Friends and pals! Almost a year ago we started the process of having our basement remodeled. It’s been an exciting, stressful, and messy project but we are so happy that it’s finally over. We are so glad we decided to move ahead with the renovation because it has totally changed the way we live in our house! Winter has been manageable this year now that we have a sweet in-home-retreat to relax and hang out in. The living and dining room are almost always clean because kids aren’t playing with trains, marbles, puzzles, games, blocks, cars or building forts in them. Now they are playing with all that stuff in the basement where we have tons of room to spread out and lots of places to hide those toys away.
For those of you who are new or just need a little reminder (cause it’s been like a year), we had a contractor build out the basement as per a design I created. The contractor and I worked closely together and we collaborated about layouts and measurements until we had the whole thing nailed down perfectly. There wasn’t one thing that wasn’t fully considered before the process started, and I’m so glad I took the time to do so. A solid plan goes a long way.
To start the process our contractor demo’d our existing basement which had been poorly remodeled sometime in the 80’s, (glass blocks and mirrored tiles abound). That was followed up with days of jack hammering the foundation as we had nearly all the plumbing replaced. A new slab was poured and a hole was cut for the new egress window. Framing was the next on the list, and after that electric and plumbing (for the bathroom and laundry room) were installed. Dry wall had the biggest impact and was installed, mudded and sanded within a few days. Floors were laid down last, and from that point on all of the finishing was left to me! I installed all of the cabinetry and countertops, finished the trim, painted, wallpapered, repaired and retreaded the stairs, upholstered a cushion, wired media equipment and built custom floating shelves. That brings us right up to just a week ago when I finally called it quits.
This place is supposed to be our urban cabin, a little slice of chill to make us feel like our lives aren’t so crazy. I wanted some of that Scandinavian aesthetic in our century old house, and yeah, maybe it’s a little different then some of the decor in the rest of home, but it’s all fine by me. I know that I kinda went nuts on the cabin-y stuff, but I really don’t care. I love it all, and I’ll be changing my nickname to Birch Bark Allen.
Let me show you around the place.
Check out that before pic! What you are looking at is the basement bump out which supports the bay window in our main floor dining room located directly above this section of the basement. This awkward area made designing the space difficult. It was always part of our plan to have the radiator moved to a different location (I’ll point that out later), but even without the radiator the best solution for the space alluded us. We considered adding floating shelving, and even a fireplace, but then a friend suggested that we do a built-in space for the tv and eliminate the window. Who removes a window from a basement? We do, and I’m really glad we did.
Adding built-ins to our basement was key to make the space feel custom and well thought out. The built-ins and cabinets surround the perimeter of the basement on three sides allowing us tons of storage space for electronics and media, a beverage cooler (or as we refer to it, “the beer fridge”), toy, lego and game storage, and access to our water meter and main line sewer clean out. In the tv-watching-chill-area we used the built-ins to create extra seating, low kid level toy storage, and a recessed nook for our tv to create the illusion of more width in our long and narrow space. Trying to make the most of the space, I upholstered a very large piece of foam and tucked it in under the tv. This give us tons of seating when we’re hosting friends and their kids for weekend hang seshes. Creating social zones was a crucial part of making the flow of the basement work.
One of the most important built-ins is directly to the right of the tv. In these cabinets we have all of our media; cable box, modem, video game schtuff, and stereo components. Before the dry wall went up I wired in speaker cable from the ceiling to the cabinet, and added tubing from behind the tv to the interior of the cabinet. This allows us to hide away all that unsightly gear. Hidden IR repeater allows us to access all that stuff with just our remotes! Dealing with the mess of wire and hooking everything up was nearly divorce inducing, but we survived. Above the media storage we have a space for a turntable and storage for basement records. It’s been pretty rad to listen to records during late night cribbage tournies.
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