    Also why on earth do you have the leftover tile from a reno Anna did in 2008? Don’t get me wrong, that tile is hella pretty, but there can’t be enough of it to do anything meaningful with…can there?

    • That’s exactly how it is! I rule over all the sinks!

      About the tile…I DON’T KNOW! But it’s not like 2″ marble hex expires, and I feel like you could always buy more if you needed more, but it’s not a bad start, and…YEAH YEAH FINE. (mark my words tho, i’mma use it.)

      Thanks for sticking around all these years! *hugs*

      • Maybe the scullery/mudroom? Or the new powder room? In my world, 2″ marble hex is not to be given away/donated/thrown away, even if it is just kept around for eye candy. :)

  24. Now I am dying to see the garage :D AND congrats on 7 years – I love being able to read along!

    • OK, garage soon! I thought people would be more horrified by this post than they are…if you can handle it, you can have it. :)

  25. Thank you for taking us along on your journey. I found your blog shortly after you bought the Kingston jewel and read backwards and forwards. Congratulations on the blog and all you have accomplished.
    Wow! When my sisters and I cleaned out my Dad’s huge basement workshop/storeroom, it wasn’t nearly so organized. It’ important to use the system that works for you. Thanks for showing us yours.

  26. The other cool part of having everything you need and then some is it can be transitive. When my grandfather passed away, my dad and his brothers went through the basement and split up the things in his workshop. So even though my dad has his own years-old collection of things, sometimes he’ll be working on a project and wonder if he has a particular type of [insert here] or a weird sized bolt. Often, he’ll go through his inheritance, find exactly what he needs and say, “Thanks Pops.”

    • Aw, that’s so sweet! I found a few empty jars of tartar sauce with random screws and nuts and bolts in the basement when I bought the house, and I like to think of it as a little gift from the previous owner when I end up using one. :)

  27. DK, you are a BOSS! Your wood storage make Younghouselove’s shed look quaint! I would like to see the breaker box covered though. Still our favorite blogger.

    • Haha, I thought if I didn’t point out the breaker box then nobody would notice! Isn’t that how it works?!? Cover has been put back up now. Sometimes you just gotta install a new breaker, ok?! :)

    • Rick, you’re probably great at those where’s Waldo books, huh? LOL. I thought I would be the only one to notice that and intended to take that up with him off-line. But, I can see his readers have his back. So, that’s great. THANKS.

  28. Happy Blogiversary, I have loved your sharing your stories since I stumbled across your “how to” on using a ikea curtain to frost glass in the manhattan apartment!

    I equally love the thrift store finds, the incredible befores and afters and the behind the scenes posts like this one. I cant believe its been 7 years, its been so fun seeing your projects (and life) unfold.

    Keep it up! I’m excited for the next 7 years!

    Emma

  29. Thank YOU!! We love it, and you, and your stories and wit and bang on good taste and how inspiring you are. No other blog comes close to yours. If you ever stop blogging i might shed an actual tear! Can’t wait to see what you show us next. Love from NZ

  30. Hello! I just wanted to drop a note and say how much I enjoy your blog! I read it on a feed reader, so you might not see that I read it every time, but I love each and every update! Your house is so gorgeous and it’s so admirable that you’ve taken it on and are doing so much to bring it back to life. :)

  31. You were a college freshman 7 years ago?‽‽‽!‽‽?? :D

  32. Happy Blogiversary! I echo all the warm, fuzzy sentiments and hope you continue writing for years here.

    In Baltimore we have a local company called Sandtown Millworks that repurposes lumber from demolished houses. Here’s an idea for what to do with some of that lath:

    http://www.sandtownmillworks.com/the-furniture/the-lath-coffee-table/

  33. I love reading your blog. Your home is beautiful.

  34. No…really…thank YOU !

  35. I’ve been reading since Manhattan days. You have come so far! Thank YOU for bringing us along on your journey. I think the lath will come in handy if you happen to get a retail/commercial client or someone who wants to take more of a risk. Like you said, it’s really in right now. There is a restaurant out here that I go to regularly, they have some nice lath wall treatment which contrasts nicely with the general swankiness of the bar: http://basilestudio.com/portfolio/soda-swine-liberty-station/

    • True! Who knows, that could totally happen! I don’t know what it is…I like well-done lath things when I see pictures of them or out in the world, but every time I think about making something for my own house or using it in the renovation, I’m not into it! I think it’s just not that kind of house, maybe. But hey, if someone wants to pay me to reinstall my garbage in a setting where it would look great, I’m all about it!

      (and thank you for reading all these years! That’s so nice!!)

  36. Happy Blogoversary! I’ve been reading your blog from the start — 7 years goes by so fast! I remember seeing your project on the Door 16 blog, and have been following your work ever since. Yay you! Yay your basement!!

  37. You’re so damned awesome! Your blog has been by far my favorite read for many years now. Thank you so very much for all that you have shared with us. *gets all teary-eyed* <3

  38. Hooray for gay men with power tools! In my 785 square foot Manhattan apartment I have a no less than four drills (including an impact drill and hammer drill), six powered cutting devices (including jigsaw, circular saw, compound miter saw, multitool [love them!], and a table saw). as well as other power tools (router, power hand planer, etc…) and a hardware store supply of hand tools, nuts, bolts, screws, etc. All in the name of renovation. My building Super claims I have more tools than he and his crew combined, and I have neighbors come by just to cut or drill things. I dream of a basement to store all of that in, and look forward to the day when I get one fill with industrial shelving to organize my world.

    Thanks for the tour Daniel!

  39. Happy Blogiversary! I’ve been enjoying your blog since I followed a link from Apartment Therapy. I love all of your house adventures. And I’m gobsmacked by the organization of your basement.

    • Thank you for staying around all this time, Bonnie! I’m glad you think it’s organized!! I thought everyone would just think I was nuts after this post, haha!

  40. hey, your stacks of wood scraps look like our stacks of wood scraps! We took down most of our questionable shelves too – but left the bathroom door rigged to be a shelf, because really, you have to applaud the frugality.

    FYI – if you ever decide you want a very big and sturdy workbench, just look around for an older corporate-style desk that has a scratched up top. We got one for the price of haul off, then took the top off and mounted it on some 2x6s braced with a couple of shelves. Would love to say this was our idea, but his father did the same thing and then passed the trick along :)

  41. Happy Blogiversary! I look forward to each new post, because I’m guaranteed to a) laugh out loud b) cry c) shout “OH NO!!) or d) all of the above. I’ve been with you since your first kitchen renovation in your glorious house (read back from the first post). Thank you for doing what you do. And then telling us about it.

  42. Sort of my favorite post. I’ve got an old creepy-ish basement, and hearing that you have no plans to “finish” yours, made me breathe a big sigh of relief over my own.

    • Haha! I’m glad! I can’t imagine trying to finish this basement…so much plumbing and wiring and beams and posts…I don’t even know how I’d start!

  43. Another longtime (but generally quiet) reader piping up to say happy 7 years!! Love the retrospective of your growing toolkit as a mirror to your ~ journey ~ with renovation, it’s fun to see how things have changed so much and as always a pleasure to read about your experiences. Wishing you the best for future projects on your house and elsewhere!

  44. Happy happy & here’s to the next seven! I kept thinking “I thought all the wood was in the garage, what’s going on in there now”. Had to laugh when you mentioned the garage was full – I clearly underestimated you. Love that you share your journey & I hope you can be bothered enough to continue for years, thanks

  45. Happy blogaversary to you!! You are the first blog I started following back in the little desk makeover in you MN appartment era! You are still my favorite voice on the web, the quality of your writting matches your inner quality, we can tell you are a hell of a fine dude! You can write about renos and makes us laugh and cry in the same post. I am very grateful you carve out time in your schedule to organize and write these posts, it is so very generous of you.
    Also, your basement rocks!!

  46. My favorite hardware store is your basement too! I’m the same way. Never tossing building stuff cause I might need it.

    • It pays off! People tell me I’m crazy but then WHO DO THEY COME CRYING TO when they need some weird something-or-other?!

  47. Happy versary Daniel. You make my life better. Few have that talent.

  48. Happy anniversary! Seven years goes by fast!

    Your basement looks almost exactly like ours. We have a big cleanout coming up as our renovation work begins. I’m oddly excited about going through all of this stuff.

    Love the stack of chairs. We have four Bertoia chairs that we use outside and store in the basement during the winter. We just got back from a spring break gallery hop family trip, and my favorite comment of the trip was made by my seven-year-old. She came around the corner and spotted a full size (and child sized) Bertoia in the Nelson-Atkins Museum in KC and was really confused that “our old outside chairs” were sort of “famous”.

    • Haha! That’s so cute! You should bring her to MoMA next! Bertoias for days! I have no idea what I’m gonna do with these, but they’re just too pretty to get rid of. Therefore I let them live in my basement to get covered in dust and grime. Logic!

      • We came to NYC last spring break! Our only mistake was hitting MoMA on the Free Friday (coincidentally, Good Friday of Easter Weekend), it was a raging madhouse, so there were no Bertoia sightings. We cowered in fear in the lower level watching some silent film on repeat after nearly perishing in the surge towards the Van Goghs.

        The Guggenheim on a quiet Tuesday morning though? Absolutely the best. I had to drag said seven-then-six-year-old out mid-afternoon.

        PS Found a picture of our basement in 2000 when we first bought the house. Dirt floor then – we excavated 7″ and poured a conc. floor – much better. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ScLKVQzgXJs/UgMYvZtLJfI/AAAAAAAAbeQ/JrdlIo2L1eM/s1600/Basement+Before+-+Dirt+Floor.jpg

        It’s a crappy picture from an old camera – remember the date stamps!?! But it’s always good to look back and remember how far you’ve come.

  49. Congrats on the blog milestone! I’ve been reading consistently since the wool blanket upholstered bed frame. You very quickly became my favourite blogger given that you are both hilarious and authentic (it’s kind of refreshing how unapologetically inconsistent you are about blogging. I was always a little frightened by the YHL 10am 5x/week schedule, and clearly time showed that was unsustainable). Also, you are the only cool kid to have spent time in my home province of SK! Anyway, I wish you continued success, and I look forward to seeing the results of your ongoing projects.

    • Saskatchewan represent! I’ll be back to visit very very soon and I can’t wait!! And thank you for the kind words and for reading all these years!

  50. So, what hours is Daniel’s Hardware open for shopping???
    Wishing you many more years of wonderfully instructive and thoroughly entertaining doing…and blogging about it for the rest of us!

  51. Happy blog-ivarsary! I’ve been reading since your first apartment when I was googling that Ikea bed you upholstered and have been following along ever since! I have literally zero interest in creepy basement spaces but am so excited about everything you share!!

  52. Happy 7th & thanks for your great writing. I loved what you did with that tiny NY apartment, the random corridor lives on in my heart.
    I have a whole storage box full of “hooks”. Large, small, brass, stainless, nickel. My handyman was amazed when he installed 2 out of 7 double hooks on the wrong door and I said never mind leave them and squirrelled out another couple to go on the right door. Ditto when he ran out of picture wire. Ditto when he didn’t have stainless steel screws to install the shower basket.
    I think oak pegs are the best thing ever, but don’t carry a large stock. Yet……

    • Haha! I’m a hook hoarder too!! The house came with some great hooks just in closets and random places, but sometimes I see good ones that I just can’t pass up. I have no idea what I’ll do with them all, but they’re so handy! Right there with ya. :)

  53. Congrats on the longevity of your blog, vision and energy.
    Can I sneak in a comment about the kitchen even though this is the basement posting…since there are hundreds of comments there and you are probably not looking at it anymore?
    Re the sink vs stove placement, our longest counter is next to the sink and the shortest pieces aside the stovetop (we have wall ovens). I find that I use the sink constantly when cooking because washing and rinsing things (dishes, hands, cutting boards, knives I want to reuse, sponges, veggies that need rinsing, scraps going into the disposal eventually etc) requires a surface and space before and after using the sink. They need containers and dishes/pots to be placed into which also requires surface and space or you you are carrying dripping things across the kitchen. I think if you keep the sink on the shorter wall you will end up using those small counter areas on either side of the sink more than you realize while your longer counter sits unused during much of the prep time or you parade back and forth.
    Also, if you are going to use gas for your stovetop, venting through open windows messes up your cooking since the flames are constantly blown about. You want maximum cross ventilation for comfort but that will maximize the problems with gas flames. A hood is the best option for eliminating smoke, grease, and good air quality. There are some very unobtrusive models. And no harm in putting the sink between windows to avoid the not-nice view.

    • Thanks Cindy! Definitely things to consider! (by the way, just in case you were curious—I read all the comments! Comments are displayed on the admin panel that I see in the order they come in, so unless it gets mistakenly filtered out as spam or something, I read it! I try to respond to as many as I can, but that’s pretty intense when there are hundreds! People have serious feelings about kitchens and I love it because so do I, but I just can’t talk about it all day, haha! I wouldn’t get anything else done! :)

  54. Congratulations! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, I hope you’re still writing it 7 years from now!

    For the lathe: I’ve seen a couple of townhouses use a series of lathed posts as decorative elements, e.g., http://ny.curbed.com/2017/3/9/14872684/park-slope-coop-apartment-for-sale-pricespotter-reveal and, um, maybe a little over-the-top, the Prospect Lefferts Garden one: http://ny.curbed.com/2017/2/26/14739522/brooklyn-townhouses-for-sale. Not sure if that’s the aesthetic you’re going for, but looks pretty spiffy to me!

  55. If I had your basement and garage, I’d probably never leave the house. You have all the things to keep a girl happy and busy for a long time! I’m so glad that you have kept blogging and super love the more frequent posts – especially considering how long it takes to write a post and take pictures and all that stuff. I’ve been here since you made the desk from street pick-ups (was that an AT challenge?) and enjoy it so much.

  56. I am jealous of your light fixture stash. I’ve been perseverating over the light fixture to install in my tiny foyer rather than the can light that is currently there. Your stash is like gold.

  57. Thank you Daniel for writing this blog. In the meantime I read every single post and am always excited, if you mention a new blog post on instagram. And by the way, as a reader from Germany I even learned a lot of new renovation-related vocables :-)

  58. Happy Anniversary, Daniel! I think I’ve been with you for six of the seven years and it’s been wonderful.

    I’m so jealous of your basement! I saw a few strategies I’m going to steal for our storage/shop area.

    We used discarded bits of our old house as firewood for years, and I can say that lathe makes great kindling.

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with the rest of us!

  59. Congrats on your 7 year anniversary (the same amount of time I’ve been with my husband, so now I’ll never forget!).

    I’ve been reading since you bought the Kingston house, although I did go back and read from the archives at one point. Without doubt you are my favourite blogger as your posts are always so funny and entertainingly written. Seriously, I’ve read posts with great interest about things that are totally irrelevant to me because construction methods are so different where I live, and enjoyed them thoroughly.

    I’m also totally jealous of the horde, I too have a collection that started out in a clear plastic bin and has now grown to fill a single-car sized ex-garage turned workshop. I still stash things in clear plastic bins though, it’s definitely the easiest way to see what is going on!
    Here’s to seeing the rest of the horde in the garage!

    And, as others have said above, thanks for taking the time and energy to produce this blog and keep us all so entertained, it’s totally awesome!

  60. I love a basement that looks like a basement! Now I’m motivated for a little spring cleaning/re-organizing. Seven years?? I’ve been reading since early Brooklyn apartment; keep it up. Your drive is amazing!!

  61. As a fellow hoarder, I saw an idea for the lath — Adam Porterfield in Portland used it to create a panelled wall, almost like rough beadboard. I can’t find a picture online and it may be a little too boho for your style, because I did see it in the book The New Bohemians.

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