basement renovation update!

Our basement in our old house (finally closed on January 12!) was open to the rest of the house.  When you walk in the back door from the garage, if you continued straight through the breezeway, you’d head right down the basement stairs.  Due to some funky architecture and what we think was a DIY addition put on by the previous owners, there’s really no option for a door for just the basement.  We could add a door to the kitchen that leads to the basement and breezeway, but you’d be sealing off that little section of the house.  So we just kind of lived with it being somewhat ugly and creepy and weird.  And, by “live with it,” of course I mean, at almost 30 years old, after taking the dog out at night I run by the very open, very dark basement stairway as though the demon from The Conjuring was going to grab my foot on my way back into the main part of the house. 👶🏼

Anyway, about six months into living here, we were packing to go Connecticut for the fourth of July weekend.  I went downstairs to get Anthony’s suitcase, and stumbled upon a stressfully large pool of water at the bottom of the stairs.  It wasn’t flooded by any means, but it was certainly enough to get me all worked up and crabby before heading to the airport.  Long story short, and needless to say, we found it was time to waterproof our basement.  In doing so, we ripped up the carpet and tore down some ugly fake paneling the previous owners (or the possibly the bank, as it was a foreclosure) had poorly installed.

After the basement system was installed back in June, we got started on actually finishing the basement, rather than whatever the bank or previous owners had called what they did.

Step one of that process was demo.  Rip down all the fake paneling, get rid of the carpet that had been sitting probably growing hefty amounts of mold in the garage, and the nasty drop ceiling that had been there for God knows how long.  That’s when the “before” documenting began.

Just a little scary.

After demo, but before framing, we did a nice little vapor barrier to make sure even the smallest drop of water would never enter this basement ever again, and then some mold-resistant insulation.. for good measure.

It doesn’t look so bad when you can’t see the walls or the potential asbestos tile adhesive that we sealed in with the paint. 😉

Up next was framing.  If I’m being completely honest, framing was a real bitch.  We got a wee bit optimistic and thought we could really buckle down and have it done later that first month when my mom and her boyfriend came out to visit & do some electrical work for us.  Ha.  Yeah that didn’t happen.  I don’t think framing actually reached completion until the end of July.

To our defense though, Anthony did all of it, I just held things, and he worked 8 hours a day in addition to having to find the motivation to go down there every night.  I don’t know how he did it.  I checked out about three weeks in when I went upstairs one night to “check on Maddie” and then never came back. 🙈

But somehow he got it all done!  I don’t know how he found the motivation.  I couldn’t, and I didn’t even work all day every day.

(Also, the walls were meticulously level, these are iPhone panoramic photos so they kind of have a bend to them.)

Once it was finally time for drywall, I reemerged downstairs to start helping again.  This step was a lot more enjoyable because you saw progress immediately.  It was so nice, finally being able to seal that godawful framing behind drywall for good!


After we painted and Anthony did some last-minute electrical work in the ceiling, it was time to put the flooring in!  This is where the photos get super wonky, because there are very obvious straight lines that become curvy with panoramics… Just pretend they are straight haha.

This was, believe it or not, the best part so far.  We could finally walk on the floors without having to wear crappy sneakers that we would then take off at the top of the stairs because of all the plaster and compound dust… it’s the little things!  Hehe.

And finally the flooring was in!  It was this amazing vinyl flooring that was so. darn. easy to install!  As in, I could have done it myself.  And trust me when I say if I can fly solo, anyone can figure it out. 💃🏻

Lastly, here are some photos of the totally finished space!!  We added a drop ceiling and some carpeting on the stairs which was a perfect final touch!  This one isn’t a panorama, because we were selling the house and I was getting all nostalgic and wanting 4,203,198 photos of the basement and how it was supposed to look, after Anthony had poured so many months of work into it.

And then we sold it.

Haha.  Just kidding, but it definitely felt that way!  We were rushing around on Thanksgiving evening trying to put finishing touches on it while simultaneously cleaning the house for our first showing on the following morning.  Selling your house is no joke!  But that’s another story for another day!

If anyone is curious about our budget or what it cost to flip our basement, or any of the products we used, please feel free to ask– I am an open book!  And if you have the time, I highly recommend doing it yourself.  It saves SO. MUCH. MONEY.  And it feels so good after!  So I hear… after all, Anthony did most of the work.. hehe.

Happy Friday, friends! 🏠💖

2 thoughts on “basement renovation update!

    1. Thank you very much! I’ll pass that along! 🙂

      Oh man I don’t blame you! It was hard just watching Anthony do that! It got to the point where he would just power through to get it done, but I could definitely see it took some of the excitement out of it for him. It was definitely a slow-moving project, but totally worth it! But I can’t imagine working 8 hours (or more) per day and then coming home and working even more. Everyone needs a break! 🙂


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