June 1st, 2016 we moved from our shitty little Seattle home that we were paying WAY too much in rent for, to my parents basement apartment allllll the way over in Bellevue. Well we thought we were moving in. The day we went to clean and paint, we found a lingering stench that wouldn’t leave even after layers and layers of bleach (my new favorite thing). That lingering smell was the lovely invader we all deal with in the Pacific Northwest. Mold. Let me just pause and say Chris Hanson is brilliant. He does maintenance work for a number of apartments in Seattle, but he has never renovated an entire apartment including gutting, mudding, plumbing, etc. He (we) did it. A month later we are living in a custom tiny dream home of 400 sq ft.
Back to June 1st. We couldn’t sleep here. Especially Penn and her tiny developing lungs. We packed up a few bags and camped out at my Grandma’s just a short 3 minute drive from my parents. This was pretty ideal for the situation at hand, but a huge inconvenience since all of our stuff was still in boxes. We were living out of suitcases for what we thought was a few days, ended up being 1 whole month, plus some!
This task was something Chris took on at full force. I helped with what I could when I had my tiny window every couple hours. I felt like we were drowning in this project that was way over our heads. I was grateful we found the mold before we moved in, but the fact that we didn’t know when we were going to move in gave me have some sort of mild breakdown every night before climbing onto bed. To give you a visual, it was more of rolling into bed. Our mattress was in the middle of the room, surrounded by a number of Filson bags we were living out of. Mornings consisted of rummaging through these bags to never be able to find what I was looking for. Penn’s bed was right next to ours on a few folded blankets. If she woke up before 5 which she did most mornings, we cozied her into bed next to us.
Penny was going through a major transition during this madness. She had learned to roll over, so mummifying her for bed wasn’t going to cut it anymore. If you have a baby, you understand what I mean by this transition. Crying and flailing arms when the lights are out and you are trying to sleep. Nightmare. There were a handful of nights that we didn’t get our beauty rest.
Everyday consisted of working on the apartment. Between Chris’ work hours and sleeping, this was pretty much all our life consisted of. Our beloved friends Cam, Jodi & Kelsey came to help. Our beloved family Breanna and Brice came to help. My parents also helped. We are SO grateful for you all.
The linoleum and appliances were molded out. Essentially everything was gutted. New drywall was mudded into the bathroom and kitchen. A duct fan was installed in the kitchen. A new seal was put on the toilet. Toxic mold killer was applied and scraped from the concrete floor. By the end of all of this, everything in this apartment was torn out and cleaned or taken to the dump. Every surface was bleached, treated, and painted over with KILZ. It was a nasty, nasty job. And we can now say, we did it ourselves.
Once all of the major jobs were done, it was time to paint. With it being a basement, the brighter the better so we chose white. There was a Christmasy feel with the green walls and red floor that had to go. We didn’t want to risk the possibility of any more mold to grow, so we tossed the linoleum idea. We didn’t have the time to do tile, so we went with keeping the concrete floors. But the best part was painting it black.
Once the floor was done, the baseboard was put it. We measured and cut each board to size.
Appliances needed to be installed and some cleaning needed to be done, but the big job was finished! Projects always take way longer than you think, especially if you’re a Hanson. With the space being so small, we needed to customize all of our shelving and bed frame. It took another couple days, and we even got the one and only Doug Hanson to come and help. Even though I was so done and ready to throw in the towel, I’m glad Chris finished all he set out to do and was a perfectionist about it.
We cut angle iron for our shelves. These were our fire works on the 4th this year.
The giant bed Chris designed and built fit perfectly in the ‘bedroom.’ To give you an idea of just how tall, we can stack 2 of the largest plastic bins you can find underneath.
Toilet paper roll //
Chris’ bedside table //
Jess’ bedside table //
We had to be creative on the kitchen since that is where I have the most stuff. I love kitchen gadgets and I love to cook. There is only 1 drawer and 4 cabinets, so to conserve space we hung everything we could on pegboard.
Another tricky part was shoes. For 1, the entry way is so tiny. Each thing has it’s place in a small home and when one thing is out of sorts, the place feels like a pig sty. And 2, we both have a lot of shoes. This shoe rack that is attached to the wall gives Chris and I a few shoes to have out that we love, and the rest go in a bin under the bed.
We love our little home. It’s pretty special to have 4 generations under 1 roof. Now, time to enjoy it.