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Deuce Cities Henhouse

A Plan for the Basement


Alright pals, I’ve got some fun stuff to share today. At least I think it’s fun, maybe you will think it’s lame and boring, but it’s my blog, so whatever ;)

We are in the midst of starting our big basement revamp project. This will be the biggest investment we’ve put in to the house to date. We’ve been scrimping, saving and dreaming for years now and are really excited to get this project started.

I’ve been really getting into planning the space out with sketchup – I’ve spent hours and hours messing with different designs and plans, and I think we’ve finally realized on paper (or ‘puter as it were) our dream basement situation. Below you’ll see a cool animated sketchup movie I provided you with to get the full effect of how awesome this could be.



You may have notice we’ve included a sweet TV watching area with a big screen TV (we’ve never had a big TV!) also, under the TV is a gas fireplace, something we always wanted in our dream house and had to compromise on when we bought this crappy place (I kid). Tons of built-ins utilizing ikea cabinetry to make it feel really cozy and nestled in. There is also going to be a hang area for board games and projects and beers and what have you. Also, a mini fridge bros, and an egress window to let the light in. We’re going to enlarge the currently unuseable bathroom and have it be the boys’ primary bathroom, and we’re going to put the washing machine and dryer in their own room, I think when that happens they call it a “Laundry Room”.

Now you’re probably wondering what this place looked like before. The only time I’ve ever posted any pics of our basement was right after we moved in because it’s basically an embarrassment. Really, it’s more like a shame cave then a basement. We hide it from everyone and apologize to guests who might have the unpleasure of encountering it. BUT today I’m sharing it with you, you’re so, so lucky! Welcome to what we affectionately call ‘The Cocaine Den’. You’ll see why we named it that in a sec.


No you’re not seeing things, those are beveled glass mirrors all over those walls. Also, why do we have two televisions down here, and Christmas lights hanging haphazardly from the ceiling? Cause we gave up on giving any of the shits a long, long time ago.


The space is currently overly segmented, the storage space juts out into the main space and is crammed full of boxes that could easily be moved to the attic. The bathroom is small, and the shower is inoperable. There is a “bar” (made of glass blocks) in the back 1/3 of the space – the bartender is our washing machine, dryer and a full sized fridge. The space just doesn’t function for us, and I have given up on trying to make-do with what it is.


The good news is that we do have a basement space that has been updated at least once in the last 100 years, so we aren’t exactly starting for scratch. The bad news is that the “now” version wasn’t executed well. The design is poorly planned (like I said) and the materials used are low quality – it shows. The tile needs to be torn up, the ceiling needs to be removed, the lighting is not up to code, the electrical box needs to be moved, and we need to replace some of the plumbing.

I don’t have the slightest clue as to how much this crucial behind-the-scenes stuff is going to cost us. We haven’t gotten quotes from contractors yet – that will be the next step. We’ve already established a list of what we will be eliminating first to accommodate the budget. Our intention was to have a detailed plan to share with a contractor (recommendations warmly welcomed), then scale back if the budget dictated.


I hope to take on a lot of the finishing work myself, especially in the bathroom. All I want is for someone to come in and put all the walls, electrical, plumbing, and ceiling into place, and then I can take it from there. I’ll be sharing the ins and outs of the project here on the blog, in case any of you are curious as to how this whole process works. We’ve never taken on a project of this scale before, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I’m looking forward to learning tons of new skills, and I can’t wait to spend next winter hanging in our basement! Have you lived through a similar process? I’d love to hear your take on it.

34 comments
in Around the House, Basement




30 comments… add one
  • Erin February 17, 2015

    Yes! This is going to look so fantastic! Please tell me you are going to really consider the birch paper, you know I love it so very much. And from one basement fireplace gal to a soon to be other, it is AMAZING. Like you will want to forget all life before the fireplace and all the cold darkness that used to be. Somehow blankets never where quite enough. Can’t wait to see it all come together!

    • Scoops February 17, 2015

      Roonz! Yes, I love that you love this. You always have such a good critical/practical eye when it comes to stuff like this. I am very excited about the fireplace. Did you guys get a gas insert, I can’t remember. If you did, did it cost tons? And FOR SURE on the paper. My heart still skips a beat every time I run into it on the internet, I think the basement would be the perfect spot for it – urban cabin stylez.

      • Erin February 18, 2015

        Scoops, we did get an insert since we already had the wood burner in place. Since you’re starting from scratch you have so many more possibilities! I will say that the people at the fireplace in EP by Menards were kind of jerky to us every time we went in. We ended up going with the fireplace store right by the bagel place over near ridge dale. Nice guys and good prices. But I think the place by Menards had more options. Can’t wait to see what you guys choose!

  • Leanna February 17, 2015

    I’m curious about your plans for the ceiling – your drawing makes it look like boards running across – would they be moveable like your drop ceiling so you can access mechanicals above it? I hate the look of tiled drop ceilings so it would be awesome if you found an option that’s still flexible but achieves the more linear look you show.

    • Scoops February 17, 2015

      Hey Leanna! My friends put a basement in themselves about two years ago and they came up with a really great solution for the ceiling using wide plank tongue and groove boards that are easy to remove if one needed to access mechanicals. We don’t have tons of mechanicals running through the ceiling either, and the ceiling in the main section can be attached to the joists. The drop ceiling that is installed now eats up about 5″ of vertical space. I hope we can make something like this work.

  • Sage @ Plaster&Disaster February 17, 2015

    The aninmated Sketch Up model is so cool! I love using Sketch Up to consider big changes, but never thought of doing an animated “home tour” before — love it.

    • Scoops February 17, 2015

      Yea! This is the first time I ever did a sketch up, but I am hooked. I really like that anything is possible with it. I just watched a few youtube vids and I had it kinda figured out.

      • Sage @ Plaster&Disaster February 17, 2015

        Absolutely, YoutTube has some great resources. Impressive you figured it out so fast, though, you’re a natural talent!

      • Martha March 4, 2015

        So glad to hear you are playing w/ Sketchup! I had to quit as when I started playing with it last year, it was all I wanted to do, EVER. This looks like a great plan. As someone who has a crumbling concrete and pine hole for a basement, I suggest you consider yourself lucky. You are starting from not such a very bad place.

  • soozey February 17, 2015

    I can’t stop giggling about “shame cave.” I think this is going to be great, you are already ahead of the game with the nice light! One thing I plan to do when re-doing my basement is making sure there is adequate sound proofing, whatever that entails. I want to really blast the movies and stuff and not have my kids tell me its too loud. Or vice versa. Same with soundproofing in the basement bathroom. That’s my pet peeve. Hearing everyone pee!

    • Scoops February 17, 2015

      Oh, that’s a good idea, I never thought of sound proofing – probably because we never hang out down there so there is no sound to hear. We’ll have to consider that when talking to contractors and see what the cost is. I hate hearing pee too, especially with this house of boys.

  • Meg February 17, 2015

    Can I just say how much I love that you wrote this sentence: “All I want is for someone to come in and put all the walls, electrical, plumbing, and ceiling into place, and then I can take it from there.” That’s pretty much how I feel about my upcoming kitchen reno. You don’t talk much about your husband helping you out with construction things, and it seems like most blogs that take on home renos lean heavily on a handy hubby. Speaking as one handy lady (without an awesome but un-handy fiance) to another, I love to see you take on challenges, figure it out, and make it work. I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

    • Scoops February 17, 2015

      Hey Meg! I suppose I never really talk about it much but “YES” sounds like we have similar husband/fiances, mine can barely operate a screw driver and that is not an understatement.. Lucky for us, my husbo has no problem with me taking charge on these projects. We’ve always known that he is bad at handy stuff, but he’s really good at spreadsheets, writing songs and being funny, so we stick to what we’re good at. We also found out that we totally stink at working together on handy projects so we just keep it separated (like the offspring song). He does weigh it on design and was a big part in helping me figure out this model of the basement space. Good luck with the kitchen reno, sounds like a fun winter project – hope you can get your hands on it ;)

      • Melanie February 18, 2015

        This is awesome. I thought I was the only gal out there who was the handy one while her husband stood by and said please don’t make me go anywhere near that pile of paint/tools etc. I only bring him in when I really need back-up. He’s in charge of the cooking and I make sure our old house keeps making progress! Cheers!

  • Kelly February 17, 2015

    This looks awesome! Thank you for sharing – your home is an inspiration!

    • Scoops February 17, 2015

      Thanks so much Kelly! I hope it turns out awesome too, I’m excited to get started on this thang.

  • Anna @Annabode February 18, 2015

    I love your new design! You really made the space much more functional–I especially love the game area with the built-in fridge. We’ll be buying a house this spring, and all the ones we’ve seen have very long empty basements–so I’m going to save this and use it as inspiration. Also, sketchup is the bessssttttt. Good luck, excited to follow along!

    • Scoops February 20, 2015

      He Anna! Yea! Sketchup is pretty cool and kind of addictive – and then I can’t stop making everything perfect. I’m glad I know about it now.

      Good luck with the house buying – so much comes on the market in spring.

  • Tina Batori February 18, 2015

    Looks great and I commend you for your energy in doing this project after all you’ve already done inside and outside your home. The only thing that I wonder about is having the laundry in the basement when the bedrooms are on the 2nd floor. How about a vertical pair of washer/dryers jammed into a closet on the bedroom floor? Maybe it’s because I’m older than you are, but the thought of taking laundry for 2 adults and 2 lively kids all the way from upstairs to the basement, and back, makes me tired just thinking about it. but I know you plan carefully and always perfect to a quality I can’t imagine doing myself.

    • Scoops February 20, 2015

      Hey Tina! Oh man, I totally get having a laundry set-up on the second floor, it would be great. I don’t think it’s in the cards for us, and so far I’ve never minded hauling laundry down to the basement. Maybe someday after the kids are out of the house and we have more space we can make something like that work on the 2nd floor.

  • Sarge in CHARGE February 24, 2015

    Looks like a perfect mix of cozy and sleek! Will be excited to see it come together.

    And no shame, Scoops – EVERYONE has fallen for the IKEA mirror wall at some point! I mean, they are still able to convince people to buy these horrors in 2015!
    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70179377/

    • Scoops February 24, 2015

      No Sarge!!!! I didn’t put those mirrors there, I would never! They were here when we moved in and they are very stuck to the walls – although I don’t fault anyone who as made the mistake, as long as realize the error of their ways ;)

      • SARGE IN CHARGE February 25, 2015

        Hahahaha, I love your outrage at that false accusation! I’d love to deny it, but unfortunately I fell for the IKEA mirror wall scam in my first apartment after college. However, I definitely learned the error of my ways – first when I hung them way too high and realized that not only were they hideous, but also did not even serve the normal functions of a mirror because I could only see the top third of my head. And again when I tried to take them down and they all broke into several pieces in the process and left tons of adhesive gunk on the walls. Ugh. I am ashamed but I hope this can be a cautionary tale for others…

  • Chloe joy February 24, 2015

    Check out those SketchUp skillz! Most excellent. This space is going to be awesome! So excited to see it come together

    • Scoops February 24, 2015

      Me too! Can’t wait to get this ball rolling. We’re starting to meet with potential builders this week!

  • Marnie April 26, 2015

    I’m curious if you’ve made progress in the basement? We’re embarking on a similar reno and would love to see what steps you’ve taken since Feb!

  • Sherene June 7, 2015

    Hello! My husband and I are in the beginning stages of getting our basement updated and we are working with an awesome woman named Sam Strong. She’s got a company called Metamporphosis http://www.morphmpls.com/#welcome
    So far our experience with her has been great. She’s been honest, patient and really knows her stuff. Perhaps this is too late since your post was in February, but if you’re still looking check em out!

  • Molly March 18, 2017

    Love the blog- so refreshingly different than many others…I think it’s time for a springtime cocktail recipe! Any tips/sources on good sketchup tutorials you found? I’ve got the very basics down but I’m still struggling to get to the addiction phase (which I want to be in!). Love (and stealing) your approach: sketch it and it will come!

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