For some homeowners, the pandemic has given time to tackle projects that were left on the “Honey Do” list. Rineeka Sheppard had long wanted to add a concession booth to the home theater she and husband Steven built for themselves in the basement of their five-bedroom Indianapolis home in 2018.
But life was always in the way. They both worked and raised three teenagers and one 5 year old. But in April, Ms. Sheppard, 38, was fired from her job because of the pandemic for collecting defaulted student loans at the state’s Department of Education, and suddenly her calendar was wide open.
“It finally happened,” said Ms. Sheppard, whose favorite part of going to the movies is the concession stand. “With Covid I could step back and take a breath.”
While Mr. Sheppard, 43, a mechanic, was finishing up the room, Ms. Sheppard searched the Facebook marketplace for the decor and found pretzel and nacho chip warmers, a snack display stand, and a glass-fronted mini fridge. (She already had a popcorn maker she bought on Wayfair.) Every concession booth needs a soda fountain, and she eventually found one from a restaurant that was no longer operating. Through social media, she found a retired Coca-Cola mechanic willing to come out and install and service the machine.
Mr. Sheppard spent months finishing the basement walls and floors, laying drywall and laying new floors. He built the counter out of wooden pallets and painted the room black with red accents. He expanded the cinema from six to ten seats, adding a row of risers at the back and two additional lounge chairs at the front.
“Often I said, ‘Oh man, I can’t,” said Mr. Sheppard, who once worked from noon to three in the morning. “The time down there was the same, I couldn’t tell whether it was day or night So I just kept working. “
They finished the room in January. Ms. Sheppard loves an escape where the family can curl up and watch movies together. “If you have an upset stomach, you can just go downstairs and get a sprite,” she said. “When a movie came out we could go downstairs and the baby could see it and eat its popcorn and eat its candy and it felt like we were actually in a movie theater.”