Monday, 18 January 2016

Our Basement Renovation - In The Beginning

Over the past 15 months Brad and I have worked our butts off to renovate our basement. Okay, truth be told, Brad did 85% of the work (because he be handy!!) with me backing him up on many of the jobs including design, painting, digging a trench, furniture buying and insulating against sound.  Oh ya, I said digging a trench!  I got my reno on! Look out Joanna Gaines, there's a new home reno gal in town!

This was a HUGE endeavor and probably much bigger than we had anticipated but it's all been worth it because, so far, it has come out exactly how we wanted it.  We are in the home stretch!! Over the next little while, amongst my book reviews and recipe posts, I'll be showing you the progress of our basement.  We went from the bare 'what the builder left us with' bones to a beautiful space that we now use on a daily basis.  

Currently we are about 90% done the entire process.  The only things left are the trim (baseboards, window and door frames), doors to be hung (including a set of 5-panel barn doors), adding stone veneer on our fireplace and buying some extra pieces of furniture and sundries to decorate.  This is not our first rodeo so we opted to spend more and get trades to do some of the work.  They know their craft so much better than us and I'll indicate when we've taken on projects.  There will be at least one DIY project post too.

As two self-proclaimed control freaks this renovation experience is a big thing for us to tackle.  We've done small renovations in our current house and our previous two houses in the past (a bathroom here, a new kitchen there, painting up the wazoo, new flooring etc) but never an entire floor of a house.  We were entering uncharted territory but we had a vision, we made plans and were able to bring it to fruition.  And we still love each other. That's no small feat.

In the Beginning ...  Back in November 2014, we started the renovation with our bare bones basement.  All we had was what the builder left us with - insulated walls and a lot of concrete floor.  We built our house in 2008 and until recently only used our basement as a place for the boys to play video games, as a make shift den for Brad, to house our extra fridge and deep freezer and, well ... crap.  Lots of junk that we hung onto. I'm letting you see some of my crazy so don't judge.  

And don't be jealous about our collection of mismatched couches. They've gone to a better place ... poor students who can't afford to care don't care that the couch we inherited from family members has brown 70's flowers all over it.

The Plan The living space in the basement is about 800 square feet so it was a big space to tackle.  Big space = big bucks so we wanted to make sure we had a plan.  I'm a visual person who has to see plans to truly understand how things will be laid out.  Luckily Brad knows AutoCad well.  He measured out our basement and "Cadded it".  This way we knew all of our dimensions and we could see exactly how furniture, cabinetry etc would fit into the space.  Call us geeks, I don't care. This system worked really well for us.

As you can see Brad and I wanted a lot of storage.  No one walks into a house and says 'This house has too much storage'.  No one.  Ever. So we opted to give our den two double closets as well as add storage to Brad's Shop/Utility Room for extra dry food storage (I love to buy in bulk when things are on sale).  This is over and above all the storage at the bar and the massive entertainment unit in the media area.  Ya, we love storage.

The first big project was to move plumbing for the powder room we would be installing.  When we were building our house we figured it would go in the far corner (at the far end where the wet bar is now).  After rethinking the layout we decided to move it across the room.  In TV Land these moves seem easy.  Dream boat Canadian TV home renovators extraordinaire Bryan Baeumler and Scott McGillivray seem to move bathrooms every other episode and in less than 60 minutes so how hard could it be?

O.M.G.  It was a lot of work.  We even got our kids working (and paid them well due to the extremely physical work).  We rented a jackhammer and moved the plumbing 22 feet. Yes, we dug a TWENTY-TWO FOOT concrete trench and then carted the rubble up the stairs and into a trailer on the driveway.  That stuff is freaking heavy!  

Then Brad put down the plumbing pipe into the trench, we poured the gravel over top and then he and I mixed, poured and smoothed 19 bags of concrete (we had a local plumber check things over too). Nothing says 'I love you' than spending a weekend mucking around with concrete.  Needless to say it was a lot of work and I never want to do that again.

This is where our basement renovation stood at the end of November 2014.  Yup, this was a loooong process but I look forward to detailing it out for you.  As I said we are currently about 90% done and most eager to finally have the basement completed.

Stay tuned for more updates!  

Next up: "Will I Ever Get All of This Drywall Dust Out of my House?" and "Honey, which of these 2,000 shades of Greige paint to you like the best?"


Janine K said...

Laurie, it will be like watching My Dream Home or Love it or List it!! Good luck with your renos, as hard as it has is, you get that real feeling of satisfaction when it's done. Tip: make sure you have the slow cooker on in the morning with dinner ready for when you are finished a hard days work, then your dinner is ready for you after having a shower and getting changed into the PJ's!! Comfort food is the order of the day. Will there be bookshelves in your plan too? Cheers from Melbourne, I will watch with interest ����

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks Janine. It'll be fun going through the pictures again without reliving all the work. I have to admit that we ate a fair bit of delivery pizza on those busy reno days. We have a great pizza place in town but after awhile even the kids were tired of 'zza.

As for bookshelves? Oh yes, there will be loads! I have six feet of bookshelves and cabinets on both sides of the tv/fireplace. They already have loads of books on them. I've had to weed out (and donate) quite a few books so far because I keep getting books from publishers. Bookshelves were a must for our basement plan. :)

Geraldine said...

Looks like a lot of work, but probably will be worth it, when all is completed.

Stopping in via, love your blog.

I am also a Top Reviewer over there (#272) as of this morning.

I also host a review blog, hope you'll stop by too.

Happy Thursday, Geraldine

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hi Geraldine,
Always nice to meet another top reviewer (I had to check my stats but I'm #122 now on Wow, you do a lot of product reviews on your blog! I've done a few in between my regular book reviews/recipes etc. They are fun to do if you can find the right product. Daily I get requests but often they're just not something I'd want to review. :)

Traci Romero said...

Now you've whetted our appetites, we can't wait to see the finished version of your basement. When you said 'basement', I imagined something really grotty, but actually I was pleasant;y surprised by your photos of The Den before you started work. I hope all your hard graft pays off and don't forget to post those final photos!

Traci Romero @ Harris Plumbing

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks, Traci! Our house is only 7 1/2 years old so it's not a typical old, dark basement. It has nice ceiling height, loads of room and we planned it all out with our builder to give us huge windows to let in natural light.

I love being able to share our progress on the basement. It's been a long haul but it will be worth it. Already we're using the basement daily and love the fact that we have another spot in the house to hang out with each other (or alone!). I'll be posting my next blog post on the basement flooring probably next week. I love the flooring we picked!

Wilfred Andrews said...

Your basement planning system was the way I would do it. AutoCad is the way to go with any type of project. I'm glad that you gave the couches to students. Sometimes it can be hard to decorate on a student budget but the couches you don't want could come in handy to someone who doesn't have the budget that you do.

Wilfred Andrews @ LB Plumbing and Heating

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