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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guys! I wanted to give you a little update on our basement. All the way back in November we purchased my forever dream coffee table. I’ve had my heart set on this baby for years, and I was so excited to bring it home to live in our basement. In ... Read More
I kind of dropped the ball when it came to really putting the finishing touches on the basement decor. It was such a massive project, and I had done so much of the hard work myself that by the time the paint was up and the wallpaper was hung, I ... Read More
Sorry for disappearing the last two weeks. I had a very thorough and detailed plan to get the bathroom completed, and this post was supposed to be making its debut much much sooner. That was until our house was ravaged by some ungodly disease that made gross stuff happen to ... Read More
Welp, here we are, week 11. I've worked a few hours nearly every day trying to get to a point where I could call the tile installation officially complete. I cut the last tile yesterday afternoon and I immediately downed a bottle of champagne upon completion (I wish). I am ... Read More
Heya! Oh my geezus (Gus' latest catch phrase)! Here we are at week 10! It's been so long since the last update, I feel so guilty. The holidays threw a wrench in my plans so we will just ignore them, and not even count them as part of my timeline ... Read More
Yes, I'm still working on the bathroom. It was hard to get back into the swing of things after the holidays, but I'm getting there. Just yesterday the dark blue cement floor tiles arrived, and they are amazing! I'm letting them acclimate for a few days before I go ahead ... Read More
Is it over yet? No? Shit. People keep telling me that it seems like this is all coming together really quickly, and I'm like "really?" To me this has been lingering on and on, and there is still so many things that have to get done! I'm trying not to ... Read More
Although I am right on schedule with this project, it feels like its taking forever! It's a semi-enjoyable, semi painful kind-of-forever, and I'm glad the payoffs make it seem worth it thus far. Let me get you guys up to speed. Since last week I tiled one side of the ... Read More
Hey guys! Whazzup? Technically this is the start of week four, but I wanted to check in and let you know where I finished off after last week. I've completed all the subway tile around the sink area which consists of one large wall and two more narrow walls. The ... Read More
Hey friends, hope you are all doing okay. I meant to post earlier this week, but I just couldn't find the enthusiasm to do it. I've been making a lot of good progress on the basement bathroom since mindless distractions have been very welcome, and I'm feeling very confident in ... Read More
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 ... Read More
Hey Guys! Long time, no see. Things have been so crazy busy around here, it's nuts. I am losing my mind and have been laid up with a killer cold, but good work is happening. Anyway, I wanted to share a quick post about the basement. I couldn't figure out ... Read More
Budz, I kinda like this new quick post method. Way less stressful for yours truly. There is so much stuff that I always want to share, but the pressure of the internet makes me feel like I should always present to you via some big, bad, epic post. How 'bout ... Read More
Hey Guys! I think I'm going to do a lot more quick brief posts since my new kid schleppin' schedule isn't allowing me tons of time for the long winded, in depth kinda posts that I like to do. Having less time means coming up with new ways of making ... Read More
Welp, it's 2016 and as mentioned over and over again, it's time to start the basement bathroom project. As of right now, the basement has roughed in plumbing, cement board, dry wall, a newly poured concrete floor, and rough electrical. It is a blank slate and I'm super stoked to ... Read More
Okay pals! I'm getting so close to finishing up the basement, like almost, nearly, kinda there! I just got to cross a big sucker off the list, which only leaves me with a few easy tasks. I upholstered a piece of peach foam with some of my favorite fabric, and ... Read More
Budz! Have you noticed I've only been posting once a week, maybe twice at best. Sorry if I've been slow to respond to e-mails and comments, I'll get to 'em. I've been so busy with all of this basement stuff, it's consuming my life and I can't wait for it ... Read More
Hi. I know, another stair post, but this is my life, and you get to hear about it. I finished the lower half of the basement stairs almost a month a go to the date. We have been so happy with the new stairs, that I just couldn't live with ... Read More
Hey! Where have you been? I mean where have I been, ur? I've been right here, wrestling with the last of these basement projects. Remember, the basement? I called it quits for awhile because I needed a rest both mentally and physically. After getting the house back in order post-major-remodel ... Read More
BUDZ! Behold, I built stairs. What started out as a quick and easy refinishing project turned into one of the hardest most satisfying things I've done as a homeowner to date. I honestly thought that I could take the old steps (see below) remove the staples and the construction adhesive, ... Read More
Hi Guys! Woah, what a crazy summer this has been. I am so happy that the basement is finally done. It’s been overwhelming to say the least. I thought I was totally prepared for a remodeling project and didn’t think that it would affect our typical day-to-day lifestyle too much ... Read More
Whaddup? Long time no see, huh? I've been SO incredibly busy realizing this basement plan. The last two weeks have been nuts. I have basically abandoned my family and live in the basement surviving only on food people bring me and beers. Sorry in advance if my writing skills are ... Read More
Hey Guys! Sorry, I've been a little MIA lately. We were on a family vacay and I was very much phoning it in for the last few weeks. I haven't been a good poster, or comment responder, or blogger in general - but don't worry, those days are over. Alright, ... Read More
So much has happened over the last week and a half! It's really exciting to see it all come together. We've got the entire basement framed out now. As of Friday the basement is now wired for flaming hot electricity, and sheetrock is starting this week. It's almost done! After ... Read More
Budz! Things are really happening over here at la casa Allen. The basement is feeling more and more realized every day, and I can't wait to see the finished results. I seriously dream about it every night, I am beyond excited. Lots has been happening over the last week and ... Read More
Hey Guys! Lots to share with you this week. My kids are out at Grammy Camp (aka an awesome-fun-time with their Grandma, and an even better more productive time for me) and I've got plans to get tons done around the blog. Anyway, I wanted to start with a quick ... Read More
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 ... Read More
Dudes, we've had our fair share of basement plumbing issues throughout the last year. We made it through the first four years with barely issues and since this time last year we've probably had 5 back ups and spent bunches of money on fixing and cleaning out lines. We're thankful ... Read More
Awesome, very impressive. We are starting a house renovation and need the encouragement!
Thanks, Rebecka! Good luck on your renovation – try and keep the dust down as much as you can – it will help with your sanity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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?
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.
Looks so good!
awesome!! looks great, beautifull place, lot of work, You should be proud of yourself!
Natalia! Thanks so much! It has been a lot of work, and I’m super proud of it!
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!!!
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.
Whelp, this just replaced your bedroom as my favorite room/area you’ve done. ❤️ Very nice work.
Ha! Thanks, Cuda!
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!)
Hey Robyn, I’d be happy to share a bit regarding the costs. This is the breakdown of where the money was spent:
New Slab, $3,000
Egress Window $3,100
3 New Windows $2,000
Plumbing (Including Radiator and Bathroom) $13,400
Sheetrock (including bathroom) $6,100
Total square feet of space (including bathroom & laundry room : 600 Sq Ft
Hope that helps!
Thank you! That helps me too.
Thank you so much for this!!! Now to plan my basement :)
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.
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.
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!
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 ;)
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!
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 :(
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.
This is so cool, and very inspiring. Congrats!
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!
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 ;)
This is unbelievable. Congrats on having it done and being able to enjoy the space now!!! IT’S JUST SO GOOD!!!!!!!!
Seriously, Thanks, Amy! We have been really enjoying the space!
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.
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!
This is great! I wish we had a basement…I’d copy you, for sure. Congratulations!
Thanks, Trav! It feels good to call it done ;)
AMAZING JOB! I love all the woodsy accents – you have the perfect amount to be just enough and not overpowering.
Wow! That is an AMAZING transformation! Congratulations on all your hard work. Can you come and help me now? :))
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?
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. :)
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?
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!