Basement Renovation

About a year ago I was posting a lot about fixing up our basement laundry room. Our original plan was to finish the laundry room and then, being basement renovation experts, fix up the remaining 800 sq ft of basement. But, as with all DIY renovation projects, the laundry has taken more time and effort than originally planned/dreamed and we never became true basement renovation experts (shocking, I know). This got us thinking “Can we finish the entire basement ourselves?”  So we sat down and made a list of all the things we would change about the basement:

1. The modern high efficiency furnace is still using the original duct work for the gravity furnace that was probably here in the 1930s. That means huge air ducts (most likely wrapped in asbestos insulation), and huge cold air returns. The entire system takes up about 200 sq ft of space all together. We want to to utilize the space by consolidating the furnace and duct work into a better oriented and much smaller footprint.

2. The basement bathroom is only accessible from the family room. We want easier access to the bathroom from the basement entrance/bedroom and a bigger bathroom preferably with a sink that works and a toilet that flushes.

3. Everything else is pretty standard. An egress window for light and safety, insulated walls and new windows, carpet etc.

Our list of wants pretty much answered the question. And it was a loud NO. To get the basement we really want we need to completely redo the furnace/ducts and the bathroom. Both jobs for pros and not us.

Long story short…We found a contractor but he can’t start until February so until then I get to plan a million things out and play with SketchUp till my eyes bleed.

I drew a plan to show the changes we hope to make.

before and after basement plans

The current floor plan is on the left and the new on the right. All the new additions are in blue.

The layout will not change drastically. Mainly just the bedroom/furnace room/bathroom. . We will remove the current wall and closet that separate the bedroom from the furnace room. This will create a wide hallway that leads to the bathroom. The furnace and hot water heater will move creating more space for the new bathroom.

The new bathroom will be around 8 ft. x 8 ft. – much larger than the current 3.5 ft. x 7.5 ft. We plan on having a large vanity, 36″x48″ shower and separate area for the toilet. There will also be an entrance to the bathroom from the family room. This will be great for how we plan to use the basement, but also provides some flexibility in the basement layout. If we have kids or sell the house to a family, a wall up could be put up in the family room creating another bedroom. The bathroom could then function as a Jack and Jill between the two bedrooms.

So those are the plans as they stand. If all works out we will start in February with a timeline of around 2 months. I’m hoping to post regularly so everyone can live the ups and downs of tearing up the basement and building a much better one. And until then lots of posts about plans/finishes for the new spaces!


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