Monday, January 20, 2014

Basement Renovation - Stage One

Last March, after contemplating long and hard about whether we really wanted to do all the work or not, Chad & I decided to redo our basement.  We had been thinking about it and talking about it - trying to decide if it was worth it or not.  We'd spent basically the entire last year and a half working on our outdoor spaces (which I promise I will get around to writing about one day) and that had taken so much time and effort, we weren't sure we wanted to jump into something else right away.  But finally one evening, we just spontaneously started pulling off paneling.  And from then it, it was an official project.

It was dark, dingy, and outdated down there - horrible yellow stained wood paneling and textured fabric-like wallpaper! When Chad re-did the rest of the house, he went ahead and removed the thin carpeting that was glued right onto the concrete and traded it for tile so that it would be easier to wash it up when it got dirty from coming in from outside.  He also painted the doors a shade of white, and put up the stone that is behind the pellet stove and at the bottom of the stairs.  Other than those changes, though, it was the same basement the previous owner left behind. 

We never used that space for anything more than storage and a place to do laundry.  It's a good portion of the square footage of our house, and it was wasted.  Plus I was so excited to get to finally put my own touch in a major way on our house.  (Chad bought and remodeled the house before we were engaged, so I didn't get to be very involved in the process).

Here's how it looked when we started (though, since my camera corrects for poor lighting these pictures don't accurately show just how dark and dingy it really was):

So, after dealing with it for some time, the spontaneous removal of the paneling started one random evening after work (as is evident by the fact that we were already in our PJs!):

While Chad ripped off the baseboard and paneling, I pulled off the wallpaper.  (I should mention that both the paneling and the wallpaper came off, for the most part, extremely easily... much more easily that it should have.  The previous homeowner had not done a great job of putting either of them up, but that was great for us since it meant less effort to get it down.)

I finished the "demo" part of this project the next day, while Chad was a work, and then I worked on scraping the rest of the wallpaper off in the couple of places that it did want to stick to the wall.  Here's all that paneling and most of the wallpaper, finally off the walls (YAY!):

You can see where the paneling was removed, that the dry wall joints were never taped under it.  So Chad and I started to do this ourselves so that we could paint the walls.  We ended up getting some help with this from a professional because the walls were not smooth at all and there were so many places that needed patching. We were really glad we did! The contractor told us that most of the joints the homeowner had done before us hadn't been done properly and it took a lot of effort to get it finished smoothly.  We were really impressed with how nice and professional it looked when he was done.  And we felt that it was a good investment since we knew that due to our lack of experience, we could have never made it look even remotely as nice as he did because of the shape it had been in!

We also really wanted to move the door to the closet below to the other side of the wall because we knew that it would make the space much more usable that way.  So with some help from Chad's dad, we got it removed very carefully, so we could reuse the door jam and the door again in the new doorway.

And Chad worked on cutting out a spot for it on the other side of the wall.

Then Chad started framing for the door to go back up in its new place, and also framing in the wall where they took the door out so they could drywall it again, (again some help from his dad was so great!)

Here is the new and improved closet, with the door in the new place and the old doorway ready for drywall:

And then once the drywall got put up:

WOO! I was so excited to see these changes. It was already looking so much better!  And we accomplished all this in about 2 weeks!! But it was about to get a lot more intensive for me since I was the one who was going to do all the painting! For the sake of keeping this from being a massively long post, I'll do another one soon to show how painting transformed our basement (Which is now posted!! You can view it by clicking HERE)! :) Hope this encourages you to take on whatever project you've been eyeing up in your house! ;)


  1. Still have lots of work to be done, right? Having a spacious basement is a great advantage since you can come up with various interior designs for the place. I'll be waiting for the progress of this project, guys! Keep us updated! :)

    Abel Holmes @ DemandRestoration

  2. I love to see the detailed transformation! :) It's such a beautiful space now, it's hard to imagine it looking like this before!! <3


Have something to say? :)