Friday, July 28, 2017

'unfinishing' a basement on a budget


My unfinished BASEMENT.


Current estimate to finish? $40k  Current desire to spend $40k to finish the basement? NONE

Current desire to use the space for more than a dumping ground? HIGH

Oh, this is going to be fun (/sarcasm). There's approximately 1000 sq ft of space down here.

The back, left corner that is currently filled with empty boxes (in case of returns) ?- everything that's been down there over a year gets recycled. I'm pretty sure there are two space heaters in the pile... move them to 'storage' area which will be behind the furnace and water heater. - Buy shelving units for storage for these and other things like suitcases, etc.

The forward, left corner  that has a couple of boxes spilling over filled with toys? Most of these were pulled out of a's room when he didn't clean up on his own. Most aren't worth keeping and he wouldn't even want them now if we asked him about them. Dig out anything that the grandsons might like, toss the rest.

If I don't sell the highboy dresser in the next two weeks, drop it off at consignment shop.

Out of season clothes - go upstairs to the entry way closet.

Suitcases - into 'storage' area behind the furnace/water heater.

Two over-sized bins filled with Phil's dishes she brought over from England, boxed up and left behind in St Louis before moving to the East Coast. Sort it out, clean it up, identify what's missing and try to price a complete set... and verify if I can buy the missing pieces for a small amount of money - then put the whole collection up for sale/consignment - I'm thinking it might be valuable enough for the high end consignment shop. But, basically, it needs to go and while I will certainly check with her to verify she still doesn't want it - I'm more than happy to be done holding onto it.

Antique single Jenny Lind Bed frame - clean up and put it up for sale/consignment

Bunk bed frame & Single mattress - stay in storage for the day when I can afford a bigger house and can set up a bedroom for when grandsons come to visit.

And then from there... I've got a ton of crafting supplies, organizers, shelves, etc... enough furniture for a spare bedroom (double-bed frame and mattress - might need box springs; vanity, etc); two loveseats, a tv, tv stand, desk and computer/printer... and I have several large room dividers as well as bookcases and storage units that can be used for temporary walls.

Step 1 - everything we're keeping gets put in garage temporarily (so much for parking in the garage anytime soon)
Step 2 - clean the area top to bottom, including scraping up what we can of the 'who knows what they were thinking when they used paint on cement not intended for cement)
Step 3 - paint the rafters - I'm leaning towards light grey from examples I've seen on pinterest, but light tan would go better with the floor color I'm looking at

ala From the JerseyGirl at CafeMom (not sure where she might have gotten this from)


Step 4 - identify which sections of the poured concrete walls that look like white painted brick are going to be ' accent walls' and paint them to look like brick (leaving the rest white and unfinished)

ala the How to Build a House Blog


Step 5 - upgrade the lighting from the current pull string bare bulbs with clip-on shades

Don't get me wrong, I get that bare bulbs are the 'thing' these days... but I'd rather see something timely, instead of just the cheap builder put bulbs in a basement type of lights that are bare bones.

Step 6 - acid stain the concrete floors

-original source long lost, this is a pinterest clip from another system clip, from a third clipping service that rotates back to the second:


Do I actually think I can pull this off? I've seen a lot of DIY steps, and sure, why not? My biggest issue is that you a) have to shut off the water heater and furnace, b) ventilate - the window down there does open... and c) get each step done in sequence in kind of one go - i.e., I can't do 20 sq feet one day, and then another 20-30 sq feet the next day. But I can always insist on pulling DH down there to help, right?

Step 7 - add floor trim pieces and/or ceiling trim to add the clean lines

Step 7 - add a fake wall 

ala the Wood Designs, but stand alone and sturdy enough to mount a flat screen to:


Step 8 - move all the storage under the stairs into the side room (extra flooring, paint, spare tiles, etc) - hopefully on shelves again

Step 9 - Build decorative storage shelves under the stairs 




Step 10 - Add decor pieces near the egress window to hide the electrical panel (I mean, I get it, put the electrical panel close to the wall that the electric meter is posted... but right here? Right NEXT to the egress window??? SIGH)... 



Except, instead of looking like an interior shutter, something closer to the following (except maybe in browns/creams) (original source lost, this came from pinterest):




Step 11 - set up four zones separated by room dividers and our fake wall:
Bedroom - A can crash here if needed and I can crash there if needed, and a nice rug or two
Storage & cat food & water - shelves for holiday decor, etc
Crafting - paper crafting yarn, etc (with rocking chair and/or sleeper loveseat
Family room  (with tv all set up, maybe even move the surround sound down there (since we don't use it in the bedroom), add a nice comfy rug

Step 12 - clean & paint, and add proper steps to the basement stairs

ala poster at imgur (our stairs currently look like his did half-way through his re-do, except, sadly - we don't have a landing - I think his look all the better thanks to his landing, but, eh... we do have a landing about halfway down the stairs... so, it won't look horrid if we do something like this there). Our treads don't actually 'stick out' - so I'm tempted to simply add boards over the top of them, paint the risers, stain the boards we're adding and calling it awesome.




?? Step 13?? We've also talked about adding a pet door to the basement door - so we don't have to always keep the door open (what with litter boxes being down there, and all). The current door is a little shredded thanks to kitty with claws getting shut down there by accident, so if we add a pet door to it, we can always replace the door when we go to sell anyway.

?? Step 14?? Still debating this one - but I don't see why we couldn't do a floor cabinet and counter top picked up at the habitat shop and the under counter beverage refrigerator we bought when Jerry's refrigerator died and he wasn't going to get the replacement for over a week AND we talked about adding a wet bar to our basement (this was before the quote was given... I think we were thinking under $25k which really isn't in our budget any more than $40k would be.

My ideas behind all this - with the exception of the stairs and trim... is that everything else could be 'overlaid' or 'covered' if someone (or we) decide to really finish the basement in the future. Temporary walls and wall dividers can be removed. Who cares if the rafters are painted if you are covering them. If they want to lay down carpet or hardwood floors, who cares if the cement underneath has been colored. The trim pieces can always be cut if you are going to add actual doors, or simply removed and tossed out if you're redoing everything ... and the stairs, well, if they want to carpet them, they can... who cares if the treds are stained, and the risers painted? Most everything is going to be semi-inexpensive, and if we end up selling it and they don't want it finished either, they can still use it for storage.

For the basement? I'm thinking if we do the work ourselves, we can probably 'unfinish' the basement for around $3,000 - $4,000.

Again, there is SO MUCH to do upstairs, enough to keep me busy for year, minimum. But, by then I should have a few dollars to spend downstairs and maybe between the two... I won't be so grumpy about a house that feels too small.

My current house has 1500 sq ft finished, of that... 500 sq ft is the second floor and pretty much my teenage son's domain. The 1000 sq ft that remain isn't utilized well, organized well, and once I finish that, if I could make another 1000 sq ft downstairs be usable? even if it's not 'finished'? I think I can live with that (well, being that I still haven't won the lottery or anything).

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