Before and after demo of the stair side of the room. There was originally a laundry room in the area where you can see the missing floor vinyl. Since we now have a ground floor laundry room, we have no need for a separate room chopping up the basement.
This was the laundry room and the space past it before demo…
And the pic above is after. As you can see, there is some seriously nasty stuff that was hiding behind the paneling. I will detail our next steps to clean everything up in a bit. There are two old windows here that were blocked up, but I would love to be able to put some back in again.
The pics above are the view across the room as you come down the stairs. The mechanical room is where we now have all our storage shelves and tubs. I had that all organized really nicely until we had to shove a bunch of extra stuff in there to get it out of the way during demo. That room will just need some new light fixtures, but is otherwise in good condition with painted concrete floors and walls. The furnace is in the center of the room, so the whole perimeter was open space we now use for our shelving units. We also had to get rid of about 30 old cans of paint left by previous owners (tip: stir in sawdust or kitty litter and you can throw them out in your regular trash!).
Last ugly pic – I promise. From this side, the stairs are to the right, and the mechanical room is to the left. We assume the windows were blocked up because they leaked. And are still leaking actually.
So, we have our work cut out for us. The demo work was necessary so we can see what we are working with as far as the electrical, ductwork and plumbing, all of which need attention. Our house is nearly 90 years old, and as you can imagine, things break, things wear out and things were installed by someone who had no idea what they were doing. We need to address all the not fun, but very important mechanicals before we can start on the finish work. We might take a whole year to do everything, but this way we can deal with it in stages if needed.
We also need to have the cracks in the walls sealed up, and insulation installed on all the exterior walls. After all of that, we can have the walls framed out and drywalled, trim hung, everything painted… etc. etc.
We have debated back and forth about what to do with the ceiling. It’s not the highest ceiling, but it’s not terribly low either. Drop ceilings are surprisingly expensive and just feel so basementy to me. Drywall would be nice, but would be labor intensive due to tons of stuff hanging below the joists. We might just end up having the whole thing sprayed white and call it good. To be determined.
So anyway, on to the fun stuff. I came up with a floor plan to maximize our potential usage of space, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I think we can do down there. Ellie has lots of Playmobil sets that I want her to have a dedicated space for. The low play table and storage cabinets on the bottom wall will be used for those. The table top will be hung low on wall brackets that we can move up in the future when the girls are older. I’m planning on putting a large cork board on the wall in the center to use for displaying the girls’ art projects.
We want to use the main portion of the room as a family room with a TV wall and comfortable seating. It should be a great place to watch movies or football games! The table behind the seating area will be perfect for playing games, doing art projects or keeping out a puzzle to work on.
Here’s the plan for the family room area. I love the idea of a built in surrounding the TV to make that wall more of a feature in a very featureless basement.
The kids’ play table will be built in storage most likely made from Ikea cabinetry and a trimmed out cork wall. I would love to paint it all color like Benjamin Moore Vintage Vogue and keep the rest of the walls a bright white.
Another discussion we have been having is what to do with the floors. Because we know water has been an issue down there, carpet just seems like a risky option. Instead, I think we will need to do something that can handle some water like vinyl. I really like some of the newer plank wood-look styles and it should be a good solution in a basement, layering with rugs as needed.
The current lighting situation is abominable (and unsafe!). We plan to use a mixture of recessed lighting and wall and ceiling fixtures to brighten things up and make it feel more usable.
I’m so excited to get things moving on this project. Ellie especially is at an age where I would love to be able to send her down to play and not worry about her leaving a trail of toys all over my living room and main floor. It will also be a nice way to keep small pieces away from the baby. Stay tuned for more updates!