My Big Fat Basement Reno - Part I

I broke the golden Rule of Blogging. Consistency. You may have noticed there hasn’t been a single fresh post since last September. So what the heck have I been up to? 

 

There you have it. A sneak peek of where it all started. One dingy, dark, cold, & dysfunctional basement that made up half our house! With a growing family, I’m sure many of you can relate to needing more space. We briefly considered relocating but just couldn’t give up our great location and the vibrant community around us. 

But why did that affect the Blog?

Great question. After receiving several quotes from general contractors for a turn-key renovation, we realized, that option just wasn’t in our budget. So with thoughtful consideration, Michael and I decided between the two of us, we had the skills to split the work between DIY projects and playing the role of General Contractor ourselves. The answer...time. 

Full Disclosure: Playing the role of GC is not for the faint of heart. I would rarely recommend it to a client unless you have the flexibility with your day job to be onsite, managing people, and calling shots.  You will also need a great deal of knowledge about how construction works, permitting, and scheduling. Oh…and a willingness to make a million trips to Home Depot. 

We had to figure things out along the way, but in the end, we both have walked away with tons of new knowledge. Professionally, it has helped me become a better designer and will allow me to help future clients make more informed decisions. Personally, I can also say, it has strengthened my marriage. Knowing we have completed two renovations (both while pregnant of course) and managed to walk away unscathed, I’d say that’s pretty amazing. 

Before we dive into the design plan, let’s recap where we came from. We basically wanted to recoup about 750 square feet of poorly utilized spaced. 

Before // Laundry 

Before // Laundry 

Before // Bedroom 

Before // Bedroom 

Before // Guestroom 

Before // Guestroom 

Before // Office 

Before // Office 

Here is what we needed in for the new space: 

  • Bedroom/playroom for the kids (this is the first time I've written the word kids...as in plural...like I have two!) 
  • Guest Room 
  • A second bathroom (we are living with one bathroom that you can only access through our master bedroom.) 
  • Studio space for me
  • Laundry 
  • Utility Room 
  • Storage space 

To get there, we need all of this to happen:

  • Gut everything 
  • Add insulation and drywall 
  • Add all new plumbing (like the kind where you dig trenches into the earth? Not sure why I didn’t get photos of that.) 
  • New furnace, ductwork, and hot water heater 
  • New windows 
  • New cabinetry for laundry

Tired yet? 

Now onto the Design Plan! 


The Inspiration 

We wanted the downstairs to connect with the rest of the home. To us that meant a clean and bright home with a schoolhouse modern aesthetic. We used simple materials and exposed some of the more industrial parts of the home. 

Design Inspiration

Design Inspiration

inspiration for girls' room

inspiration for girls' room

 

The Plans 

 

And Progress! 

Process // Stripped down and added new framing

Process // Stripped down and added new framing

Process // Spray foam (Before the blown-in foam goes up...this is going to be a seriously warm basement

Process // Spray foam (Before the blown-in foam goes up...this is going to be a seriously warm basement

Process // Drywall is up and cabinets are coming together!

Process // Drywall is up and cabinets are coming together!

Process // Painting is done. Inspector Mike checking on things. 

Process // Painting is done. Inspector Mike checking on things. 

Process // Sneak peek of guest room. We reclaimed this wood from the garage which we assume was original to the house. 

Process // Sneak peek of guest room. We reclaimed this wood from the garage which we assume was original to the house. 

Process // Flooring and Trim work (mostly) installed

Process // Flooring and Trim work (mostly) installed

Process // Really loving the warm gray wood floor

Process // Really loving the warm gray wood floor

Process // An ode to our little weekend warrior. She patiently hung out with us, occasionally helping but mostly having waaaaaaay too much screen time. 

Process // An ode to our little weekend warrior. She patiently hung out with us, occasionally helping but mostly having waaaaaaay too much screen time. 


While we have made a little more progress, this is pretty close to what we have today. We’re still in the process of putting on the finishing touches but the big stuff (Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical) are mostly behind us. Stay tuned as we complete the space with the really fun stuff…finishes, lighting, furnishings, etc. 

But before I go...

I have to give a BIG SHOUT OUT to all our amazing friends and family members who pitched in for our renovation as a wedding present in lieu of traditional wedding gifts. Your generosity was overwhelming and we couldn’t have pulled this off without your help. We hope you will all visit soon and try out the new guest quarters. 

Much Love...

Kate