Finishing the Basement

I haven’t been blogging much like crazy this month, but I have been building a basement like crazy. I love it SO much! I don’t know what’s so exciting about building things, but I get giddy and end up spending hours researching products, picking out materials and working on the project.

I decided to finish my basement because, of all the different strategies I’ve dreamed up to reduce my expenses, so far it’s been the thing that’s worked out. I love it partly because it’s on a small enough scale that I can get creative without being totally overwhelmed by the 9 month commitment to build a whole house. And it’s really rewarding to see such concrete progress. Like Friday morning I don’t have walls, but by the afternoon, I did!

I’m hopeful that the rental income from this cool little basement apartment will take some of the financial stress away. Plus I just like creating spaces that I think other people will enjoy! I have fun imagining who might live down there and how they’ll (hopefully) love having access to the backyard and the garage.

I’ve been using as many recycled things as possible, like collecting 2x4s from different projects over the last few years. Some of them have warped, but we’ve still been able to use several of them. Gabriel Rojas (the most awesomest carpenter who’s worked with me on several projects and without whom I probably wouldn’t be in this business) would call me when they were doing demo work for a remodel job and say “hey, we’re about to tear up and throw away these perfectly good cabinets”, or “here’s a brand new toilet that’s about to get thrown away.” So thanks to him I’ve collected several materials over the last couple years to use in the basement. I’ve also got some old radiators from an old building downtown, that I’m going to try and use as a base for a bathroom vanity.

I’ve gotten some black slate on sale for the basement bathroom. I made a trip to Ikea for some light fixtures. And I’m thinking of using old wooden doors from the Habitat for Humanity store to make countertops out of!

Check out the pics below to see some before pictures and the progress we’re making!

When I built the house, I didn’t stub it in for a bathroom because I wasn’t sure where I would want the bathroom to be. So our first step was to rent a jackhammer, break up the concrete, dig down eight inches or so for the plumbing lines and then dig a 3 foot hole to put the tank with the sewage pump in! We laid the plumbing lines, connected them to the sewage tank, filled them with water to test for leaks, and then used bags of concrete to replace what we tore up!

We were then ready to start framing. We’ve nearly finished with the framing, which didn’t take long since most of the space will remain open. Soon we’ll start working to finish up the electrical and plumbing before we sheetrock. I’m hoping to finish up with the whole project sometime in January!

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