Hi! Artist Panda here, and I’m really happy to kick off this Blog by starting with a post that shows off our spiffy office.
This is a story about how Programmer Panda and I renovated his basement to make a sweet office for Sad Panda HQ. We did this for a few reasons; First, because OjiPanda deserved better than a fold-out table (half of which was being taken up by our printer)… Before OjiPanda even had the
fold-out table he would jam on game stuff just sitting on the floor :O and our second reason was that we wanted the opportunity to expand and hire more pandas!
This is the basement! It’s the coldest part of the house which is great for summer days but not so great for freezing Canadian winter days. This space was previously being used to store random stuff like bikes and boxes so we thought it would make the perfect space for our ‘panda office’ and would be a wicked upgrade from ‘floor and fold-out tables upstairs’ 😀 So Programmer Panda and Artist Panda (that’s me!) got to work renovating the space to make it look awesome!!
We started tearing out the old wood panelling by the fireplace since it was mega retro and kinda hard to work around. The exposed ceiling alerted us to some nasty DIY wiring jobs the previous homeowners had done. So it was actually a good thing we were overhauling this area because we found tons of “almost-burnt-the-house-down” jobs here.
It turned out this old basement (and house which was built in the 70s) had some asbestos in the drywall mud – yippee! So we had to take extra precaution with these renovations. That’s Programmer Panda sporting a super anti-asbestos suit.
We tore it down to the old framing and insulation and ultimately decided we would need to replace that. We wanted it to be level and do a good job keeping the warm air inside, so it was worth doing these extra steps. Fun fact – those big white things leaning against the walls are SOLAR PANELS because Programmer Panda is a COOL and knows how to set things like that up. He’s so responsible. And green. And great. So our studio runs off solar energy in the summer months 😀
This is what the new framing looked like after we did our job 🙂 All the wood probably cost around $60. We hired electricians to install pot-lights and ethernet in the walls and that cost around $2500. That was probably the second most expensive thing.
I wrote on the floor before it was covered up. It says “SAD PANDA (STUD)IOS” because I thought I was clever, and there was a stud lined up with that location on the wall >.>
Brand new insulation we stuffed in there! Looking good. All the insulation we got was around $150 since we got the really high grade stuff meant for keeping in as much heat as possible. But the sucky thing was when we had to acoustic sealant goop the vapour barrier on..man that stuff is nasty.
Here I am taking a break with Quill! The floor is really chilly >_<
Mio keeping an ever watchful eye on all the goings-on downstairs.
Programmer Panda paid one of his neighbours to help with the drywalling since it was going to take a lot of time. We could have done it, but there were game features we wanted to work on instead 😛 I think the total cost $800 including the labour.
This is the stage where the drywall got mudded so it could be painted over a smooth surface. After the mud dried and got sanded/smoothed out I could paint it 😀 😀
Here’s a different angle taken from the window/fireplace vantage point.
Then the painting commenced!! I was really excited to have the room feel bright and colourful so I chose a teal/tiffany blue colour. It worried me at first because it resembled a hospital gown colour before it dried >.<
I probably went through a full can and a half painting several coats in this room and the hallway leading upstairs. Total cost for those two cans, new brushes and paint trays was around $100.
The old fireplace that was in there worked fine but was so old that it was no longer up to code… so I pitched in to get us a new fireplace so we could avoid being popsicle pandas in the winter time >_<
That brings us to the number one most expensive part of this whole show – the fireplace and mantle. Being a silly artist panda, I said “I don’t think the old brick will go with this new look – let’s make it new and hip!” so we hired a mason and got a new fireplace installed. Also picked out a sweet hunk of cedar for the mantle – cost $120. But overall, the fireplace was around $3800 and the masonry $3000. I hope I chose a brick style everyone likes because it’s kinda permanent now!!
Here’s what the work-in-progress looked like! It’s so industrial ‘n cool underneath.
We continued to paint the ceiling, window trim and walls while the fireplace was being worked on. Notice the humungous gnarly baseboard heater down on the left? Yeah, that thing was a fire hazard waiting to happen – when we took it off the wall we discovered it had a charcoal black (BURNT) thread spool inside. It’s insane that it didn’t start a fire and burn the house down :s
Mio’s checking out the sweet new mantle. You’ll notice it has a giant crack running down the middle (and underside as well) which looks kinda cool and gives it character. Apparently fresh cut cedar needs time to acclimate to a house so the cracks didn’t happen until it had been sitting on the floor for a few weeks. Science!
Brick’s looking good at this point! Still need to install the fireplace.
Programmer Panda and I spent some evenings laying down this underlay
(cost $200) and taped it all up so we could install the floorboards next!
We put in the floor pretty quickly since it was such a small area – but it was a real pain. I dunno if it was just the brand or the fact that we bought damaged boxes, but this stuff would snap out of place so easily 😦 It was not fun. We spent way too many hours trying to adjust the boards and push them together so there were no gaps. The end result looks nice but there’s still the odd piece you have to kick with your foot to wedge it back to looking seamless. The only neat thing with this floor in particular is that I found it on sale (it had been discontinued at Home Depot) and when it arrived it had several boxes banged up and too damaged to use – so they gave me another discount. Total cost for 14 boxes of this ended up being $300.
Here is when it really started to look like a new room!! So bright and colorful ^_^ You can see the tops and bottoms of the walls are surrounded by molding. Programmer Panda installed all of these and I just touched up the nail holes with mud and paint. I think the cost for all the molding pieces was under $100 and we did new trim on the doors in this room too.
Then we backtracked a bit and removed some of the molding to make special cuts and room for shelving 🙂 This was something I definitely wanted so we could show off our love of red pandas and put up things that inspire us. Maybe one day if we ever get awards or neat merchandise we want to put on display this would be the place to do it! In this shot you can also see some of the monitors and desks we assembled! It’s so cool.
Finally! With the molding up around the tops and bottoms of the walls, we can call this office basically – DONE! Time to start filling up those shelves with cool things!
This is the view from my desk, but the cintiq hasn’t been set up quite yet in this photo. Sure is a nice view though ^^ Especially when the neighbourhood cats come to chill in the backyard.
Sometimes the cats keep me company while I work… haha ^^;
When Trash Panda (our other artist) comes in to the office to work, she brings her miniature Shnauzer Chloe with her. We turned her into a character in Kitty Catsanova and she seems to be pretty popular!
Here’s a wide shot of the whole office. The panorama makes the proportions look off, but there’s enough space for 4 people to work in there comfortably. The total cost for all the office renovations was about $10,980 CAD (not including computer equipment) and Programmer Panda’s & my time came to about 100 hours.
In the winter we had some festive treats and a tree, while I blasted Nintendo Winter Music ^^
And here’s how it looks currently (in the evening). I’ve added a few new red pandas to our display, and we have posters hung up for all the games we’re working on. It’s a pretty fun space and I hope the team finds it cozy and inspiring =^^=