WORTHINGTON — For the Kolpins, it was the little things that advanced their timetable for finishing the basement on their house, a 2018 build located on Worthington’s Crailsheim Road.
Relatively small objects — like Legos, toy tractors and a brand new infant — pushed them to tackle a very big project.
“We ended up almost doubling our home’s square footage,” said Alaina Kolpin, mother of Dean, 2, and Lyla, five months.
“We were starting to run out of room for Dean’s toys,” quipped dad Quinn Kolpin.
Between kids’ stuff, the imminent arrival of their second child and the pandemic-induced sensation of being sequestered, the Kolpins were spurred to the task of making the empty space on their totally unfinished lower level into a full-fledged part of their dwelling.
“We always knew we would finish it off at some point,” said Alaina, who works at Mike Woll Investment Office.
“But I was pregnant with Lyla, and being home more on weekends than we had ever been before really drew our attention to needing more space.”
Mission in mind, the fearless couple took tools into their own hands and began the process of framing lower level rooms last August.
“He [Quinn] just grabbed it by the horns and did what had to be done,” credited Alaina, noting that each family member played a part.
“I drove the bus to keep us on schedule, and Dean went to bed.”
“I was nailing two-by-fours together and Dean slept right through it,” said Quinn, adding he had assistance at times from other members of their extended family.
Despite Quinn’s modest deflection that he is a “pretty basic woodworker,” he crafted a simple surround for the Kozy Heat gas fireplace they wanted as a warm focal point of their lower level living room.
“It’s just pine car siding, and to make it look more modern, we painted it a matte black,” said Quinn.
“That added a lot more character,” said Alaina.
Because Alaina was in the last trimester of her pregnancy during the first phase of their project, almost all the painting and staining fell to Quinn, a city of Worthington water department employee by day.
“He did a ton of staining,” said Alaina.
Necessity wasn’t the only consideration for the Kolpins; the budget-minded pair completed the project over a series of months in part because they were attempting to keep it affordable.
“We figured it was a two-phase project,” said Alaina. “We wanted to finish the bedrooms first, and we planned to do the rest of the basement later.
“But once we had the first phase done, we realized how nice it would be to have the rest finished, too — and not have to wear shoes in the basement.”
The Kolpins bucked up against a problem every other contractor and builder has encountered over the past year: Supply chain issues and rising costs of basic materials.
“We hit the beginning of the point when lumber prices were increasing,” said Quinn, “but we avoided some of it.
“I’d paid $5 apiece for some two-by-fours, and now they are $12 apiece.”
Alaina praises the sub-contractors they employed.
“They were great to work with,” she said. “We told them our approximate timeline and they typically showed up a day or two after things arrived, and after we’d finished what we needed to do.”
Delivery dates — both for furniture, plumbing fixtures and baby Lyla — were also factors.
“We’d ordered a sectional for the living room and needed to get things done before it arrived,” said Alaina.
“And the bathroom was initially supposed to be part of Phase 1, but it was moved back [approximately three months] due to the bathtub delivery date when production was temporarily shut down for the tub we wanted.”
The list of local businesses and skilled workers the Kolpins employed is lengthy.
BTU Heating and Cooling installed the gas line for the Kozy Heat fireplace and also incorporated the HVAC systems; Scott Oberloh of Worthington Electric did the electrical work; Worthington Glass crafted the bathroom mirror (and one for their owners’ suite bathroom, which hadn’t previously been done); Diamond Vogel was the Kolpins’ primary paint source; Chad Jeffers Construction pitched in on some drywall and framing work; Worthington Building Materials supplied all the lumber; and local installers ensured the flooring and carpet from Carpet Plus was properly in place.
“My cousin’s husband Derrick, who owns Chelmo Custom Cabinets in Albertville, built the cabinetry for our main-floor kitchen and bathrooms, so we stuck with him for the downstairs cabinetry, too,” Alaina said.
To keep the bathroom’s focus on its walnut cabinetry and wavy-patterned granite countertop, the Kolpins painted the walls a clean white.
“We liked the character of the walnut and we didn’t want it to look too plain,” said Alaina. “The walnut adds warmth and texture.”
A salt-and-pepper toned carpet now covers the living room and bedroom floors, while the walls in the central space are a light tan.
“We kept the walls lighter because we knew it might seem pretty dark down there,” said Alaina.
Dean, who turned 2 at the start of January, scored one of the new bedrooms.
“His room is a light gray, and we went with a dark green in the guest bedroom so it’s a slightly moodier room than Dean’s,” said Alaina.
Added Quinn, “The smaller closet is in Dean’s room, with a bigger closet in the guest bedroom where Lyla will eventually go; she will definitely need the closet space.”
Unquestionably, the kids altered the Kolpins’ original intentions.
“It’s good we lived here for a couple of years before doing this,” said Alaina. “That helped us find clarity on how we wanted to use the space.”
Said Quinn, “We thought we’d have a wet bar with a seating area where we could have a drink or two.”
Instead, they chose to accommodate toys and their equipment-happy toddler son; a tent and plenty of John Deere kid-sized gear already occupy the space.
“He loves construction equipment,” said Alaina. “Bulldozers, excavators, tractors — you name it. And he’ll correct you if you get one wrong, too; ‘No, that’s a skid loader,’ he’ll say.”
After months of work, lists and delivery schedules, the Kolpins are content with the results of their labors, which they considered largely completed when the sectional arrived in early February.
Said Quinn, “We have more breathing room in the house, and this has helped us transition it into a home we can stay in for the long-term.”
“We still have some finishing work to do, but we’ve enjoyed having the new space, absolutely,” said Alaina.
“It’s been so worth it.”