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Work Weekend - Basement Edition

First off, the title is wrong, it should be Work Weekend - Cellar Edition. Even though our lower level is concrete block we technically have a cellar because it cannot be accessed from the house. But the cellar will eventually have stairs to the dining room and will be a finished basement. For now our only access is through the back yard. The stairs are Lilliputain and carrying supplies down and debris up is challenging.
The cellar door faces the boiler and water heater.
We are amazed that this dryer vent did not cause a fire
And the previous owner had some interesting methods for plugging drain pipes.
The stairs to the dining room will go where the projector screen sits. We will build a utility room for the water heater and boiler but have not decided which side of the basement they will be on.
The other side of the basement has the bathroom and a lot of pipes that will be removed.
The pipes froze last winter and burst. The water caused a lot of mold.
We ripped out all the sheetrock and quite a bit of insulation. We are used to finding junk from previous owners while doing demo, but finding dirty magazines and sex toys in the ceiling was a bit of a shock. We threw them in the junk piles and hauled everything to the dump.
With the sheetrock, wet insulation and pipes removed we can start to get a better idea of how the finished basement will look.
Still a lot of work to do. The rest of the drain pipes have to be removed and the bathroom will be rebuilt before we work on the rest of the basement.
Finishing the basement will add 450 sq ft to the home's usable space, bringing our house to 1600 sq ft.


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Family Room Before and After

When we bought the house the basement was classified as unfinished. The previous owners had made a haphazard effort to convert some of it into living space, but the carpentry was so bad that you would have to be drunk to consider it livable. From what we have heard about the previous owners drunk was probably how the work was done. Anyway, this space at the bottom of the stairs was used as two bedrooms; one directly in front of you and the other through the door to the left. We moved the bedrooms to the far corner of the basement so they could share an egress window well and used the two bedrooms as one large media room. The tray ceiling hides the pipes for the radiant floor heat and also distracts the eye from the beam running down the middle of the room. While we needed the tray in in one spot for practical reasons running it all the way around the room created a nice visual effect. The basement stays comfortably warm from the radiant heat for the 1st floor but we also added a ga…