What would you do if you had free rein to convert a room in your house into your own private Nerdvana and MMO gaming haven?
Mrs. Vræden is the current holder of the title of “Best Wife Ever” and she let me do just that.
We have lived in our house together for almost sixteen years.1 During that time, all of the kids have taken up residence in the basement as their own semi-private domicile at one time or another. It used to be two (very small) bedrooms (so the previous seller could advertise it as a five-bedroom home) with a utility room for the circuit breaker, hot water heater and the laundry and a three-quarter bathroom. We have since opened up the space into one big room, plus the utility room and bathroom.2
The youngest of my stepsons was the latest resident of the space and he has used it intermittently over the holidays and summers when school is out. This year, however, he’s locked into an apartment lease until next autumn and he’s scheduled to graduate, which means he won’t be moving home.3
That means the basement is now all mine.4
Over the last few years, I’ve been operating out of a “family” room that’s one level up from the basement and on the same level as our garage. This room has become a dumping ground for my gazillion history books from college, our two computer desks and my action figure collection.5
With the basement now free, I’m moving all of my crap out of that room and into the now-vacated space6 and we’re going to turn the old computer room into a space where the grandchildren can play where they can’t do too much damage, but we can also keep an eye on them. I also wanted to take over the basement so my computer gaming area isn’t right below our bedroom. Some nights, when I’m up raiding and she’s gone to bed, it would be nice to be able to use my speakers instead of the headset to get the full gaming effect. I also have a tendency to yell at the television during football season, and that disturbs her some times.
The first thing I did was to clear out the remainder of my stepson’s stuff. I gave him about two weeks to come get what he wanted, then threw out the garbage and put everything else in big plastic bins. Then I steam-cleaned the carpet, broke out my saws, the nail gun and bought a bunch of plywood from Home Depot.
What I wanted was a new desk plus a bunch of space for storage and to display my collection of nerd stuff. The first part of this project was to build the desk that would support my dual monitor set-up and a shelving unit along the wall for everything I would want to have within arm’s reach.
All of the primary desk components are made out of ¾” oak plywood that I got Home Depot to cut down for me in the store to the sizes I wanted.. That made transporting everything home really easy, and they were really good about making sure everything was more or less the same dimensions.7 All I really had to do when I got everything into the basement was put it all together with the nail gun and wood screws.
This part of the project took me a full day to complete once I got the basement cleared out and all of the plywood from Home Depot. Mrs. Vræden put a couple of coats of polyurethane sealant on all of the surfaces and helped me hang the trim on all of the exposed plywood.
Phase 2 of the project will happen next weekend, after another visit to Home Depot. In the mean time, I’m sorting through all of my other stuff, throwing out the junk, giving old books to the high schools, moving what I can, and building a gun rack for my Nerf arsenal.
- She has been in the house for over twenty-two years; I’m the second husband. ↩
- It’s still got a closet, so our house is still a four bedroom house for real estate purposes. ↩
- If you think that’s harsh, consider that when I left for college, my mother rented my room out. Not that I’m bitter or anything, but that’s another story for another time. ↩
- Plus, I want to make it as uncomfortable and unappealing for the kids to ever move home. ↩
- The hard drive in her desktop started grinding out, so we replaced it with a laptop and now her desk just takes up space. ↩
- . . . so I can accumulate more crap; sorry, honey! Love you! ↩
- It doesn’t help that nothing in our house is level, plum or square. Ah, the joys of living in a 60 year old house! ↩