Basement Update - DIY Projects!

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We are quickly approaching the "end of the beginning" of our basement remodel.

"Phase One" was the rough-in - plumbing, electrical, HVAC, drywall, and sprinkler systems.

It's almost done, and it looks great. Which means it's time for us to start Phase Two:

The DIY projects.



We probably could have attempted some of Phase One on our own - my father-in-law (who you may remember from the shed project) has tackled similar projects in his own house.

But in the harsh light of day, Phase One was clearly a full-time job for multiple people.

The sprinklers, the electrical, and the plumbing required some serious specialty work - there was a jackhammer involved at one point.

It also required some coordination with the city, for permits and so forth.

And frankly, we weren't all that eager to move THAT MUCH material ourselves.

So we turned Phase One over to the experts - my neighbor, Bryan Sebring, and his company Sebring Services.

And they'll be done - more or less - this week.

When they're done, the basement WILL be usable.

It will be a bare concrete floor, and there won't be any doors or trim-work, but we lucked into some full-room carpets, so it will be warm and bright enough for the children to play in.

So what's next?

1. The Basement Bathroom

First and foremost, we'd like to finish the bathroom. If the kids are going to be playing downstairs, they're going to need functional facilities.

Phase One left us with a fully-roughed-in bathroom, with a shower base in place.

We'll need to pick out and install floor tile, along with wall tiles for (at a minimum) the shower.

Once that's done, we'll place the toilet and vanity, along with the shower fixtures.

It's a small bathroom, so we can splurge a bit - but then again, it's the basement, so we'll try to do something unique, but reasonably priced.

2. The Bar

The aspirational under-the-stairs bar.
It's not a full bar. You can't walk behind it. In fact, it's not even a wet bar.

What we're talking about is under-the-counter wine and beverage refrigerators, and some additional cabinets.

The most interesting thing is that this bar is tucked under the stairs - Ms. AAAD's inspiration - so the vertical space will be sloping downward. No upper cabinets here!

It will be a little wider than the bar pictured here, but you get the idea.

Remember Project 1? So much simpler...


I also like the full-wall backsplash in our "aspirational bar" photo - That's something we should consider.

We're looking at a butcher-block countertop.

The primary cost driver will be the appliances themselves.

We're going to go for a custom look, using off-the-rack cabinetry.

Ideally, we can find some mission-style doors that match our home theater cabinetry upstairs. (Pictured here.)

There is some bar seating, but it's at a drink ledge, located directly behind where the sofa will sit in the living room.

(The photo at the top shows the bar seating - that photo is from the inside of the new bedroom, looking THROUGH what will be the TV wall.)

3. The Basement Living Room / Home Theatre

Some MAJOR luck here - we happened across a very high-quality wall unit / entertainment center, which was given to us because the owners were moving to another city.

This piece is - seriously - good enough for a primary living room. It's definitely good enough to be the primary focal piece for the basement home theater.

And at the outset - at least for the next year - we'll be using furniture that we already own in this basement room. (We'll eventually need to buy a sectional.)

What that means is that for now, we can focus on the electronics.

At the outset, the basement will be inheriting the lowest-end stuff we already own. Our master bedroom LCD TV will suffice for the kids' video games.

(Of course, this means that the primary living room will get upgraded to a 65" 4K, and the current living room TV will be demoted to the master bedroom.)

The basement will inherit our old stereo receiver - and it will also inherit the Bose Acoustimass system, as the living room will move to a Sonos Soundbar.

However, there are quite a few things we'll eventually be integrating into the basement space.

In terms of music, we'll add at least 1 Sonos speaker.

We'll also create a dedicated space for a turntable (yes, we're poseur hipsters. Whatever. Records
are cool to look at and cheap to collect).

I'm going to permanently install our Acesonic karaoke system - and maybe even add a dedicated powered speaker.

And eventually, I'll be installing the largest possible TV in the downstairs space - I'm hoping for 75" - even if that means repurposing the wall unit.

We're going to have to make a final decision about flooring in the bedroom and common areas. (It's likely we'll go with carpet, but time will tell.)

3. Shelving in storage areas. 

This isn't very glamorous. We're going to be building shelves out of 2X4s, starting this weekend, for the unfinished storage areas.

This storage area WILL house our home server - the CAT6 wires all converge on this space - but that's a project for this summer.

Ultimately, we're really happy to be done with Phase One, and eager to get started on the projects that we'll have a hand in completing.

Thanks for reading - and we'll keep everyone updated. If you have questions or have recently finished similar projects, leave a comment - we're always looking for other DIYers experiences. 

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