Wednesday, June 09, 2010

DIY Basement Renovation

We are about to embark on a major DIY project... what is commonly referred to in America as "finishing the basement" - or finishing half of it (the other half is the "engine-room" of the house (furnace, electric panel, sump pump), its where we wash and dry clothes, store food and supplies. We are transforming the other half (which is half the size of the layout of our house) - what was a cold, dark and dirty place into a guest room and play room.

This BIG DIY job involves replacing 3 windows, insulating and moisture sealing walls/floor/ceiling, changing electrics, installing down lights, making heating ducts more efficient upstairs, providing heat in the basement, framing the walls, wall-boarding the walls and ceiling, paint, new floor and finishings...

I'll posts some pictures as we progress... make sure you check the captions to get the context. What the pictures don't show is the tare-down stage... after the roof panels and wall sidings (pics 1-3) were removed, years of cob webs, 15 dead mice (and their poop) and hundreds and hundreds of screws and nails were in the rafters - all of which had to be removed, swept and vacuumed before the transformation could begin.

Deadline for the transformation... mid July, when we expect to host some Regent friends who will be visiting us before and after we attend a wedding celebration in near-by Michigan.

You can check out the latest pics on our Picasa Album or through the RSS Feed.

A reflection on the great American Basement...
"Every American basement is the same, They all have a clothesline that is rarely used, a trickle of water from an indeterminable source... and a funny smell... 
Basements are so monumentally useless, in fact, that you seldom go down there, so it always comes as a surprise to remember that you have one. Every dad who ever goes down in the basement pauses at some point and thinks 'Gee, we really ought to do something with all this space. We could have a cocktail cabinet and a pool table and maybe a jukebox and a jacuzzi and a couple of pinball machines...' But of course it's just one of those things that you intend to do one day, like learn Spanish or take home barbering, and never do.
Oh, occasionally, especially in starter homes, you will find that some young gung-ho dad has converted the basement into a playroom for the children, but this is alway a mistake as no child will ever play in a basement. This is because no matter how loving your parents, no matter how much you like to trsut them, there is always the thought that they will quietly lock the door at the top of the stairs and move to Florida. No, basements are deeply and inescapably scary - that's why they always feature in spooky movies, usually with a shadow of Joan Crawford carrying an axe thrown on the far wall. That may be why even dads don't go down there very often."   

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