Planning a Basement From Scratch

While we chip away on a full house remodel, we have a few smaller projects to tackle, too.  Just starting, creating a finished laundry room and bathroom in an unfinished basement area.

Basements in old homes can be tricky, usually requiring working around load bearing walls/posts, low hanging duct work or goofy plumbing placement.  Sometimes, all three and then some obstacles are thrown in.  In this case, we have a strangely placed furnace, water line, and water heater.

These photos are from before framing, but after plumbing had been added.  That big pipe stack had to stay in place, so we set that as the edge of the bathroom we’d be adding.


Looking from that side to the other, there was a laundry area and then shelving.


We have air ducts to work around, but we were able to move the water heater to the other side to maximize the space.



Below is the area where the washer and dryer had been set up, with a window opening into a crawl space.


After meeting with the clients and discussing their needs and taking a bunch of measurements, I put pen to paper.  Well, more specifically, I put mouse to Photoshop to mock up a floor plan to work in all of the required items.


Adding a hallway to access a future but currently unfinished bedroom space was necessary.  The jog in the hall accommodates the furnace and water heater closet. With the remaining space, we added a five foot wide by 8 foot long laundry room and a bathroom to the left.  An unfinished space that tucks under a staircase will remain unfinished, but closed off with a door.

Framing and plumbing are underway, and the laundry room is taking shape.  The appliances will go on the back wall, with custom cabinetry above that will have a false back to allow access to the crawl space when needed.


Below, the photo shows the view from the unfinished bedroom looking into the bathroom door on the left and the new hall on the right.


Directly ahead of the bathroom door, a floor to ceiling shelf stack will take up the right corner with the vanity to the left.



The shower fits in the nook between the wall and new hall, against that big pipe stack that gave us a hard finished edge.


The home owners are excited to add a second bathroom to the house and we’re excited to see it all coming along!

Grown Up Furniture

Hello friends!  It’s certainly been a while since I’ve been here.  Our business officially hit the one year mark and things have been hectic, in a really good way!  With that, my time and attention have turned elsewhere.  While renovations on our house are complete (minus a few small changes), we’re up to our eyeballs in client projects.  But, I thought I’d pop in with a fun little change we have made to our house recently.  Here’s a photo of our living room into the dining room from a year and a half ago:


And here’s the same space now:


We’re slowly upgrading our thrift store/Craigslist furniture that we’ve purchased because, well, we needed a place to sit or eat.


Now that money isn’t being directed at remodels, we’re able to make some furniture upgrades.  You’ve already seen the sofa, but the dining room has been upgraded.


The Mission/Craftsman style set that was here was a Craigslist table that fit our space and needs, but that’s kind of where the pros ended.  Wrong color and style aside, we didn’t like the bulky, high backed chairs.  Or that people always hit the arms of the two end chairs against the table.  Cleaning around the vertical pieces was a pain, and the placement of the legs and base didn’t allow much more seating than six.


Now, the sleek lines of the Seno table from Article allow seating for 8.  Four chairs easily fit on each side.


Made from solid white oak in a clear finish, the table is what I’d wanted all along.  The smooth, seamless table is easy to clean.  No more digging crumbs out from between the table leaves.



For contrast, I chose 8 metal Thonet style chairs.


These chairs are fantastic.  Slim lines, but still comfortable.  Plus they’re light weight, but still sturdy and stackable.  And affordable to boot!


It’s funny how only the table and chairs have changed, but the updates have made the other elements feel fresh and more modern.


It’s a change that I’ve wanted to make for nearly 7 years, but I’m so happy with how it has come together now.  Any furniture upgrades you’ve made recently that change the whole look and feel of your room?

Hopefully I’ll be back more regularly, maybe not with our home changes, but client remodels.  Do you want to see the progress of their spaces?


Two Bathroom Face Lifts

Much of our remodel work lately has involved bathroom remodels or additions, so why not roll with that theme?  Last fall we embarked on a whole house remodel that wrapped up in January.  I’ve already shared the freshly updated kitchen, as well as the simplified living and dining rooms, but just received the bathroom photos.  On the main floor, a hall bathroom was totally okay before we started, but not amazing.


Now, the navy cabinet adds a burst of color and the concrete looking floor tiles modernize the room.  By keeping the original tub and surround, the updates were affordable and quick.


A bathroom in the basement was a bit more wonky.  A too small vanity and half tile/half carpet in the room were strange.


Our clients wanted a refreshed space without breaking the budget.  We used the same tile as the first bathroom, white shaker cabinets, and budget large format white subway tile to give a clean, blank slate.


For a touch of warmth and to soften the hard lines, a round brass mirror does the trick.  Due to the narrower vanity before, we selected a light bar with a full back to cheat the new light over the wider vanity.


Function and beauty without costing a fortune makes everyone happy, our clients especially.

An Added Bathroom

During my unintended blog break, we were hard at work adding a bathroom to a bleak unfinished basement.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any before photos, so I created a floor plan to give a better idea of what we started with.


Above is the before layout, with exposed concrete walls.  There was an unframed opening from an office/bedroom, with a second unframed opening to a closet.  A furnace and water heater along one wall with a side by side top loading washer and dryer on the outside wall.  We measured the space to come up with a functional layout that included a shower, vanity, toilet, washer/dryer, and the furnace/water heater.

I put pen to paper to draw out options and came up with the following plan:


Keeping the furnace in the same spot, we scooted the water heater back to make room for a stacked washer and dryer.  Across the room, we have the bathroom components.  Now that you’ve seen the layouts, let’s look at the real, finished bathroom.


Taking advantage of previously recessed bump out to include adjustable shelves boosted the storage, acting as a linen closet.


A 36 inch vanity tucks neatly into the space, with a mirror and low light due to the duct work hanging above.


Without room for a standard tub/shower combo, we went with a 48 inch wide shower.


Across from the shower, the stacked washer and dryer a recessed into a door-less framed opening.


If you can imagine being in the center of the room, I turned to show the door situation.  On the left, the door hides the furnace while the other goes to the bedroom/office.


Without before photos, it’s harder to appreciate how far this bathroom has come, but picture a stud wall with sheet rock on the opposite side.  By closing off the pass through to the closet, we had room to add the vanity.


I quickly grabbed things from our home to add something (anything!) to the shelves, but the adjustable track is super handy to reconfigure the sizes to store towels, toilet paper, baskets, and anything else.


Overall, this budget bathroom came together in four weeks and added a second bath to the house.

Back to Back Bathrooms

Last week, we tore into (literally) a new whole house remodel.  The 70’s built house has good bones and a lot of potential, but hasn’t been updated since it was built.  While the rest of the house is going to see major changes, these two main floor back to back bathrooms need serious reconfiguring.  Originally, the main bathroom measured 100 inches wide by 102 inches deep, with a toilet and vanity to the right and a tub/shower and linen closet on the left.



On the other side of the wall, the master bathroom didn’t feel luxurious at a cramped 48 inches wide by 100 inches deep.


Our goal is to rob Peter to pay Paul.  We’re going to steal two feet of space from the main bathroom to add to the master.  Ahh, demo, such a glorious and beautiful time.


Before we can get into the putting it all back together phase, we first need a plan.  Two, actually, to know where the new plumbing needs to go for each bathroom.  In the main bath, we’re keeping a tub/shower, moving the toilet to the back wall, keeping the vanity to the right and adding a linen cabinet to the end.  We’ll also pocket the door to eliminate that door swing, preventing the bathroom from feeling too cramped.

Main Bathroom Floorplan

Over on the other side of the wall, the master bath will measure 6 feet wide.  This will allow us to move the toilet to the back wall, with a 60 inch wide shower and vanity to the left.  We had this configuration in our previous master bath and really liked the function of it.


As we make progress, I’ll check back in to share more of the design specifics.  I will say, I’m excited to see it all come together.