As I mentioned a few months back, 2012 at Number 9 was mostly dominated by disaster, cleanup and repair. After my basement was flooded in May (the anniversary of which I celebrated a couple of days ago by worrying that the day’s predicted thunderstorms would result in another round of flooding), it took well over six (SIX!) months for the repairs to be finished. Four feet of drywall and insulation were removed, as was the floor and subfloor, and half of the staircase. The exit door to the garage, as well as the closet door were also completely replaced, as was the hot water tank and the baseboard heating.
Somewhere during that process, I decided that I’d like to have a somewhat permanent reminder of the experience, as well as a “loss line”, a clear marker of what I stand to lose should we get flooded again. This marker goes all the way around the room at the 30” mark, which is how high the water rose. It’s not something I would have considered doing in a main living area, but since the basement sees minimal action, I thought I’d go for it.
As for the rest of the basement, we’re still trying to sort some things out, but after much agonizing, we came to a couple of conclusions. First off, we did not replace our sofabed. We had an older model, but high quality IKEA sleeper sofa that our friends would use when visiting from out of town. It was a complete loss, and having to rip the waterlogged upholstered frame apart and throwing it out in pieces really hammered home how horribly wasteful these kinds of disasters can be. I never want to repeat that experience, so after going back and forth on lighter framed futon-style setups, we decided that risks outweighed the benefits, and invested in an extremely top of the line air mattress instead. This way, when our guests leave, we can pack it up and store it up high until next time.
Speaking of storing things up high, we’re still working out the logistics of wall mounted shelving, but there’s no question that I will not be storing anything of any value, real or sentimental, below the loss line. This is a bit of a pain, but outweighs the alternative. We did decide to invest in a nice sisal rug, with the understanding that it’ll be a total writeoff should it flood again, but it was important to warm up the space a bit, while protecting the floors.
It might seem a bit silly to some to make design or lifestyle choices based on the possibility of a disaster, but given that this property had a similar flood in 1987 and now again last year, I know that this is a question of when, not if, especially given the weather instability this region has seen over the last decade. I believe that, especially for a room that doesn’t see much use, balancing risk with comfort is possible.