At long last, the basement rehab project kicks off tomorrow.

We have lots of room down there, but we haven’t done much to it beyond replacing the rotted-out windows since we moved here about 16 years ago. The kids had a rec-room/TV room down there. The ugly 1960s bar was repurposed as my needlework and knitting library, with books on all of its shelves. My desk was in the opposite corner of the room next to the bulkhead exit. And we used the former summer kitchen as the craft and sewing room, where projects could happen without occupation of the dining room table. However, we made do with the peeling paneling, the dampness, the loose/cracked floor tiles, scuttlebugs and the occasional mini-flood, and the precarious dropped ceiling. BUT NO MORE!

Here are the official before-pix, courtesy of The Resident Male.

And here’s the current layout and the plan, both in approximate proportion, but not dimensioned. Current on the left, plan on the right.

The utility room and the former coal cellar (now our wine room), both in black, are not going to be touched. And we are only changing the wall layout to enlarge the toilet-in-a-closet into a bona fide half bath, with a hand washing sink. The stairs will be rebuilt somewhat along with its railing.

The office/family room on the left will remain one large room, but the existing dismal bar will be ripped out and the entire area will be repurposed into an exercise area and a family room type area with a TV. The black shape that intrudes into it is the foundation for the two fireplace hearths on the first floor. That will stay. The walls in this room will be a wood-alike wainscoting to chair rail level, with wallboard above, probably in two shades of pale grey. Flooring throughout will be vinyl plank, in a darker grey. The door will also migrate a bit from its current location, just because it’s not very convenient right now.

The strange waste area behind the stairs (in green) will become an open pantry, with shelving. The freezer currently in the utility area will be moved there, too.

The craft room will lose its two non-functional sinks, and gain a working tub sink. There will still be plenty of room in there for my layout table, and for some storage units along the wall to hold my stitching and knitting supplies. The beadboard walls in here will be kept, but repainted. We’ll also lose the hideous and crumbling dropped ceiling. I’m not sure what replaces ceilings everywhere, but it will NOT be those.

Lighting will be updated throughout, as will the heat in the family room/exercise area (the craft room wasn’t heated before and I never noticed the lack). The bulkhead to the outside will be replaced. Its exterior wood hatchway is decades old, possibly as old as the house, and is thoroughly rotted out. A nice, weather/water-tight hatch would be a great benefit.

Where will my needlework library (the former tenant of the bar shelving) and my desk go? Upstairs to one of the kids’ bedrooms. A minor benefit of being an empty nester is the sheepish colonization of the former in-house territory of the now independent Client States.

I am so looking forward to having a clean, dry, and bright space to enjoy down there!

Now to await tomorrow’s delivery of the dumpster, and commencement of demolition! I will post updates as we go along. Be prepared to share our surprises. There is no such thing as updating a 110 year old house without unwelcome surprises…

6 responses

  1. How great!

    Re unwelcome surprises: my house is almost as old as yours, and now that demolition has mostly taken place for the new kitchen…well, there is still working knob & tube wiring to some fixtures. I’m looking forward to the new estimate for electrical work.

    1. When we moved in the house had nothing except knob and tube. We had the entire house rewired and certified back then. Thankfully, that’s about the only problem I can safely say we will not encounter. Sympathies, though. We had the rewiring done during the month between closing and moving. I don’t know how we might have lived through co-residence with that ongoing project!

      1. Ahaha. Yeah.

        We have relocated to a rental for the duration of our renovations. With no kitchen, no laundry room, and work taking place in both bedrooms, plus the planned plaster repair, repainting, and floor refinishing….we could not stay in the house during construction.

        Right after demolition:


  2. Looks great!
    We’re in a 150yr old home. All I can say is, Good Luck! when you find those surprises. We found a cat skeleton under the stoop when we had our front porch replaced. Left it there and had the new porch poured over it..

  3. Hurray for you! Good luck!
    We demolished our basement. So glad we did. It was tempting to just paint and redo the floor. When we took down the walls we found mystery wiring, leaks in the corners, dead rat behind the wallboard, and mold behind the fake wood paneling. No more sneaky surprises, I hope!

    The architect has drawn a plan, and now if we could just find a contractor to get through the windows and electrical….we’d be on our way.

  4. When I redid my theoretically finished basement I had styrofoam laid under the flooring. It made a huge difference in how comfortable the basement felt in the winter.
    As did insulating the walls! With the back wall exposed the temperature would be close to freezing in a bad winter.
    Have fun when you are finished.

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