With basement demo completely out of our way, we’ve spent the remainder of holiday break cleaning and rebuilding. None of the exterior walls had insulation, so we’ve added a layer of 2 inch rigid foam, then built new 2 by 4 walls to run wiring through. Before sheet rock, we’ll add fiberglass batting.
Along with new exterior walls, we’ve made a few changes to the floor plan. To give an idea of where everything was, as well as our plans, here’s a set of handy-dandy floor plans. Let’s start with the before:
And here are the changes we’ve started and are planning to tackle.
Some things are staying the same/very similar, while we’re making some other major changes, so how about a rundown of plans? Okay, here we go:
- The door to the garage (which is to the right of these plans) is at the base of the stairs, which can make things crowded at times. More often than not, we enter and exit through the garage, so getting organization and order in this space is crucial. Having a door to the under stair storage open into the hallway wasn’t the best use of space and further clogged a main artery. Instead of accessing the under stair area from the hall, we’re creating what I’m calling a ‘mud nook.’ It’ll have a bench with shoe storage below and hooks above for a great drop zone that will keep the mess of life tucked aside. Here’s the current view with my back to the garage door; mud nook on the left (where the bins of junk are) and the soon to be bedroom door straight ahead.
Again, a shot of the future storage space, with a glimpse of the stairs to the left. The opening of the nook is just under six and a half feet wide by 18 inches deep, so it’s a generous size for backpacks, winter gear, and shoe storage. I measured over and over, considering taking it back a little deeper, but because this is tucked partly under the stairs, the deeper the bench, the shorter the ceilings get. This seemed to be the sweet spot, and we just may have room for a shelf at the top, but we’ll see how everything feels when we get sheet rock up.
2. We’re dividing the large front room into two different spaces. The smaller will become a bedroom, possibly for one of the boys when they’re old enough to want separate rooms. Until then, we’ll use it as another guest space. After debating the pros and cons of door placement, we agreed to keep the door at the end of the shorter hall, but pivot it to make a 90 degree corner. Rotating it around to enter from the other hall stretch would have given a little more privacy, but wasn’t worth the effort to make it work in the load bearing wall.
3. Along the stair wall, we’ve added a deep closet with access to the under stair storage through the back. Under the stairs, the plan is to finish it off with walls, carpet, and lights to create a cozy little play area that we can use for storage when the boys are too big/old to care about it.
4. In smaller changes, we’re shifting the laundry door over about 18 inches and eliminating the door swing by putting in a pocket door.
Before, the door was 24 inches from the left, where the deeper washer/dryer sit, while the shallower cabinet side had 54 inches between the wall and door. With the machines toward the back of the room, the units never stuck out per se, but it always felt off centered. Basically, we’re swapping the proportions by moving the door and centering the door on the space open space between the appliances and cabinetry for better flow. Here’s the start of the process, with the wider door framed and ready for pocket door install:
It’s a heck of a lot easier to move the door than the plumbing and electrical. Stacking the washer and dryer will make space for our bulk storage in the upright freezer, which will sit where our dryer once did. I know, it’s an unconventional placement, but there really isn’t a better place for it, upstairs or down. And if we ever decide to do away with the freezer, we can unstack the washer and dryer with room to spare. We’ll still have a wall of cabinets on the other side, but the cabinets will be counter height for a folding station as well as an open ‘desk’ spot for Ben to work on his reloading.
While tearing apart the laundry room, we found something interesting. At some point, there was a small fire in here. Everything has been fixed, including two replaced joists.
That cleared up our questions about why one joist bay in the future bedroom was darker, it’s smoke discoloration.
5. With the freezer relocated to the laundry room, we’ll have space to install heavy-duty shelves in the unfinished utility/mechanical room for tools/paint cans/messy storage items.
6. We’ve already opened up the end of the hall to create a door to enter the theater room. Due to the lowered ceilings, we’re still trying to figure out if we can put a pocket door in here as well. It might shorten the opening too much, but we’re hoping to make it work. Oh, and the box on the left is my test for sconce placement thanks to a lack of overhead lighting options where the duct runs.
7. Once we’ve finished, the theater room can technically be considered a fifth bedroom because we’re adding an oversized closet at the back. Directly left of the window (this was the end of the house before the pool house addition) is the start of our closet wall. The window leads into an unfinished crawl space, so we do need to keep access to that, but it’ll be hidden inside the closet.
8. Another fun demo discovery! The shower drain isn’t actually a to code shower drain, just a floor drain. Luckily, we planned to widen the shower, which required moving the drain, so replacing it isn’t an added task.
The remaining fixtures will stay where they were.
So that’s the basic overview of what we’ve done and where we’re headed with this basement. As usual, the renovation saga will continue and I’ll share more details as we make progress, including the exciting parts that come after sheet rock has been finished.