It’s Demolition Day!

We have two big projects remaining on the to do list: gut and remodel the basement and pool house.  With all of our big construction materials currently stored in the warehou-I mean-pool house, we’ve decided to start work on the basement, saving the pool house for last.

Here are pictures from closing day:


Along the front, there’s a long room that makes an L shape around the corner:


Looking back toward the entry from that same point, there’s a set of four-foot wide French doors.  The painted door on the left side went into a 2 foot by three-foot closet that was added after the basement was finished.


The bathroom boasts a lovely mustard yellow suite of fixtures, and previously had carpeted floors.  Literally right after getting the keys, we drove here and ripped out the pet stained carpet and have lived with Flor tiles to cover since then.  It’s been gross.


Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of the hall, but the door on the right goes into the laundry room, with the bathroom the next door down.  The same carpet extended from the bathroom through the hall and laundry room, hence the glue on concrete floors.  Did I mention gross?


Oh, please note the mirror at the end of the hall, too.  Rather than finishing the walls to the small closet they added, the previous owner ‘patched’ the wall with a large mirror.  Basically, the perfect way to scare the crap out of people who don’t know there’s a mirror there.

Over the weekend, we decided to get going on the project, starting with demo!  Demo day is always exciting, because it’s the first step of a renovation.  Ben took the first whack, pulling the double layer of sheet rock off the concrete foundation wall.


I know basements are typically colder, and that’s expected when this is all that finishes the walls.  No insulation = cold!


At least the upper section of the outer wall had fiberglass batting.


After tearing apart the concrete wall coverings, we moved on to the small closet at the end of the hall.


With low ceilings (thanks to duct work above) and no windows (or the option of adding any down the road), this hall was always suuuper dark.  That lone sconce didn’t help much, but punching a hole at the end lets in so much natural light and will also be the entrance to the future theater space.


Ripping out sheet rock is messy, but fun because it’s easy to break through and gives plenty of opportunities for ‘Heeeere’s Johnny!’ moments.  Cleaning up, not as fun.  We hauled big pieces directly to the truck and loaded up garbage cans with smaller pieces as we went.  You know what they say, “Keep your friends close and your garbage cans closer” or something like that.


However, a wall full of dead mice puts a slight damper on the fun.  The wall seen above and below is load bearing, but I’ve dubbed it the mouse wall because there were no fewer than 20 in that space alone.  As Ron White would say, “Things that make you go bleeahhh.”  Here’s to hoping the little varmint won’t be able to get in once we’re done.


It was right around this point that we started making up lyrics for demolition songs.  To the tune of For the First Time in Forever from Frozen, here’s our winner:

That wall is now open, so’s that door!  We don’t have sheet rock in here anymore.  So now we have a thousand nails to puuuuull.


(Brief intermission: speaking of pulling nails, here’s a quick tip.  Use a long-handled pry bar to remove sheet rock nails from the ceiling without shuffling a ladder around.  Okay, continue singing.)

For years I’ve hated these ugly halls. Who wants a basement with cold, dark walls?  Finally we’re heating up this plaaaace.

We’ve found actual real dead mouse bones.  Which isn’t totally strange.  At least that’s an easy thing to chaaange.

‘Cause for the first time in forever,  We’ll have bedrooms, we’ll have floors.  For the first time in forever, We won’t freeze our feet anymooore.

Don’t know if I’m exhausted or hungry, But I’m somewhere in that zone.  ‘Cause for the first time in forever, This basement will feel like home.

I can’t wait to get everything done! (gasp!)  What happens…when we get it all done?

Today imagine a finished hall, Complete with slate floors and finished walls.  The perfect spruce up for this tiny space.

Ooh! A functional mud nook over there, With a wall of hooks for all our gear.  A way to organize this side entry plaaaace.

But we’ll clean and scrape all evening.  Until it’s all packed in the car.  After more of the same we’ve done so faaarrr.

For the first time in forever, There’ll be movies, there’ll be sun.  For the first time in forever, We’ll use the basement for some fuuun.

And I know it’s totally crazy, To dream of hanging pants.  But for the first time in forever, At least we’ll have the chance.

I’m sure that Weird Al-esque ditty will be a chart topper in no time.  In the picture below, my back is to the garage entrance, the door on the left goes into the unfinished under stair storage.


Did you catch the mud nook reference in my song?  Well, we’re going to do a little reconfiguring, stealing 18 inches or so of space from the stair storage to create a recessed area complete with a bench, shoe storage and hooks.


I’m absolutely giddy over this addition because as it is, the stairs come down right next to the garage door.  When we come in, shoes (and backpacks, jackets, snow pants, and other junk) get piled up, creating an obstacle course just to get in and out or down to do a load of laundry.

I’ll draw up a legit plan, until then, to get a better idea of the layout, feast your eyes on my scrap trim mock-up.


Along the long stair section, we’ll create a bedroom closet with access to the under stair section through it.


This is another little thing that I’m stupidly excited about, because we’re going to finish the walls, add carpet, and a few lights.  Do you see where I’m headed with this?  While our boys are still young, I think they’ll love that area as a hidden play space.  Once they’re older, we can use it for storage again.

Now that the ceiling and walls are open, we also have access to the upstairs railing posts that are bolted in place to joists.


Before we put sheet rock back in, we’ll be able to replace the orange oak spindles and railing.


Even though the basement is looking even worse, we’re both excited to start putting everything back together.


Of course, no remodel is complete without small challenges to deal with, like ducts running over the hall, making overhead lights impossible to add.


Soon, we’ll demo the bathroom and laundry, too.  Until then, I’m measuring, drawing up plans, and searching for finishes.  At least we know how we’ll spend our holiday vacation, much the same way we did last year while we gutted the kitchen.  Consider us the captains of the cool kids.  Enjoy your holidays and have a safe and happy New Year!

7 thoughts on “It’s Demolition Day!

    1. Hi Trina!

      I’m sorry for such a delayed response, but yes, we’re stuck with sconces. However, depending on your ceiling height and duct placement, there are LED light kits that fit in a standard J box. We’re planning to use those in a few other tight areas, so it might be worth looking into for you. 🙂


  1. Wow, the potential for all this is SO exciting! So this will turn into another bedroom and a theater room? I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

    How high are the ceilings in the hall with the duct work? Since the left wall is load bearing, does that mean no openings can be made in it at all? Like even a transom-like window along the top to let some of the natural light in? (I have no clue about building or design in case you can’t tell! 😉

    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and your family! Thanks for sharing you’re home-making experience with us!

    1. Hi MEL!

      Yep, we’re splitting the big space to get more funcion out of it.

      The hall ceilings are around 80 inches, so there’s not much room to add anything. Thanks so much for following along with us! It’s fn to share and possibly encourage others.


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