dig deep

What’s been the biggest headache of renovating our house you ask? The basement. (Notice how I am not using past tense? That is because it is not done.)

History: Our basement under the original part of the house is a 5’5′ high gravel crawl space – it’s great for storage and has stayed relatively dry since we moved in however, it does not offer a lot of potential for additional living space. When we decided to add a 14′ x 22′ addition to the back of the house, we figured it would be an ideal time to dig down and include a full-height basement under the new section. By doing this, we’d gain a new space for laundry and room left over for whatever we’d need down the road (Insanity workouts, dart games, fuse ball tournaments, a practice spot for David’s high school rock band…). The plan was perfect however, it’s become a money pit – literally (minus Tom Hanks and Shelly Long). Within 12 hours of beginning the year-long renovation, the contractors hit bedrock = chi ching. We stopped excavation and debated whether we’d continue, but in the end, we moved forward with the plan, knowing the space would be an asset to our home. Once the hole was dug (ten feet down) we discovered a small stream of water ran directly under the house. This meant we had to add a sump pump to the space to prevent flooding. When the contractors moved out, we were left with a half-finished space and Mike moved forward with painting and flooring. We used leftover materials and paint, knowing that we did not leave money for a decorating budget. The space was never fully done – baseboards were missing and the utility sink was not connected – but our intention was not to rush through this as we had other projects to keep us busy above ground.

Fast forward to Summer (6-months post-renovation): I walked downstairs with a basket of laundry and noticed a yoga mat floating by. Yup, flood. Luckily Mike is on the ball when it comes to insurance* and my dad is on the ball when it comes to ground water so we got the space pumped dry and cleaned out by noon. The damage was extensive but we didn’t have furniture in the space so it was mostly structural. New contractors came in a replaced the dry wall, and repainted. We ordered a new floor and left for vacation knowing, it’d be back to its former state when we returned from Montreal. However, it rained hard and my sister stepped into 2 feet of water one morning while we were somewhere between Binghamton and Albany New York. Again, the space was dried out and ripped apart but this time, we started by replacing the sump pump with the Rolls-Royce of sump pumps right away.

And, if you have a Rolls-Royce of a sump pump, it means your basement decorating budget is even less than what you started with so here’s the plan. I’d like to call this the “Reuse / Hold off Until It’s On Sale / or Hope For a Wicked Yard Sale Inspiration Board”.

First off, here is the inspiration from Room&Board. 

We had to replace our washer and dryer due to flooding – the set still worked but the washing machine squealed like a pig then sounded like a 737 taking off, so the Insurance people said we could get a new set. The laundry area will run along the wall and in addition to the machines, we’re installing a utility sink and shelving. A counter will be added to polish off the space and we reinstalled upper wall cabinets from Ikea we had in our former laundry room. Something like this.

So, here is the inspiration board and a sweeeet rendering (laugh all you want) of the space.


A. Dart board (already own and it’s even hung!) / B. Extra lighting from Ikea / C. Stonington Gray wall paint by Benjamin Moore / D. Newburyport Blue wall paint by Benjamin Moore / E. Laminate flooring (already installed) / F. Flor carpet tiles (already own but not sure if they’ll work in the space – see J. for alternative) / G. Samsung washing machine and dryer (already have) / H. Counter top / I. Wall cabinets from Ikea (already installed) / J. Preferred rug from Rugs USA / K. Small rug for bottom of stairs from West Elm / L. Futon fabric from Tonic Living / M. American Flag / N. Fuse ball table (already have, thanks Nancy!) / O. Cocktail table from Room and Board.

photoOnce we finished purging and reorganizing the crawl space, we can get started on the living space. xomeg

* I have yet to meet another couple who had wedding insurance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s