Basement Renovation: The BeforeThis Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy
It’s time for a new project at Bayberry House! Welcome to the introduction of my basement renovation project!
There are some things you just don’t want to put on the internet. (My basement is one of those things.) Even so, my friend, I have to start somewhere. Things have to get (or in this case be) worse before they can be better.
It’s somewhat hard to believe that I purchased my current home over three years ago. Where has the time gone? During these three years, I have done quite a few large projects including a complete kitchen renovation, updated cabinetry in my entryway and living room, a new roof, a bedroom makeover, tons of landscaping, and so much more.
Well, it’s time to get started with another project: my basement.
I’ve wanted to refresh this space for quite some time; however, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted its purpose to be. Over the past year, I’ve gotten more into my art practice and so I’ve decided to turn this space into an art studio. Woot! Woot! At least, that’s what its main function will be. It will also double as needed storage and my laundry room.
The space is roughly 450+ square feet. It’s mostly been used as a dumping ground for stuff, so I can’t wait to turn it into a functional and beautiful space.
This renovation is on no set timeline. In fact, I assume it will take several months to get it functional and even more time to get it where I want it to be. I’m hoping that I’ll have a somewhat functioning space before the end of the year with the assumption that even more work will happen after that.
As much as I don’t want you to see my basement, I am going to give you a tour. Here we go.
Basement Renovation: The Before
I enter the space from my garage. My laundry room is on the right and the rest of the space is straight ahead and around the corner.
(Later in this post I’m going to go deeper into all the challenges and problems of this space. For now, I just want to show you what I’m working with.)
For the most part, all of the furnishings in this space will go (including the big black refrigerator).
The above image is looking back into the entryway area. (The laundry room would be on the left behind the wall with the handrail.)
The laundry room is rough but loaded with potential.
Beyond the laundry room is a set of stairs that lead up to my kitchen. Underneath the stairs is where I keep my litter boxes. You access them through a door in the laundry room.
Past the stairs is a large bar/peninsula which will be removed to make way for better storage and a studio sink. The furnace and hot water tank are in the small room behind the bar.
As you keep moving into the space, you’ll get to the largest open area of the room. This area has a brick fireplace, two large windows, a door to the backyard, and yes, …a lot more paneling. I plan to take advantage of all the space and this is where the bulk of my art studio will live.
And that completes our tour.
Now that you’ve seen what the space looks like, let me walk you through the challenges and my planned solutions.
BASEMENT RENOVATION: THE CHALLENGES
Thanks to social media, the folks that first lived in this home connected with me and gave me a little insight into the house. One of the things they mentioned is that when the house was built, the builder made a mistake and missed a layer of cinderblock making the ceilings in the basement really low. I’m 6’1″ and the ceilings are barely 6’2″. Also, the ceiling isn’t flat or a consistent height throughout either as there are plumbing and ductwork running everywhere. This makes for a really “unique” ceiling. For practical purposes, this is one challenge that I won’t be changing. I am just going to live with low/wonky ceilings.
Both the natural lighting and the overhead lighting are dismal. Since this is a basement, it doesn’t get a ton of natural light. Fortunately, it does get some and I want to capitalize on this thus bringing in all the natural light that I can. I also need to replace the existing lighting and have some new recessed lighting installed.
While 1960s wood paneling is kind of making a weird comeback, the retro style is just not something I love. In this case, it makes the whole space feel dated, dark, and dirty. It’s also lacking a sense of personality, especially if I want to use this as a creative space.
Dirty and Dilapidated:
Generally speaking, the whole basement hits me as dirty and dilapidated. There are sections of the paneling that need replacing due to moisture and water damage. There are lots of holes and bad patching from 60+ years of repairs and maintenance.
While there are lots of nooks and crannies for storage, everything is on display. Hidden storage, intentional storage, and more organization are a must.
BASEMENT RENOVATION: THE SOLUTIONS
Installing New Floors:
The current floors just need to be replaced. Many of the tiles are bubbled and they still feel/look dirty no matter how much I clean them. And to be honest, I’m just craving an updated look. I have a really fun plan for the floors that I can’t wait to share with you!
The basement needs all the help it can get to be brighter and less cave-like. All of the paneling, walls, and ceiling will be painted white and the trim will be painted a mushroom/putty color (I think!). Before painting, any warped/peeling panels will be replaced, new baseboard wood trim will be installed, and any holes will be repaired, filled, and sanded smooth
All of the overhead light is going to go and be replaced with new recessed lighting. Right now, there are only four lighting fixtures. The new plan calls for 16 new lights. This is going to illuminate the entire basement beautifully. The lights will also be on a dimmer switch so I can adjust them as needed.
Installing New Doors/Windows:
Just based on timing and logistics, I’m not sure this will happen right away, but in the near future, I want to replace the double windows with french doors and replace the single door with a large window. This will almost double the amount of possible natural light that can come into this space.
Can we talk about how amazing it is to have a fireplace in this space? I love it! I haven’t used this fireplace since I moved into the house, so it will be fabulous to get it working again. As you know, I love the exposed brick, and therefore, I have no intentions of painting it. However, I would love to get my carpenter here (the one that did my living room mantel and built-in entryway) to add in some interesting molding, a mantel, etc. I just want to clean the fireplace up and give it a bit more English cottage look (something like THIS or THIS). I assume this is another part of the renovation that will be pushed to a later date, but it’s fun to plan and dream.
Creating Functional Storage:
In my next Basement Renovation post, I will share some design plans and details to help you visualize things a bit more. Know that in this space, I want to add a large closet-type cabinet for hidden storage, updated open shelving, and cabinetry. Also, there is currently a sink in the bar, so I’m hoping to rework that into a large sink for art clean-up. There is a sink in the laundry room too, but I think it would be better to have a dedicated art sink. My goal is to use a mix of vintage furniture and cabinetry to create this storage.
Relocating Laundry Room:
My big, long-term plan is to move my laundry room upstairs, but that won’t happen until I plan my bathroom renovations and that’s still a couple of years away. So for right now, I just want to make this space look a bit cuter. I’m not 100% sure what that looks like yet, but I do know I want better shelving, a new sink, and a bit of decor and style. Maybe even incorporate some fun wallpaper.
Adding Additional Touches:
There are also be lots of other fun details, decor, work surfaces, etc. in the plans for this space that will really bring it to life.
BASEMENT RENOVATION: FINAL THOUGHTS
Phew! I think that about sums things up. There are many things to do, items to figure out, and lots to be excited about. A beautiful new space is on the horizon. I have started a board HERE on Pinterest if you want a sneak peek of some design ideas I have for the space.
I hope that after seeing and reading about this project you’re feeling as excited as I am for what’s to come. I have a feeling this will quickly become a space in which I spend a lot of my time.
Let’s do this!
Wow!! After seeing the progress from your newest update on the basement it looks completely different! That’s awesome!! Congrats Michael, it looks great!
It is awesome that you have a fireplace there and I can’t wait to see how you update it. I know it will be amazing. I was thinking French doors would be beautiful too as you mentioned and so perfect for the art space. I was hoping to see a picture of what was on the outside of the windows. I’m just picturing you creating in there with the fireplace on and the French doors open to a lovely outside space. I’m excited for you 🙂
I am so excited to see what wonderful ideas you incorporate for this space. As usual, I love everything you do and know it will be fabulous! I particularly like the ideas for the fire place, Super Cozy!!!!
Is it wrong that I kinda love it the way it is now? So cozy. I even love the paneling and the bar! Just needs some great upholstered pieces and lighting!
What a great space with lots of potential! It will be fun watching what you do with it:)
This is an awesome space with so much potential. Although you sure have a lot of work ahead, I’m sure it will be fabulous when you’re finished, Looking forward to following you on the journey!
What fun! Looking forward to following along.
Really looking forward to this, you excel at renovation. I have to say that even though it is a really dated space, and mostly storage, I really appreciate how neat and organized you keep it.