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Deuce Cities Henhouse

Basement Reveal!

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.

Modern Basement Remodel : Before & After

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.

Scandinavian Inspired Basement Remodel with lots of Built-Ins

Modern Basement Renovation

Lighting in a Moden Basement Renovation

Scandinavian Inspired Basement Remodel with lots of Built-Ins


Scandinavian Inspired Basement Remodel with lots of Built-Ins

Modern Basement Remodel : Before & After

Wow! Even I feel surprised when seeing the before pictures. Our basement was basically the worst. Check out our very cool combination glass block bar and laundry area all trimmed out in plywood and laminate. I bet you wish you had one in your house too!

We purchased our Karlstad sofa (RIP) from Ikea earlier this summer. It was necessary that we purchased something that was flat packed in order to fit it down our narrow basement stairway. We love having the sectional with chaise and after considering a coffee table, I’m really glad we decided on the matching ottoman instead. The tray on the ottoman gives us nice place to set drinks or remotes but also doubles seating and an ottoman, duh. The whole fam can fit easily on the sofa for ultimate maxing and relaxing.

In the far corner of the basement I used “upper” cabinets from Ikea for toy storage. Each cabinet has a drop down door front and that makes it super easy for the kids to pull out their toys and put them away. Not only that, on those days when we have massive basement parties, the cabinets can be used as extra seating.

We now have a laundry/utility/workout room. It’s not pretty at all, like I won’t show it to you, but it might be my favorite thing about the entire basement. It has been an extreme game changer to have a dedicated room for laundry. The space is also big enough to make a home for our treadmill which we both use daily – gotta tone dem muscles.

Also, Bruce and Patti.

Ikea Cabinets Double as Bench Seating in this Modern Basement Remodel

Ikea Cabinets Double as Bench Seating in this Modern Basement Remodel

Vintage Yard Sticks

Ikea Cabinets Double as Bench Seating in this Modern Basement Remodel

Scandinavian Inspired Basement Remodel

Modern Basement Remodel : Before & After

Don’t worry! It’s not an illusion, the space looks longer in the after picture because it is. We removed a storage space that was eating up a third of the basement before. You might not notice it hiding behind that mirrored tile wall.

We moved all of our Christmas stuff, pictures, and other sentimental crap that we hold on to up to the attic. I purchased some heavy duty wire shelving for the attic and everything is really nice and organized up there. We were worried about losing storage space, but it hasn’t been something we regret. Everything that we need on hand is stored in the cabinetry in the basement.

Fortunately for us, there was a window hiding in that storage space – that’s the window that became the egress and provides us with lots of light.

Picture Ledge for a Rotating Art Collection

Cabin Inspired Basement Remodel

A TV Nook with Bench Seating

Modern Basement Remodel : Before & After

Oh, what? One wall covered in tiled mirror wasn’t enough for you? That’s cool, cause we have another one. Basically these photos show you how we elongated the load bearing wall and added a door to the bathroom.

A big part of our budget has gone to the basement bathroom. We don’t have a main floor bath and only one bathroom upstairs, so this will provide us with both a spot for our guests to use, and a place for our kids to shower when they turn into teens. Like I mentioned above, we had nearly all of the basement plumbing replaced and that cost us a big chunk of change, but it was something that needed to be done. We also increased the size of the bathroom, doubling the size. For now the bathroom remains only roughed in with plumbing, electrical and a shower pan. Eventually I’ll get started on finishing that project, but for now, I’m just glad that the bones are there and I don’t have to worry about plumbing back ups.

I was able to save the original door knob from the storage space and used it on the bathroom door. It was one of the only original items that was in the space pre demo.

Black Door with Brass Hardware and Porcelain Knob

A Scandinavian Inspired Basement Remodel

Floating Shelving in a Scandinavian Inspired Basement Renovation

Modern Basement Remodel : Before & After

Friends! This was the window that was in the storage area. See! See! We had the window enlarged creating an egress window. All of our windows were replaced and we can now swing them open to let nice summer breezes in.

We built in the space around the window framing it with two columns, cabinetry and the beverage fridge. To create our second main hang space, we added a circular table. We use it all the time to play games, build puzzle or eat frozen pizza. Our next basement purchase will definitely be one of those bar style frozen pizza ovens. It will rule.

We also had all of the walls insulated. This has been great in the winter (the basement radiator barely ever kicks on) and in the summer the basement stays pretty cool.

Eating area in a Scandinavian Inspired Basement Remodel

Cribbage Board

Engineer Print

Vintage Typography

Cottage Inspired Basement Renovation

Bar with Beverage Cooler and Shelving for Glassware in a Modern Basement Remodel

Turntable and Floating Record Storage

Plants Rule

Modern Basement Remodel : Before & After

This is the part where I get to talk about those stairs! What an undertaking that was! I am so proud of them, I feel like a real deal handy person after fixing those bad boys. Remember?!?, they were falling apart, like literally falling apart, so I fixed the broken stuff, retreaded them, and added a bunch of trim so they look similar to our main floor staircase.

I also added a bunch of floating shelving. For now they are doing a good job of making pretty objects have a place to sit, but who knows, maybe someday they’ll really be used as a bookshelf – we’ll see.

Also note, the radiator. I really like this cast iron baseboard heat, and I was able to paint it to match the wall color. We put the radiator on a new thermostat so we could control the temp of the basement independently of the rest of the house.

DIY Staircase with new Treads

Side Door Hook

DIY Staircase with Treads

Floating Shelving and Built-In Storage in a Midwestern Basement Remodel

Floating Shelves

Greenery in the Side Door Entry


Deuce Cities Henhouse : 5 Year's in a 100 Year Old House

Deuce Cities Henhouse : 5 Year's in a 100 Year Old House

Deuce Cities Henhouse : 5 Year's in a 100 Year Old House

Deuce Cities Henhouse : 5 Year's in a 100 Year Old House

Deuce Cities Henhouse : 5 Year's in a 100 Year Old House

I’ll be sharing sources in an upcoming post for those of you who are curious. Thanks for reading and putting up with all the basement posts over the last year.

If you need a re-cap check out any of the following posts.

in Around the House, Basement, DIY

47 comments… add one
  • Rebecka February 19, 2016

    Awesome, very impressive. We are starting a house renovation and need the encouragement!

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Thanks, Rebecka! Good luck on your renovation – try and keep the dust down as much as you can – it will help with your sanity.

  • Helen February 19, 2016

    So good and so inspiring. We are about 2/3 of the way done with our basement and it was tough to throw down so much cash for mechanicals. This gives me hope that it will be worth it in the end! Especially the part about the upstairs rooms being neater as a result. I’m so psyched to give the rest of our house a little breathing room too. It looks AWESOME.

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Hey, Helen! Yes, the main floor being clean is a real thing! I still can’t comment on their bedroom but the living room is always nice and tidy. Mechanicals are worth the investment, especially when you plan on calling a house a home for a long time.

  • Stacey February 19, 2016

    Wow, wow, wow! Looks awesome! And functional!
    When you post sources, would you mind a close-up of your door/window trim? My place has NO trim on the windows, and I’ve decided the style you have is what I want to put in, I just need some pics and measurements so I can do it.

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Stacey! I’ll post a pic of the trim in this thread so you can check it out. Might take me a day to get it to ya, but I’ll make sure to do it.

  • Dawn fp February 19, 2016

    Looks amazing! Would love to see the sourcing on the floors especially. We have to choose our floors for our basement remodel in the next week or two and I’m so confused about what to pick. Would love any feedback you could give on yours. Thanks!

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Hey Dawn! I’ll be sure to include all that boring stuff like the floors. Does your basement get water? We only ever had our plumbing back ups but still decided to with a vinyl floor just in case. They make them way nicer than they used to!

  • Staci February 19, 2016

    I’m in awe. Seriously I’ve never wanted to hang out in a basement more. Wondering if you’ve ever written a blog post on your vinyl listening setup? We have a turntable but our audio setup is less than ideal. You look like you’d know your shizz. If you haven’t already covered it– idea for a new post?

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Staci! Thanks so much! I have written a few posts about our vinyl collection upstairs but never down stairs. I’ll make sure to list some of our gear in the sources post I do this week. My dad is a huge audiophile and I’ve been lucky enough to get lots of “hand-me-downs” from him.

  • Elle February 19, 2016

    Looks so good!

  • natalia February 19, 2016

    awesome!! looks great, beautifull place, lot of work, You should be proud of yourself!

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Natalia! Thanks so much! It has been a lot of work, and I’m super proud of it!

  • Rachel February 19, 2016

    This is so, so good! Gorgeous, but also well thought out in terms of function. You must feel like you have a second house down there!!!

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Rachel! It totally feels like a second house! Being that we plan on staying here a long time, I’m glad we invested in maximizing our square footage.

  • Cuda February 19, 2016

    Whelp, this just replaced your bedroom as my favorite room/area you’ve done. ❤️ Very nice work.

  • Anne February 20, 2016

    SO GOOD!!

  • Robyn February 20, 2016

    I love it! So functional and pretty, which is basically my goal in life. I know this is super nosy- but would you ever consider outlining how much things cost? I am in a similar situation to you (old house, crappy basement, etc) and would love to know if a reno is even remotely within our budget. (But another bathroom? That’s what dreams are made of!)

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Hey Robyn, I’d be happy to share a bit regarding the costs. This is the breakdown of where the money was spent:
      Demo $3,000
      New Slab, $3,000
      Egress Window $3,100
      3 New Windows $2,000
      Insulation $2,100
      Framing $3,000
      Wiring $4,500
      Plumbing (Including Radiator and Bathroom) $13,400
      Sheetrock (including bathroom) $6,100
      Doors $2,000
      Flooring $2,000
      Total square feet of space (including bathroom & laundry room : 600 Sq Ft
      Hope that helps!

      • Emily March 2, 2016

        Thank you! That helps me too.

      • Robyn March 2, 2016

        Thank you so much for this!!! Now to plan my basement :)

  • Lizzie February 20, 2016

    I love everything about this space! Love to know more about that big wall hanging – I’m after something big like that for our LR.

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Hey, Lizzie! I’ll mention the wall hanging int he sources post as well, but it was something I had made at parabo press. It’s big impact for not a ton of moolah, and the magnetic framing strips make it easy to change out.

  • Judi February 20, 2016

    Hi Scoops! I found your blog recently and have been working my way steadily through the archives. Love your style and all the inspiration…congrats on this amazing transformation. When you post sources, could you please share the name of the artist who created the (for lack of a better phrase) word art you have leaning up against the wall in a couple places? I really love the work. Thanks!

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Hey, Judi! So glad you found me! The photographic image on the wall was a picture I had made. I had it printed at Parabo Press. The water color artwork was made by KIm Eichler-Messmer, she did a 100 day study last year, and she is selling all of her paintings. There is lots of good stuff over at her site. Oh, and I shared a few images I made awhile ago, so if you’re interested you could download the lake photograph and have it printed ;)

      • Judi February 23, 2016

        I was actually wondering about the wood art with the words on it (reading my comment I see I was totally unclear, probably because I was under-caffeinated) so if you can share that I would really appreciate it. But now I am also really taken with Kim’s work, which is not good for the budget…and with the party lights (love those engineer prints). Thanks again!

        • Scoops February 24, 2016

          Hey Judi! I was actually lucky enough to find this sign when we were demoing the basement. It was part of the a workbench – about a 100 years ago someone must have recycled it! We were able to save the sign, and I love having it on display in the basement. If you were to put all the sign pieces together it reads “Business goes where it is invited and stays where it is well treated”, I’m nuts about the typography. Sorry I can’t be of any help as to where to find another :(

          • Judi February 27, 2016

            What a wonderful story. Of course, I got curious and Googled the text (thanks for sharing the full quote). According to the almighty Internet, the Dictionary of Modern Proverbs says this comes from a 1910 Newport News article. So cool that you all saved the sign…and yes, the fantastic typography.

  • Kimberly Vandegrift February 20, 2016

    This is so cool, and very inspiring. Congrats!

  • Vanessa February 20, 2016

    Beautifully done Scoops. I hope that you are very proud, because a project like this should make you feel fantastic about your abilities. I see an architect, designer, professional planner hidden in there somewhere. Self taught all the way!

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Hey, Vanessa! It feels pretty great, and it makes me really happy to see my family and friends hanging out and enjoying the space. Maybe someday I will be one of those things when life as kid driver ends ;)

  • Amy G. February 21, 2016

    This is unbelievable. Congrats on having it done and being able to enjoy the space now!!! IT’S JUST SO GOOD!!!!!!!!

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      Seriously, Thanks, Amy! We have been really enjoying the space!

  • Mithra Ballesteros February 22, 2016

    Wowsy wow wow! What an undertaking! You’ll never regret it, either the time, the sweat, or the $$. Of course the unexpected benefit is that your children see you working with your own hands towards a goal and completing it. Very inspiring! Will be sharing on my blog soon.

    • Scoops February 22, 2016

      I hope my kids do take something from it! I did get a valentine the other day that said “I love you because you fix our house”. Thanks for sharing on the blog! I’ll look forward to checking out the post!

  • Trav February 24, 2016

    This is great! I wish we had a basement…I’d copy you, for sure. Congratulations!

    • Scoops February 24, 2016

      Thanks, Trav! It feels good to call it done ;)

  • Laine February 24, 2016

    AMAZING JOB! I love all the woodsy accents – you have the perfect amount to be just enough and not overpowering.

  • Iryna | RedBArbrerry.com February 24, 2016

    Wow! That is an AMAZING transformation! Congratulations on all your hard work. Can you come and help me now? :))

  • Julie February 29, 2016

    Hi! I just saw your home on Apartment Therapy and was so impressed I had to check out your blog! Your house is gorgeous! We live in the same neck of the woods–sort of. I’m in North Dakota, living in my parent’s 110-year old house and desperately want to renovate it someday. It’s doesn’t have nearly the great bones yours does though! I’m very inspired now. So…when can I move in?

  • jannike March 1, 2016

    Wow, I’m having some serious basement envy. We had the basement of our 1925 row house dug out and a new foundation put in 10 years ago and that’s as far as we got. Now it’s just a huge storage room. I dream of a basement like yours with a media center and beer frig/wine cellar. Maybe if I show the man your photos he will get motivated. :)

  • Kris April 13, 2016

    Wow – just beautiful – love your choices. Can you tell me more about how you made the benches/toy storage boxes? I know they’re Ikea cabinets but what did you put on top? Are they fastened to the wall?

  • Sarah B August 12, 2018

    Your basement is amazing! We live in an old house in the twin cities and we are planning a basement remodel. I know this post is old but I am curious if you remember which ikea cabinets you used? Thanks!

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