My husband (who has decided that he would like to go by the alias Mr. Handy) was really excited about the prospect of tearing the basement apart. Armed with crowbars and various types of saws he set to work ripping down all the paneling. It's amazing how fast you can fill a room with construction debris.
We wanted to try and save some of the paneling for upcycling projects later, but because of the number of nails in most of the panels we ended up having take a lot of it to the dump. I did manage to save enough of it to make a tabletop (one of the future DIY projects I have in mind once the construction part is through).
While we were tearing the room apart we discovered that some previous owner just really liked to store random stuff above the ceiling furring strips and never bothered to remove it before closing in the ceiling. I did find some 10" wide walnut boards, though, which I intend to turn into a coffee table top.
With the room demo completed, it finally started to hit us that we were past the point of no return. The magnitude of the to do list also started to sink in. I had a very clear vision of what the room should look like in my head, but it seemed like every step had at least 10 sub-steps.
Next step: Leveling the basement floor. Oof.