Basement Makeover

As you may recall, our basement flooded in late June.  We lost a great number of possessions, the damage was pretty catastrophic, and my stress levels were elevated for several months as we dealt with the aftermath, including a lengthy renovation process.

A week after the initial flood, our basement was a shell.  Most of the walls had been ripped out, the carpeting was gone, fried electrical equipment had been disconnected, but things were dry, our insurance company paid out pretty quickly (though the funds covered a small fraction of the costs), and we had accepted that we had a long road ahead of us.  Incidentally, we had to pay a fine for not having pulled a permit giving us permission to conduct the demolition – even though the insurance company, health and safety, and common sense required that we complete the demolition on far too tight a timeline for that to have been feasible.

2019-06-28 12.57.04

Fighting through layers upon layers of red tape was a persistent, aggravating, and stressful theme of this whole restoration process.  As with so much of our contact with bureaucracy, we found that we were caught in this perpetual Catch 22 of submitting paperwork which we were then told could not be accepted and filed because it was missing some components or that more detail was required but they could not inform us as to what we needed to do to successfully amend it.  Over and over this was our experience.  Thankfully the inspectors that came to the house were always pleasant and helpful but, man, there were a lot of inspections for us to get through at various stages of the work.  This, therefore, extended the timeline for the whole project as work would have to shut down in order for us to be inspected, submit the next permit, and be given permission to proceed to the next stage of work.  It was frustrating and mentally exhausting.

2019-11-23 12.53.25

As I wrote before, we were grateful that, while our basement was finished, it was overdue for a makeover.  I think the basement had been finished in the late 1970s with a bit of remediation work done some point in the 1980s.  We, therefore, decided to focus on the silver lining of having this opportunity to really turn this useful but dark and dated space into a light and appealing living space.  Having the space reduced to its bare bones even provided us with the ability to spruce up the electrics and the airflow for heating.  We installed two egress windows so that we could turn the basement into living space, including a bedroom, and those let in a whole lot more light than the hideous windows there before.

2019-12-20 10.59.48

2019-12-20 11.53.49

2019-12-21 13.15.14

Anyway, after all of the hassle, expense, stress, and frustration, we now have two lovely rooms in the basement.  One is a teenage hangout space for our four boys (which they are especially loving during this social distancing time) and one is a bedroom that means all four of our boys can now have their own bedrooms.  Our soon-to-be 13 year old has the basement bedroom and is loving it.

2020-03-20 15.56.58

2020-03-20 15.53.56-1

2020-03-20 15.55.41

2020-03-20 15.58.48

We still have some decorating to do in the basement – pictures up on the wall and that type of thing – but that is all on hold right now because of the Covid 19 pandemic.  However, I am sure you can see from the photos how much the space has been transformed.

As a reminder, this is what the basement looked like not long after we moved into the house.

Before - Basement 5

And this is what it looks like now.

2020-03-20 15.57.15

13 thoughts on “Basement Makeover

  1. Oh my goodness Laura you have been going through a lot while lost from my post feed! (I had to unsubscribe and resubscribe to make it happen again and I’m pretty sure I remember having to do that with others a couple of years back) Anyhoo – this post made me so aware how very fortunate I have been during my remediations, also due to water, and subsequent redecorating opportunities. I love your new big basement – those egress windows are such a good idea and your son’s pleasure in his new room is obvious! It’s always worthwhile when the process is done isn’t it.

    • Any big home project is stressful, especially when it happens unexpectedly. I am sure you experienced just as much stress as I did.
      We are very pleased with the end result. It was just a long slog getting to this point. But I am also so appreciative that we have this additional space during this period of all six of us being stuck at home 24/7.

    • I am not sure what the cat was up to but non-compliance is his jam so he definitely didn’t want his photo to be taken. Yes, this entire house was very 1970s when we bought it. We have been gradually updating it – while keeping some elements – but my bedroom is the biggest monstrosity and I cannot even begin to imagine how I will drag it into the 21st Century.

  2. That is a handsome redo and very practical. I especially like how you handled the light well windows-they let in a lot of light plus it’s nice their addition makes a bedroom possible. Ahhhh comfort I say. Fantastic.

Let's chat! Leave a comment and I will reply.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.