Basement Ideas for Fun and Pleasure
My basement escape today.
Throughout my life I lived in different houses, mostly apartment buildings. In Kazakhstan (one of the 15 republics of the former Soviet Union), when I was a child I lived with my mother in a two story brick house that had two entrances, with eight apartments in every entrance. Four were on a ground floor (that was called first floor) and four on the upper floor. We lived in a one bedroom apartment (it was called a flat in our corner of the world) on the first floor. Our building didn't have a basement. Actually there was basement, of course, but it was a closed one, without any access. But the same house opposite had a basement with an entrance and the basement there was all divided into small (if not tiny) cages that belonged to apartments of both buildings. People kept old junk, bicycles, and fire wood there.
Flashback # 1
Fire wood was used for water boilers. Water boiler was called "titan" (I have no idea why but possibly because it was made from titan). "Titan" was placed in a bathroom, next to a bathtub and was heated by wood. I had to draw an image of that old "tian", as it was impossible to find a picture of this relict.
Well, back to the old basement. The basement under apartment building was long, dusty and dark. Electric bulbs didn't stay for long there, having been stolen on a constant basis. People were going to the basement with flash lights. It was strictly forbidden for us, children to go there, but it goes without doubt that the basement pulled us as a magnet. It was scary, mysterious and full of possibilities. Perfect place for "cops and thieves" games. I have to write a separate story about my soviet childhood.
My life in Israel introduced to me quite a different usage of under-buildings basements. Basements in Israel are bomb shelters. People on the south (town of Sderot for example) have 15 seconds to run to the shelter when a siren "Color Red" pops up. "Color Red" means that Kasam rocket was fired towards Israel from Gaza strip by Hamas terrorists.
My first wall art
Flashback # 2 inspired by my present basement
America's homes have totally different basements. In some homes it is a part of a house where one can even live. In my house the basement is a lasting creativity source.
Flashback- since I was a child I loved to draw on walls. My first wall art was made on a freshly painted wall of my bedroom. It featured a house with a high roof, a window and a fence. On the roof there was a chimney which was put perpendicular to the roof side, like this:
I was about 5 years old and when my mother saw a new wall décor she looked at me so "loudly" without saying a word, that I immediately put the blame on my cousin (a usual trick of mine). "Ilya drew this". My mother was skeptical though and said, "Only you draw chimneys like this". "Well, chimney is mine, but Ilya drew the house" was my answer.
Later my mother gave up to my passion and even allocated for this the back wall of the bedroom where my cousin Ilya and I exercised our fantasy. Later (in another house) I was putting pictures on my bedroom walls to cover drawbacks, like chipped paint, or greasy spot. Once a neighbor from apartment above flooded us and instead of repainting the whole room I just traces the flood damages and painted bricks on those spots which gave my room an authentic chamber look.
My American basement
Needless to say that when we moved to our present house I put my eye on the basement immediately, anticipating the pleasure of long winter evenings. This is what I have there now and the work is far from being finished! My aim is not to finish decorating the room for the sake of the room. I just enjoy drawing and painting the patterns and I do it from time to time only. I can sketch an image with a white pencil and then leave it alone and paint it with colors weeks after. I also alternate drawing with playing ping-pong, so i never get tired of it. I color my sketches with acrylic paint.
Don't throw away old curtains
The basement ceiling of that room was just an open mess of whatever is there in basement's ceilings. My son and his friend covered it with old window curtains by stapling them to the beams.
Next project on the way
This is just a sketch. It will be traced by black or blue color on the wall of another room in the basement. I hope that when sooner or later I decide to sell my house, the next owner is going to like all this stuff and won't ask me to repaint the basement walls with plain color. Ah, a joke from life just popped in my head: A tenant made some beautiful wall art in his rented apartment. When his lease was over, the owner refused to renew the contract and also demanded from the tenant to repaint the apartment before he goes out as this was the contract deal. Needless to say, the tenant was upset with his master. He read the contract attentively and noticed that color of paint was not specified. So he painted the entire apartment black.