Basement Reno: Week 12

We’re in the home stretch of the renovation! Our contractor was here all week 12 and lots got done. Most notably the egress window! The window was cut out of the foundation, and a well dug the first week of the project. That means it has sat there for 11 weeks untouched. Most of the time covered by a too small piece of plywood. We are ecstatic to have a proper well in!

Day 64: No work, except for me painting trim until my hand is numb.

Day 65: Contractor installs steel egress well. Installs all door knobs. Installs cement board window jamb for shower window.

Installs sliding doors to utility room.

Plumber starts to install toilet and sink faucet.


Day 66: Plumber finishes installing the toilet, faucet and shower.



Contractor finishes egress window. Fills bottom of well with pea gravel. Back fills around well with dirt. Trims out window.


Egress window outside


and from the inside

Contractor tiles shower window.

Day 67: Contractor grouts shower window.

Day 68: No work.

Over the long weekend, I primed and painted all the baseboards and door trim. I’m trying to get anything that will come in contact with the carpet painted before carpet install this week.


Basement Reno: Week 11

Week 11 was the best one yet. The main contractor was here working. He works really fast and does good work. This is what I was expecting from the contractor when I hired him. I’m putting week 11 down as a win!

Day 57-58: No work

Day 59: Contractor finishes installing baseboard and door trim. Digs out egress well a foot more. Changes out egress slider window for a casement window. Trims out inside of egress window. Installs floating vanity.



Day 60: Windows jambs and window trim are installed. We chose simple craftsman trim to match the upstairs and the laundry room trim.


Day 61: Mirror and vanity light installed in bathroom. Heat register covers installed.


Plumber’s helper shows up to install bathroom fixtures. Doesn’t know that the water has to be shut off to cut pipes. Minor bathroom flood but does get shower valve and trim in. There is never a dull moment with these “plumbers”.

Day 62: We spackle nail holes in window trim. Caulk all window trim. Put second coat of paint on ceiling and touch up wall paint.

Day 63: More caulking, I’m pretty sure we will never be done caulking. Prime most of the window jambs. Paint door jambs and part of doors so hardware can be installed.


Basement Reno: Week 10

Week 10 was a mix of emotions. I’m excited and happy that things are really starting to come together but pretty frustrated. Our project was supposed to take 8-10 weeks. 10 being the absolute most. It looks like there will be at least 2-3 more weeks and I am just ready for it to be over. But on the bright side… a lot happened in week 10!

Day 51: Another window installed. Contractor’s partner starts installing door trim.

Day 52: More door trim and starts on baseboard trim.

Day 53: Baseboard trim. Electrician starts installing outlets and light fixtures.

Day 54: Contractor finishes almost all the baseboard trim and starts putting in window jambs.

Day 55: No work, but contractor’s partner does take all his tools with him and cleans up a bit.

Day 56: Electrician unexpectedly shows up on Saturday morning to finish connecting the new electrical to the box and about 4 hours later we have electricity! Not only has the basement not had any electricity, but since part of the upstairs was connected to old basement wiring we didn’t have electric in some of the upstairs for the past 8 weeks. We were pretty happy!

Not much to show in pictures for week 10, but it’s really starting to look finished down there. Also having electricity and functioning windows is amazing and wonderful! Just in case anyone didn’t know that…




An Unexpected Bathroom Update

When doing a large renovation, such as our basement, there is often extra “add-on” work. Usually something fun like redoing some flooring or something functional like adding air conditioning. It’s the classic “Well while we have the walls open…”

We had planned things out pretty intensely and were not expecting any add-on work. But when it came time to move the plumbing drains for the upstairs bathroom we discovered the old lead drain for the sink was draining into the toilet drain arm. The drain to the sink would need to be redone to meet modern code and it could not be fully accessed from the basement below. Our options were to cut a hole in our upstairs bedroom wall to access the drain from behind, or cut into the tiled wall in the upstairs bathroom and access it from the front. I chose the later because I have always wanted to put a true vanity in the bathroom instead of the over sized pedestal sink. I figured the vanity would cover the smallish hole the plumber needed to drop the old pipe down and pass a new PVC pipe up.

So I bought my 23 5/8″ wide Lillangen vanity from Ikea put ‘er together and was well on my way to floating vanity bliss. When it came time to do the plumbing, my contractor grabbed his grinder to grind out the hole. Again I’m thinking a smallish hole. He asks the size of my new vanity I say 24″. And what did he do, he went and cut a 24″ wide, 30″ tall hole in my wall.

upstairs bath

Lots of holes in the walls and the old pedestal sink

Now that there was no wall to use some toggle bolts to secure my floating vanity I decided she needed some legs. Not being a fan of the metal base Ikea sells I decided to make my own. So I grabbed the necessary tools: Miter saw, Kreg Jig, semi-willing husband, and got to work. I designed up a simple base and we got to work.

In the end we used a single select pine 2x2x8, some scrap 2×4’s, and lots of screws. Final cost being around $15. After we assembled it, I sanded it, primed it, and painted it with some BM Advance paint in Super white I had left over from the kitchen cabinets.

custom lillangen base

Then we did some major MacGyver-ing with 2×4’s, 1×4’s and shims to have a couple attachment points for the vanity to the single wall stud.

Ikea lillangen sink

The Ikea plumbing actually worked out beautifully. The faucet connections were the same as our previous Kohler faucet. And the Ikea drain system (the topic of many online horror stories) actually went together really easily with a 1 1/2″ to 1 1/4″ reducer from Ace Hardware.

Ikea lillangen sink and dalskar faucet

The cabinet and sink are only 16″ deep which makes the bathroom feel much bigger. I really love the trough sink and single handle faucet. I think the base actually makes the modern vanity blend in with the rest of the house better than having the cabinet float 5″ off the floor. Sometimes everything just works out.

Ikea lillangen

I’m hoping to add some pretty chrome pulls or knobs to the cabinet doors, but in the mean time I couldn’t be happier with our unexpected update.


Cabinet: Ikea Lillangen 2 door cabinet

Sink: Ikea Lillangen

Faucet: Ikea Dalskar

Basement Reno: Week 9

There was lots of progress last week. Bathroom tile was completed, doors were installed, and most of the new windows were installed.

Day 46: Contractor finishes laying floor tile. Grouts both shower and floor.



Day 47: No work.

I do some drywall patching in the bathroom. Then another coat of PVA primer, followed with two coats of eggshell finish paint in the same color as the rest of the basement (Martha Stewart Popcorn from HD).

Day 48: All the doors and windows are delivered! Doors are installed.

Day 49: The rest of the doors are installed. First window is installed.


Day 50: More windows installed. All the trim is delivered.

Things are really starting to take shape and there’s a rumor that we might get electrical installed and hooked up this week.