A Little Background:
Neither of us grew up having a basement at all. In fact, before we moved here, I don't believe I'd ever even stepped foot in more than 5 in my life, so the feeling of necessity to have one myself was just not there. Take it or leave it was our mentality. However, when buying a house in the Midwest, you're pretty much required to take it, as nearly all come fitted with one.
During our inspection, we were suspicious that there were moisture issues in the basement and had numerous contractors perform various tests. They eventually found a small leak in the basement shower, patched it, and wiped their hands clean. Only, there was a lot more to be found than that. About a year into living here, Ray pulled up the carpet in the corner and confirmed moisture. The demolition started right then as the cause of the moisture was shocking. Inside one of the two closets was a window opening that was boarded up with plywood and layers of drywall, but no actual window to keep moisture out. Yeah. We live in Chicago. Where the winters are brutal and water can obviously come right in. We had no idea the window well existed because we had two already (standard) and the third was covered from the outside with heavy foliage. In order to rid ourselves of the gross, Ray tore out all of the external walls, installed a window where it belonged, removed insulation, and pretty much took the basement down to concrete walls again. Our finished basement we paid $20,000 more for was now essentially unfinished again-- except for the bathroom & bedroom which were spared.
Remediation for moisture, lots of heavy cleaning, sealing of cracks, plumbing, concrete work and all kinds of professional help went down before the actual remodel part began. Demolition also consisted of removing the carpet from the entire basement (minus stairs), removing drywall, removing base moulding, cutting into other interior walls to ensure moisture wasn't an issue there, removing ceiling tiles and removing the existing bar and free-cycling it. No photos were taken of the basement before any demolition began (dang!), but I tried to take some photos during the early stages of demolition to have compare/contrast.
|I forgot another box. We added a radon system to our home (hello another $1,000).|
This is the most depressing part of the job, because it's a lot of work, a lot of hauling, and you're not even at the break-even point yet. Also, you're literally throwing money down the drain by destroying old walls, floors, etc.
Now let's get on to the good stuff. Here's where I attempt to be cool like those design bloggers out there. Except it's a basement. Basements have crappy natural lighting... so yeah.
Doorway entering the main level of our house. New lamp, fire alarm, dark lightswitch covers & paint. All lightswitches were changed in the basement.
Up close and personal with that lamp change. 1978 called and wanted their lamp back. We happily obliged.
Base of the stairwell looking into the hallway where the bedroom and bathroom are. Added a rug here (from Target), epoxy flooring & paint. That ceiling lamp is also our change, though we did that eons ago.
Looking up the stairs from the bottom. We didn't replace the carpet. The entire basement had the same carpet before we tore it all out. From here on out, the paint color changes. Two coats of primer and two coats of paint throughout our 1,300+ square foot basement done by just the two of us. After Benjamin went down to bed for the night. Like woah. I'm tired just remembering those nights.
Halfway down the stairs. New floors, paint, rug.
From the very top of the stairs going down from the main level of the house. New paint.
Closets are clean and painted. We'll figure out shelving eventually, but we don't really need the space now, so we're not stressing it. It's odd to have a window in a closet, but whatever. Short of boarding it up (properly), we didn't have a choice. The closets are already framed and we are fine leaving it that way.
Staring at the beginning of the main basement area. Closets to the left. Table & chairs were Ray's cousin's table and chairs given to us for Benjamin from his Aunt Ceil. Our setup for Wii and our workout station (picture yoga mats laid out on the ground) & pictures hung on the walls.
All of those walls were hung and mudded by Ray and a really fantastic guy that works for his company. Ray worked alongside him as an apprentice for much of the basement refinishing. Those two put in some long hours.The art is shown in more detail below, but it's Many Glacier at Glacier National Park-- our favorite of all the parks. We have dreams of staying at that lodge someday. We have this one from the same national park hanging in our Foyer.
Wood paneling is gone, new drywall, a new coat of paint, and a picture on the wall. Oh, and ping pong obviously. That table came with the house when we purchased it. That is one very heavy table.
New moisture resistant ceiling tiles and a few new lines of drop ceiling framing because we ditched some of the pieces accidentally during the beginning demolition.
A different view from behind the pool table looking toward the entrance to the main basement area and that rug from Target again.
Here's that picture up closer and pulled forward to reveal the breaker box. A few more pieces of art on the wall from Ray's bachelor pad days.
This is the utility room. Nothing fancy, but we did clean it up a bit. It's nice that everything finally has a place.a contractor to lay polymer flooring. It was a 3-step process and we had plans to leave for the weekend just hours after they finished the job. It needed to cure for a week or so and it was perfect timing. We're glad we had other plans because our house smelled horrible from the fumes! Not exactly something you want your small child breathing in. Fumes are gone now and it's super clean and safe. Hooray!
We love it. We're not big fans of carpet in basements (it is underground after all) and considering the cost of flooring, this will last us a lifetime and we'll never have to replace it. It looks nice and it's extremely durable. We chose a color that resembled leather. It goes on shiny and they add a layer of matting to take away the sheen. The top picture shows where they poured a base epoxy and sanded/polished it down before adding the layer of brown. The guys had to wear special shoes to walk on it during the process.
Video of them laying the layer of brown epoxy down on day 2.
We didn't change much in the bathroom. It was already finished and the paint is the same as the original basement color. We changed out the showerhead because it was broken, hung a picture and added bath rugs. We have plans to change that mirror, but that's super low on the priority list. It may be dated, but it's functional.Ikea and bedding is Woolrich.
I need a nap. Holy details. What a blog post.