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Basement Remodel


Good morning!  I’m super excited about this post because it means we are FINALLY remodeling our basement!  Yay! 

When we bought our house 3 1/2 years ago we knew we’d want to gut and redo the basement at some point.  It is a major blast from the past – totally early 80’s!  Oranges and browns, ick!  The carpet is the original carpet they put down when they finished the basement back then.  Amazingly it’s still in pretty good condition – tough stuff (and ugly!)!!  There is a bank of cabinets along one wall with an awesome ORANGE countertop.  The bathroom is a mess, we’ve not used it at all except for the occasional potty break.  It’s just wonky and weird.  The only good things about the basement in it’s current condition are the 2 HUGE storage rooms, the storage closet under the stairs and the size of it. 

Last Fall when we found out we were pregnant we decided to move the basement reno up the list of things to do in the house so we could put 2 bedrooms down there for the big boys.  We told the boys all about it which got them very excited. Then we miscarried and the need wasn’t as big. But we decided we couldn’t disappoint the boys since they were so excited, so, full steam ahead!

The most important part of the reno is installing egress windows.  Right now there is one small window in what will be Brennan’s room.  It’s about 12x24”, definitely doesn’t meet the requirements for egress.  With it still being subarctic here we can’t start digging out the window wells and cutting the wall to install the new windows until the ground thaws, which will be April at the earliest.  In the meantime we have started the gutting process.  Fun! 

Before I get too far into that, let me show you the ugliness that was our basement.

Our basement is a big ‘L’.  This first picture looks into the short part of the ‘L’, which is the clear back of the basement and where the 2 bedrooms will be.  This wall with the big opening and window opening in it will be one solid wall, and where the long picture is all the way to the right, that will be the hallway back to the bedrooms and bathroom.



This is the awful bathroom.  It’s clean, yes, but the floor is not level, the shower is scary and not properly plumbed and the vanity is disgusting.  I was beyond excited to start ripping this faux tile sheeting off the walls!


To the left of this picture is the short side of the ‘L’, so you are now looking at the long part of the ‘L’.  This is the living room area.  The two doors go to the furnace/storage room and the closet under the stairs.  To the right you can see the cabinets and orange countertop.  This room is staying as is until next year – we are trying to spread the cost of the project out a bit.  The priority this spring is the bedrooms, hallway and bathroom.


This is looking back at the last picture.  Notice the lovely parquet linoleum floor!  See right next to the stairs the slide? The boys love that!  A little bummed that will go when we redo the stairs but really, it’s just taking up space. 


So, you can see it’s an ugly mess.  I have not had any way to really organize the toys down there, it’s just a cluster you-know-what.  I hate that about the basement!  And when they ‘finished’ the basement they didn’t put any 2x4’s, insulation and drywall on the poured foundation walls so it’s pretty chilly down there.  I’m really excited for it to be a more livable part of our house.

Tuesday night we went down there and started going to town.  The boys had so much fun ripping into things! So did Andy and I!  To start, Andy pulled down all the ceiling tiles in the bedroom area.  (Remember, that’s all we’re working on for now.)  The boys stacked them up for him.  After that we started pulling the trim off around the doors, then pulled the closet doors off.  Andy pulled the drop ceiling grid down, too. 


Wednesday night we worked on pulling the wall board and drywall off.  We got down to the studs for the most part which is really exciting.  We have quite the mess!  Once the GIANT dumpster shows up (hopefully today!) we’ll start hauling the junk upstairs so we can rip the carpet and linoleum up.  That’s going to be a job, we’re all going to be sore from going up and down the stairs so much to get the junk out of there!  We will finish gutting the bathroom once the dumpster arrives. When that’s done we’ll pretty much be down to the barebones and will be able to start laying out the hallway, bedrooms and bathroom. 


We are going to do as much as we can without the new windows put in.  If I remember right we can pretty much have everything but the outside wall framed up.  With all of that framing done we can get the electrician in here to get things mostly wired.  We’ll also get the shower installed. It needs to be at least sitting in the bathroom before we frame that up. 

Yesterday we went to the hardware store and started picking finishes out.  Nothing cemented in place, just getting ideas and trying to agree on things like tile and doors.  It was a lot of fun!  Paying for it will not be!  Getting this project going has been so much fun, hopefully we don’t get burned out on it and can keep the momentum going!  Since demo is almost done we’ll soon be moving on to another phase which will keep things exciting.  The boys have had so much fun with this and want to be involved and helping in every aspect, which is great! This is how they learn how things work.  I just hope they don’t get burned out, either.  After we got the old closets taken apart, which is where the new hallway goes, they were pretending they were walking down the hallway into their new rooms.  Fun and exciting!!!  I remember doing that when my parent’s built our house.  They’ll be even more excited when the walls are framed and they can really see what their new space will be like! 

Spring, hurry up and get here so we can cut those massive holes in our foundation and get the windows in!


  1. Remodels are always exciting :) Happy for you guys!
    I don't have any windows to put in, but I still agree that Springs needs to hurry up lol

  2. Oh I'm jealous! Some day I hope to have a basement that doesn't get wet every time it rains (thankfully ours isn't finished). I can't wait to see updates!

  3. YAY for basement renos! Have you been watching a TON of HGTV for ideas? (Scott and I are obsessed with so many shows on that channel right now.)
    How fun that the boys were able to get in on the demo! I cannot wait to see your progress and finished result.
    Just chalk a basement (and even a reno) up to reason 1,683,954 why we can't wait to get back home. Basements simply do not exists in California!

  4. Oh this looks exciting, and I want to know what they were thinking putting linoleum on the walls?!?! For real!?

  5. This is so exciting! It is a really nice, big space! Are you sure you don't want to keep the Orange counter tops? ;) They have a lot of character!

  6. I cannot wait to see your basement remodel! I would love to remodel ours!

  7. It's really nice to see you all helping one another to finish that basement renovation. While your basement looks good already, I’m sure all of those plans that you have in mind will make it look even better. I hope that it is now finished and that you achieved all of your plans for it. I'm sure the kids will love it. Have a nice day! :-)

    Gregg Hogan @ American Basement Solutions