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Cabin Fever Renovations: Basement Edition #1

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

Ready for some radical honesty? This is my basement. Yikes, right?

The basement is actually a surprisingly wonderful room! See the huge window? It lets in so much natural light, particularly in the morning. The ceilings are low, around 7 feet, but it's a good size space for a house as small-ish as ours. We use it as a multi-purpose room, obviously--it holds some workout equipment and the piano, as well as a second living room space with the video game consoles--crucial for when the kids want to have friends over (or it was, back when having friends over was a thing).

It also holds my office. There are plenty of times where it is more organized and less of a disaster than it is in this photo...but if I'm being honest, this is the norm.

When we moved in, we did a full gut renovation on the kitchen and main floor, did a bunch of work to the top floor, and left the basement almost entirely untouched, aside from painting. The paint had to happen. The whole basement was painted a royal purple that I like to think of as Limited Too circa 1996. It was...excessive.

But now that we're sitting at home staring at the house pretty much around the clock, the stir crazy cabin fever renovations have kicked in, and we're starting down here. My biggest problem with the space is the floor! In my humble opinion, tile flooring belongs in kitchens and bathrooms exclusively, unless you live somewhere absurdly hot. I do not. These floors are miserable in winter, and they need to go. We'll be installing luxury vinyl plank flooring instead, which should warm the space up considerably!

Here's the punch list:

FLOORING: We're going to install LVP, which means we have some prep work to do! This week I cleared the room, pulled off the baseboards, and cleaned and sealed the edges of the room. Hopefully today or tomorrow, we'll pour concrete leveller to deal with a few high spots in the tile and cover up the large grout lines, and then get to the LVP later this week.

LIGHTING: While the natural light in the room is excellent, the lighting plan is not so much. We have one boob light in the ceiling in the middle of the room, which is not great for such low ceilings--so we'll be installing recessed lighting, instead. Additionally, the stairwell is small and enclosed, with no light at all--so I'm trying to figure out what type of lighting works best in that space, too. Finally, the only light switch for the basement lights is at the top of the stairs, which is just silly--so we'll rectify that, as well!

WALLS: This space feels...haphazard. The ceilings are low, and basements in general are icky. I want it to feel established and grown up, rather than like a crash pad. So, we're going to put in floor-to-ceiling board and batten! I hope this will lend the room some adult credibility, as well as helping the ceilings look taller than they are.

STAIRWELL: The stairs to the basement don't match anything else in the house, but they're in good shape structurally, so I plan to paint them. The stairwell area is sectioned off from the rest of the room by an HVAC soffit, which means it's the perfect area to do something different. Basically, while I want the room to have grown-up credibility...I also don't want it to feel boring. Right now, the plan is to do some kind of mural. We'll see how that goes.

SHUFFLING SPACE: In the end, the room will still include the hangout space and the piano. My husband will be moving his office to the basement, and I'll stay in the upstairs bedroom. Ideally, the workout equipment will move to the laundry room. But we'll see how everything goes!

There are lots of moving parts to this plan, but stay tuned over the next few weeks and I'll keep you posted on how it's all going!


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