We’re back and chronicling the basement renovation

So for at least a few distinct reasons, we have been silent on the blog for the last few months. One of those reasons was what lead to the recent painting and trim and door replacement bonanza of 2013, which just took up literally all of our time for a solid month or two and led us to despair of home renovation and life in general. Rachel was a single parent for the better part of a month or two as I used every bit of free time in the evenings and weekends to replace doors and trim and paint pretty much everything else in the entire house.

The entire process of what led us to having to deal with the city on all of that deserves a post of it’s own — I’d love to provide some pointers for other DC parents who get caught up in the same issue and let them know how to proceed. We would have loved to blog about all we were doing, but we really wanted to keep silent until we got free of the city’s process. But for now, it’s all over and we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Which means finishing out the basement!

Amazingly, I think we started this process in earnest almost right after Christmas last year in January or February. Though the seeds were planted back a year before in winter 2012 when Rachel’s brother who was an architect started putting together some plans for the space when he was living here. (Oh man, was it really February 2012 when we wrote this?)

Basement brainstorming plans #1Overhead section 2
The first attempts to sketch out the space by Jeremy

It’s probably worth looking back at the basement as it was when we bought the house and for the first almost three years of us living here. We knew that we one day wanted to turn it into rentable space, but we were definitely a little intimidated by the level of old plumbing and electrical snaking all across the ceiling and the limitations on the floorplan posed by the existence of the old garage and the brick walls.

I think this video is from the second time we saw the house, after we had already made our offer. We couldn’t get into the basement when we first saw the house, and we made an offer that night having never seen it. (The listing hilariously described the basement as either “finished” or “partially finished.”)

Wow. Looks tight in there, right? That’s our fantastic friend and real estate agent Andy down there with us trying to unlock the back door. (Need an agent in DC-MD-VA? Give us a call and we’ll hook you up!)

We used the old “bedroom” (if you can call it that) as storage for the last couple of years — especially before I built and finished the attic storage space, and I used the garage as my shop. Our laundry was down there next to the kinda frightening bathroom that we almost never used, which also stayed turned off due to a leaky toilet.

The basement was a mess, but we could start envisioning the possibilities. And renting out the basement was always in our plans as a way to afford a house in an expensive city as more kids come along and Rachel either goes part-time or stops working at some point.

Coming up next, a look at the plans and all the permutations we’ve been through over the last year to arrive at the final floorplan and layout, and finally getting underway on the project with one big, costly decision in the very first week.

I’ll give you a hint: think our home inspector could’ve used a little more headroom?

Pre-closing: basement inspection

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