Basement remodel in our century home

I haven’t posted any home décor posts recently, so I thought I would share our basement remodel with you. When we purchased our home, we knew that we wanted to remodel the basement immediately. It was the only space we could put a more casual family room with a comfy sectional for tv and movie watching. Although we eventually plan to re-do several other rooms in the house, this took priority because the current space was virtually unusable. It wasn’t even included in the listing photos when we bought the house. So we got to work. Below is an overview of the major basement remodel in our century home.

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Our finished basement remodel

The project

When we moved into the house, the “finished” portion of the basement (finished being a very generous description) was in really rough shape. There were no actual interior walls. Instead, exterior cedar siding had been applied over the foundation walls. The siding covered the only two windows but bizarrely had separate false door and window openings. These opened onto the original brick foundation walls. On one wall, the siding only went about halfway up the wall. Above it was a canvas painted the same color as the siding. We only discovered during the demolition phase that this canvas had once had an outdoor mural painted on it.

In addition to the walls, the carpet was old and stained. The basement had two ancient fluorescent lights which looked like they belonged in an office building from the 60s. There was also an odd closet space under the stairs and an old bar that did not look safe to use. It was in rough shape. 

The process

The first step in the project was demolition. We worked with our designer on this project and she felt that it would be very difficult to get project quotes from contractors without knowing what was behind the siding. So, that’s where we started. It was a complete gut. The cedar siding was removed to reveal the original foundation walls which had to be patched in places. The old carpet was pulled back to reveal linoleum. The bar area was demolished and the few existing walls were torn back to the studs.

It is clear that when our house was built 100 years ago, the basement was not intended to be used as living space. As a result, the ceilings are quite low (only about 7′ and shorter in some places because there are exposed pipes). For that reason, we decided just to patch a few places in the plaster but otherwise leave the ceiling as it was. We had our painter paint the walls, ceilings, and exposed pipes the same light color (SW 7042 Shoji White) to help the room feel bigger and brighter (and to help the exposed pipes blend in).

The design

We wanted the space to feel a bit more current than the rest of the house but didn’t want it to feel like it belonged in a completely different house. Working with our designer, we chose transitional furniture and design accents. We had custom solid-core doors made to match the rest of the doors in the home. I also found antique glass doorknobs that were similar to the style in the rest of the home. We also chose to use a Carrera marble threshold for the bathroom which was the material used for all of the other bathroom thresholds.

For the layout, we decided to reduce the size of the wet bar and add a half bath (I’ll share more about these spaces in a future post). When building the new walls, we were sure to expose the windows. We decided to place the tv between the now exposed windows and place a bar table behind the couch for additional seating. We also reclaimed a portion of the unfinished basement to use as a craft room by adding a few walls and a new door (I also plan to write about this space in a future post). Because there wasn’t room for a minifridge in the wet bar area, we installed it under the stairs in place of the odd closet there. We put down new carpet in the main space (the floor is not level so this was our best flooring option). Thankfully, we were able to put down tile in the craft room and bathroom spaces.

Custom pieces

We also added custom storage on either side of the tv wall under the windows. The built-ins offer a ton of storage as well as a place to hide away the cable box, Blu-ray player, and gaming systems. The contractors actually ran a channel through the wall from behind the tv into the cabinets so that all cables are hidden. There are even outlets in the cabinets. 

The finished basement

Ultimately, we are thrilled with the final results. Our contractor, Woodworks Design, created the custom cabinets for the bar, bathroom, and entertainment storage. We were very happy with their work and would recommend them to anyone looking to do home remodeling in the Cleveland area. We finished the space with some new furniture, vintage/antique décor, and even created wall art using antique organ pipes (you can read about that project here). 

Information on décor and finishes

What do you think of this basement remodel? Have you done any major renovations in your home?

I am so glad you visited us at Jack and Bax. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter (sign up available either on the right sidebar or at the bottom of the page). And please follow me on Instagram and Facebook so that you don’t miss any of my upcoming projects! You won’t want to miss my upcoming posts on the wet bar, craft room, and half bath.

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