The Empty Basement

It’s just over a month late, but we finished another item on my Thirty Before 30 list. #9: Clean out the basement. (It’s getting scary down there.)

We went from this:

To this:

Brandon worked pretty tirelessly to get it done, and we also had some help from our family. I’m rounding out (literally, ha) my second trimester and I haven’t been much use in the physical labor department. We donated a lot of our stuff, and the rest is either scattered throughout the house (yay) or in the 10×10 storage unit we rented for the duration of our remodel.

Say what? A remodel? Hell yes!

We’re finishing the basement!

Eventually, we will have a half-bath instead of an indoor outhouse. You can see our red washer peeking out of the background in the photo below. The washer and dryer have always been the nicest things in the basement (we bought them when we first moved in). Do you know how excited I am about having a cute laundry room? I might even have a skirted utility sink, just because I can.

We’re having the floor leveled because there are some pretty nasty cracks, but we’re not sure what flooring we’d like to have in the finished space. We may just paint the new concrete.

Brandon and I hired a contractor (first time ever!), and he began work this morning. We’re having the shell of the basement finished: level floor, new walls, glass-block windows, and trim. The future half-bath may just be an empty room with plumbing hookups for now to save money. We’re also leaving a large corner of the basement unfinished for storage and utility (again, to save money). And we’ll be doing the painting and finishing work ourselves.

We should have a finished basement sometime next month!

…I hope.

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  • » 30 Before Thirty Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so.
    November 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    […] Clean out the basement. (It’s getting scary down there.) (Late, but done!) […]

  • JLR
    November 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm


  • bungalowbliss
    November 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    How exciting! I’m prepping for the same project and, like you, can’t wait to have a fun laundry area. A question for you: are you putting in ceilings (drywall or dropped) or keeping the joists exposed? I’m afraid the clearance from my basement floor to the floor joists overhead doesn’t allow for a dropped ceiling, especially adding in ductwork and plumbing, so I may have to settle for clever disgusing of this. I’m curious about what your plans are, as it looks from the pictures as if you might be facing a similar issue.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm

      We’re going to put drywall up on the ceiling. Brandon hesitates because he is practical (what if we have to access pipes or wires?) and I am excited because OOH PRETTY.

      Really, we’ve done most of the major work on the house and we haven’t needed to access anything anymore. And we have about 7′ of clearance even under the duct work (which will be covered by soffits), and the rest of the ceiling will be a smidge higher.

      I have seen lovely exposed ceilings painted out in white, but it’s more of an industrial look than I’d like.

      • bungalowbliss
        November 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

        Thanks for the reply. I’ll look forward to seeing the progress updates on your project!

    • Danielle@Newlywed Paradise
      November 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      Mrs. Bugnalow! I miss you! I am dying to see progress on your place!

  • kat
    November 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    woohoo! that’ll add a lot of space – are you putting any rooms down there or just storage?

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 1:21 pm

      A half-bath, a laundry room, a large open space that will be my studio, and a 12×12 unfinished storage space.

      • kat
        November 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm

        cool – I hope it’s brighter in the daylight!

  • Jules
    November 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    That picture of Brandon was the best part of my morning. +2,000 points to him.

  • Kathryn Humphreys
    November 2, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    who did you end up contracting with? Always looking for new recs.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm

      Sean Cameron of Crossroads Construction. His number is 708.860.7297. Feel free to tell him you heard about him here – I told him I was writing about the remodel. :)

      • Kathryn Humphreys
        November 2, 2010 at 5:47 pm

        Thanks! Also, we have that wood-look vinyl in ours and I highly recommend it. If you consider it feel free to come check ours out.

  • Christine
    November 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    WOW, already it’s a huge makeover!! I can’t wait to see it all finished and one month sounds so soon. I’m sending quick reno-vibes your way!

    We have a red washer/dryer too, it makes laundry more fun, doesn’t it? :)

  • Sarah G
    November 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    How exciting! I hope the reno goes smoothly and on budget.

    So is the new baby getting your old studio, or is Eleanor moving into a big girl room?

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm

      The nursery will stay a nursery for the new baby, Eleanor will get my studio as her big girl room, and the basement will be my new studio.

  • Gwendolyn Wise
    November 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm


  • Marguerite
    November 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    How exciting! I spotted this lovely basement and laundry room yesterday…if you need more inspiration:
    Best of luck.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm

      I have that laundry room episode of ‘Sarah’s House’ saved on our DVR for inspiration!

      • Circa1972
        November 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm

        ME TOO! Any time the husband goes through the recorded programs, I’m like “DON’T ERASE THAT!”. And he responds “I’d never DREAM of it!”.

  • Allison
    November 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    WHOO! My husband and I are thinking of what to do with our basement too! It was finished at one time during the home’s existence but the construction and design was TERRIBLE so we’re just going to rip it all out and start over. I’m excited to watch the process!!

  • Elizabeth
    November 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Ooooh, I love this project! I can’t wait to see progress reports! And thanks for the term “indoor outhouse.” We have the same basement WC, and I’ve never come up with the right succinct way of conveying just how dismal it is.

  • Funnelcloud Rachel
    November 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Ooh, exciting! Can’t wait to follow your progress, and of course see the finished product!

  • Debbie
    November 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Of all the home photos you have posted — which I love — I think I am most envious of your completely bare basement.

  • Funnelcloud Rachel
    November 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Oh, and I just noticed that Brandon was sitting on the toilet in the “indoor outhouse.” Hilarious!

  • Jamie
    November 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Can’t wait to follow your progress! I love a good remodel story!

  • Jessica @ Decor Adventures
    November 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Wow you are productive!

    We also are planning a basement redo. It’s mostly finished, but needs updating, especially the bathroom.

    Recently someone told us about mold-resistant indoor outdoor carpeting that people use in basements. So we might try that otherwise we thought of painting the floor too. Check it out, it might work if you want carpet.

    Good luck – Can’t wait to see the progress.

  • Lindsay
    November 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    i love watching you guys tackle big projects. and the washer is a beauty!
    can’t wait to see what you do with the wee babes nursery. i loved everything you gathered up for your little eleanor.
    love, lindsay

  • Elissa
    November 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Cool! I have to admit that my first thought upon seeing the “before” picture was, “okay, at least ours isn’t that bad” though it’s getting there. As an architect, there’s one thing I have to mention- to have at least one window be one that you could get out of in an emergency. Glass block may provide privacy, but if there were ever were a fire at the top of the basement stairs, you’d be screwed-unless you have a separate door to the outside, in which case, please ignore.
    I can’t wait for the day when we can at least partially finish our basement. I’d love to be able to do laundry in a clean space. For the floor, VCT tile may not be the most environmentally friendly material (it is vinyl after all) but it’s cheap, fairly indestructible and you can do fun patterns with it. I’ve seen a lot of cute basement floors that have it and I’m thinking of using it in my own, once we get there.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 1:46 pm

      Oh, our basement was horrible. Way too much stuff.

      There’s a door to the outside in the laundry area. And vinyl is a consideration too… It’s so easy to do something cool with it.

      • Jules
        November 4, 2010 at 12:08 am

        My kitchen floors are VCT.

  • Mandy Ford
    November 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    How exciting!! Can’t wait to see the transformation. :)

  • megan
    November 2, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    yea!!! i’m so excited for you! and me for getting to see the progress!

    you will love the extra space!

  • Noel
    November 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    The bathroom shot made me laugh out loud, for real. I can’t wait to see the progress posts.

  • Catherine
    November 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Wow- great job guys! I can’t wait to see your finished results; I’m sure it’ll be awesome :) my favorite flooring for a basement is this:
    they actually put this in at my hair salon and it is amazing! Stained/sealed concrete looks killer too, but I’m sure anything you do will look great. I wish I had a basement to finish!!

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks for the link! I remembered seeing Candice Olson use vinyl ‘wood’ flooring in a basement redo, but I hadn’t looked for the actual product yet. I’ll have to take a look at it in person.

    • Shelly
      November 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm

      I can attest to the awesomeness of this product. We have it throughout the main areas of our house (floating on a slab foundation) — we have 3 kids, and are in the process of a remodel, and the floor holds up!

    • Nicole RJ
      November 3, 2010 at 12:51 pm

      We have a the same product, different ‘finish’, in our bathroom and love it! It’s also surprisingly warm.

      Good luck on your basement reno… can’t wait to see the progress! We’re in the middle of redoing our basement as well for pretty much the same reason, but no where near as big a job as you have ahead of you!

  • Momnivore's Dilemma
    November 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Wow, Nicole, impressive!

    I went thru a basement renovation in my first pregnancy, and a kitchen demo/remodel in my second pregnancy.

    I laughed seeing that “floating toliet” b/c our basement had the same thing under the stairs…we referred to it as the hobbit hole.

    Alas, my laundry room still is heinous…complete with lead paint peeling…

    Best of luck to you!

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      I’m surprised Brandon never named it the Hobbit hole too!

  • Katie W
    November 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    What an exciting accomplishment and upcoming project!!! Way to go Brandon!!!

    And an outhouse in the basement?! There are no words…

  • Lauren @ chezerbey
    November 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Ooh…exciting! I’ll be filing these posts away for when we do our basement remodel. You’re actually pretty lucky with that ceiling height…ours is somewhere between 6′ and 6′-6″ depending on where you stand and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves with old houses. Were people just shorter 100 years ago or did they just never think basements would be used as habitable space? It befuddles me.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      We’re very lucky with the ceiling height. Our house is 100 years old, and it’s uncommon to have such clearance.

  • Jessica Quirk
    November 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I’m really excited to watch your progress on this one! We are hopping to buy a house that’s a lot like yours and one day refinish the basement too! Keep us posted!

  • Kerry
    November 2, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Big kudos just for getting the basement cleared out, that’s a huge job! We finished the basement in our previous house, and my tips would be to add plenty of recessed lighting (you can get little LED’s and a lot of ideas from, we’re using these in our current remodel); always put in plenty of outlets; go with a flat finish drywall ceiling; add underfloor heating (I wish we had done this, even with wall heaters and central heating it was still cold for feet). It’s a big undertaking, but you’ll knock it out of the park — can’t wait to see all of your crafty additions!

  • Ann
    November 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Great idea! Is that a set of set-tubs that I see? I was wondering if people still had them. My grandparents had them in their kitchen of a 1910 Victorian. They had a counter on the top. I would keep them. A laundry sink is really necessary, and a deep one is really, really great. Two is even better. But this is from a person who would like to have a mangle. A hanging laundry rack would be nice above the sinks, so that you can air dry baby clothes and delicates. Have you ever seen Polished Pebbles laundry room? Beautiful, but the sink is too small. I am glad that you are doing this project. You will wonder how you ever lived without it. Any room for the kids to play down there? They are like dogs and cats, they always want to be where you are. Ann

    • Making it Lovely
      November 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm

      Yep, it’s a big double set-tub. I think we’re keeping it because I love the size, and I’d hate to replace it with a cheap plastic sink. I should hit the salvage shops though and see if I can find something prettier (and equally roomy).

      I’m going to dedicate a portion of the basement to be the craft area and play space for the kiddos. :)

  • Katie
    November 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    A finished basement! Whoo hoo! Our basement is finished and actually, that’s where our bedrooms are. Although we had some problems with the room designated to become the nursery. The drywall was recently patched and this week I’m painting and priming. And then we need new trim and carpet. Whew!

  • Annie Hall
    November 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    So I have a flooring recommendation, that may seem kind of odd. When we bought our house the basement and front porch steps had been covered with Nature Stone ( Initially I thought it was kind of odd, but I’m now a huge fan. Even though I recognize that it’s weird to be so enthusiastic about a floor.

    It evened out our floor.
    It is warmer than the concrete, which is nice for toes and added insulation.
    It’s nontoxic and emits no VOCs.
    It’s super easy to maintain and can be vacuumed or steam cleaned, so spills aren’t a big deal.
    It has a water tight seal, so it can stand up to flooding should something happen, which is what made carpet not a good idea.

    I can’t wait to see you put your savvy design touches on the basement. I’ve no doubt that you’ll make the space fir right in with the rest of your sweet bungalow.

  • Alisa
    November 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    I can beat your indoor outhouse for sure. We call ours the Silence of the Lambs bathroom. That bad.

    Marmoleum for the floors for sure. Those are in my dream basement.

    As for the ceiling, I’m too scared to cover ours up. In such an old house, I just KNOW I’m going to need to access the stuff inside sooner or later. I plan to go with those super cool suspended ceiling tiles that are embossed to look coffered, etc. Candace Olsen has used those too–we actually have a shop locally that specializes in them. Who knew you can make a drop ceiling look pretty!

    Good luck! I am SO jealous. I think finishing our basement is decades out…

  • Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d
    November 2, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    That really was scary down there. I thought our basement was bad before we finished it. Funny how a second baby pushes you into needing the basement. I was literally painting and having contractions…that down to the wire.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 3, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Yeah, I can see myself doing that…

  • Ann
    November 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Linoleum would be a good choice for the floor. It is green because I think it is made from sawdust and linseed oil. And the comments are right about heat in the floor, especially if you have kids.

  • Jenn
    November 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Your empty basement gives me hope that someday mine too can be empty. Sigh. Can’t wait to see the afters! :)

    November 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    First of all- where did you put everything? Did you have a major tag sale or what? Congrats- that’s quite a task. Best of luck with the reno- I can’t wait to see the results…I’m sure it will be an inspiring place to work.

  • Erika
    November 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    WOW! That is going to look awesome!!! Can’t wait to see the finished product.
    That picture of Brandon cracked me up! He looks about how I feel today! haha
    p.s. loving the red washing machine…

  • Melissa
    November 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Ooooh I can not wait to see how this turns out. Reminds me a lot of my basement right now! Very primative with a lot of junk but super nice washer and dryers!

  • Violet
    November 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I’m very excited to see the finished basement! My husband and I remodeled our 400 sq ft garage into my paper & ink studio, and I’m still not entirely done with it! We did decide to stain the concrete, since there were no cracks and we knew the room would also be used for my painting projects and our son’s playroom, ha! If you’re interested to see how far I’ve come, take a peek on my blog. Good luck!

  • Cait @ Hernando House
    November 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    That’s so exciting! I can’t wait until the day we get to turn our back porch into a sunroom with half bath comes, and I’m sure you’re equally (if not even more) ecstatic about your basement! :)

  • Shrie >> Lo & Behold
    November 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    DEFINITELY paint the concrete. Concrete floors are bomb, and are super easy to clean up!

  • Briana
    November 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Wow! Nice job on the basement clean-up. That must feel great to get out of the way. And that skirted utility sink is too cute – I would make it “a must”!

  • elizabeth
    November 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    How exciting!!!! Cant wait to see what you come up with for this space!

  • Circa1972
    November 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I feel for you! I’ve been working on our basement alone for months. So glad you’re able to get a contractor in there. It is alot of work. What little I’ve gotten done I’ve documented on my blog:
    Can’t wait to have a NICE laundry room to go down to. Just got the samples I ordered from FLOR, I want to do a “FLOR rug” in front of the washer/dryer where I do the most standing. I’m so excited to watch your progress on this project.

  • Kristina
    November 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I didn’t read all the comments, but as a fellow architect I say NOOOOOOO!!! to vinyl. It’s horrible, HORRIBLE! If you want a sheet good, use rubber.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 3, 2010 at 9:15 am

      A couple of other people have warned us to stay away from vinyl too. Why is it so bad? Environmentally? Doesn’t hold up? Ugly?

  • Kristina
    November 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Can’t wait to see the ‘After’ ‘After’ photos!

  • Nani
    November 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    wow this seems like an awesome project I cannot wait to see how it turns out!

  • Kristin
    November 2, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Congratulations! We just finished our Basement remodel and I am starting to decorate it. It was so much fun to move walls and pick out finishes and not have to do the work. :)
    Good Luck!

  • Emily
    November 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I live in the OP too. What’s with the basement outhouses here? So weird and they seem to always be smack-dab in the center of the room. I’ve never seen them anywhere else…

    • Making it Lovely
      November 3, 2010 at 9:14 am

      You have one too? So weird! I wonder why we have them in this area.

  • jbhat
    November 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I LOVED the before shot, because it made me feel better about our garage. Safety in numbers, you know. But then I just loved the AFTER shots, because your basement is gorgeous. What a terrific space, and I loved reading about your plans.

    How about cork for the floors, at least in some areas. Nice and soft.


  • Amanda Z.
    November 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Yay! Maybe this will be the inspiration I need to do something with my basement. Anyone know how to finish off a sometimes leaky peely-paint stone foundation???? Dungeon to living space??

  • molly
    November 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    How exciting! You have quite a lot of space, and pretty good light for a basement – I’m sure you’ll turn it into something amazing!

  • jjzach
    November 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    We used gray Rustoleum concrete floor paint with specks and I couldn’t be happier. Very inexpensive and looks nice.

  • Katie
    November 2, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    How exciting! I can’t wait to follow your progress and check out the end result!

  • Becky
    November 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    I would give anything, and I do mean ANYTHING to hire a contractor. Just once!! You lucky duck. I can’t wait to see it!

    • Making it Lovely
      November 3, 2010 at 9:11 am

      It’s a strange feeling… we’re so hands-on/DIY that it’s hard to just trust that things are getting done without you. We just can’t do it ourselves this time though, with a 1-1/2 year old in the house and me being pregnant too.

  • alicia
    November 2, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I am jealous! With a capital J!
    Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Emily S
    November 2, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Cannot wait to see what you do with this! Our new place has a basement that is finished a la 1970, so we’ve got lots of cosmetic work ahead. Looking forward to being inspired by you!

  • jHill
    November 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    wow. as someone who has been cleaning out our porch (our scary space) i say BRAVO, that is a major accomplishment!

  • Sara
    November 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Wow!! Your husband and family are awesome for clearing out the space!! You basement looks similar to ours, although it will stay unfinished for a while since we just purchased our home and have lots of projects on our list. Looking forward to some “after” photos!!

  • Robin @ 3 Acres & 3000 sf
    November 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Wow that’s a big transformation! And there’s even more to come! When we redo our basement we’re planning to use cork.

  • Beth
    November 2, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    How fun! I can’t wait to see it all come together. :)

  • Amy
    November 2, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Wow! I’m impressed already. What a job that was! I’m looking forward to seeing the transformation. Our basement is grody and scary. I hate being down there. The only nice part is the drywalled ceilings, but even those aren’t so lovely–they’ve holes cut in them all over the place where we had to access pipes, etc. Ugh.

    Oh, and we just installed the vinyl wood plank flooring in our bath and love it!

  • wanderluster
    November 2, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Okay, that indoor outhouse is the saddest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Did you actually ever use it? Hope you share the floor plan and all the finishes you chose. I love seeing how a room comes together from scratch.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 3, 2010 at 9:09 am

      I have never used it, but Brandon has. I would be too creeped out!

  • georgia
    November 3, 2010 at 2:58 am

    Well done for the progress so far! It will look amazing, I am sure. For the floor s I would stay away from vinyl, however easy/flexible it may appear… Have you considered polished concrete?

  • megan
    November 3, 2010 at 3:08 am

    Do you have a moodboard for your laundy room? i’d love to see…..i’m working on my laundry room at this moment! love the colour of your washing machines! mine is bleah…WHITE. thank god for my blue walls!

    • Making it Lovely
      November 3, 2010 at 9:08 am

      White appliances are nice though. I like ours in red, but they have the potential to look as dated in the future as harvest gold and avocado appliances look to us now.

  • Jessie
    November 3, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I’ll put in a plug for cement staining (Yes, it’s different than painting…) I did my living room floors in a pearl gray stain that I absolutely love!

  • Danielle
    November 3, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Personally, after dealing with a flooded finished basement twice (totally yuck) I would do concrete and paint it. You could even cut out lines to make it look like tile…I have seen this done and it looks fabulous, you can’t even tell unless you look real hard that it’s not tile. Also, there is a great eco-friendly concrete paint on the market…I’ve seen it too and it’s great and doesn’t off gas too much b/c the air in a basement can be pretty stagnant.
    Good luck!!!

  • gina
    November 3, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Moodboard please!! We refinsihed our basement and have glass block windows – any ideas on how to make basement windows not look like basement windows??

    • Making it Lovely
      November 3, 2010 at 9:06 am

      I don’t have one yet, but I will. As for the windows, I know what you mean. Brandon likes glass block because of the privacy and security, but they don’t do anything for me aesthetically. Right now I’m thinking I’ll probably put up sheer roller shades (ENJE from IKEA, most likely), but I’m going to wait and see how the space turns out before deciding.

      • gina
        November 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm

        We did bamboo shades and pulled them down further so the windows looks normal size then put curtains up high to flank each side – it “works” but for a better effect you need to make a fake window sill which seems nutty. The glass block is great for all those reasons but a regular window would be so nice for ventilation… I’m sure you will do something fabulous and I will instantly steal your idea!!!! Get to work :-)

  • LoriM
    November 3, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I thought my basement of shame was unique! Now I feel much better – how does the stuff accumulate??
    I’m really looking forward to seeing how you make your basement workspace lovely – it’s a real wish of mine to have a ‘room of my own’ to play in and the basement is my target spot.
    We have the same concrete sink duo – I was thinking of trying to stain the concrete a more pleasing color…

  • Jessica at Lavender and Lilies
    November 3, 2010 at 9:07 am

    So impressive! My basement is terrifying. It’s like silence of the lambs when he’s keeping the girl in that hole. Yeah it’s just like that.

  • Sara
    November 3, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Super Congrats! I can not wait to see the progress unfold on your blog. I know it will be nothing short of awesome. Yeah for everyone, especially you & Brandon.

  • Karrie
    November 3, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Congratulations on both getting the basement cleaned out and starting a remodel! Oh, how I would love just to have a DRY basement to store things. We have what’s called a dug out basement, so while there is a concrete floor and cinder block going half way up the wall, the upper half is rocks and dirt. I HATE even going down there.

  • anne
    November 3, 2010 at 10:38 am

    How exciting! Keep us posted.

  • christina winters
    November 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

    You have so many upcoming projects, I can’t wait! Are you going to be doing anything for BH&G for Christmas?

  • Evelyn
    November 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    This is wonderful news!!! I can’t wait to see what you come up with, I love that you take on major projects while pregnant. That’s hardcore.

    I was secretly hoping you two would redo the basement.

  • Kate at Big City Belly
    November 3, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    That red washer? Dreamy. Good luck!

  • justme
    November 3, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    We had a scarey toilet just like that in our basement when I was a kid- lots of spiders! Love that washer!

  • Jennifer
    November 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    this looks like so much fun (although definitely a lot of work)! can’t wait for the afters.
    with this much rearranging to make your current house work for your family’s needs, i assume you want to be there for a while. is it the plan to make this your forever house?

  • PriscilaPetersDecor
    November 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Huge basement! Good job.

  • Karlie
    November 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    WOW. Now that is inspiring! That is quite the cleanup! I’m so impressed that you’ve basically finished your list. I always make lists, never do anything on them… ha :)

  • Katrina Babic
    November 3, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    YEAH! good for you! :)
    will the basement revolve around those big bad wonderful pieces of red hottness? I have to say I am jealous of them :)

  • jja
    November 4, 2010 at 6:37 am

    How about industrila epoxy floor, easy to handle/clean, looks sleek and makes rooms even looking bigger…

  • Jessie
    November 4, 2010 at 7:42 am

    That is so exciting!!!! I am so happy for you guys! I can’t wait to see all the new decorated spaces! Woo-Hoo!

  • kristin
    November 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    at least your indoor outhouse is decent looking! one of my friend’s in college had a house with a toilet on a cement pedestal looking thing in the MIDDLE of their basement. and a shower that kind of looked like a port-a-potty. at least you have a slight chance of privacy (even though you’re ditching that plan now, which i deem smart).

    happy design/modeling

  • Maureen
    November 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I am beyond excited to see how this turns out. You guys have a lot going on, but so much to look forward to. Congrats (on your soon-to-be finished basement and your soon-to-arrive little guy)!

  • Nick Klaus
    November 5, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Wow! Even without the remodel, that’s a jaw-dropping transformation. I can’t help but laugh at the indoors outhouse. You’re lucky yours has a door: the one in my basement just has a cloth screen.

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  • thais
    November 5, 2010 at 9:58 am

    amazing job! can’t wait to see the results!

  • HollyP
    November 5, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Congrats! I hope the contractor suggested you be careful with the cracks in your basement, as they can let in floodwaters. I had smaller cracks than that in my basement and whenever the water table rose (at our house, every time it rained) water would come spurting out of the cracks.

    If you aren’t addressing the potential for flooding, then try to plan for how you’d salvage items in the event of a flood.

    Good luck and enjoy your new space!

  • Erika
    November 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    How exciting for you guys! I can’t wait to see the progress!
    Good Luck!

  • Natalie
    November 6, 2010 at 12:58 am

    How exciting!! I can’t wait to see what you do with the new space :) Will you be sharing inspiration pics?

  • Christina
    November 6, 2010 at 1:31 am

    If it isn’t too late (and I saw someone mentioned stain before) you should consider using a pigmented concrete. It’s probably one of the “greenest” choices for color and won’t wear away like paint. A major component of sustainable materials is life cycle. Painting concrete wares down, while an integral color will last forever. I’ve used it on commercial projects and enjoyed the finished product. The only reason to stain concrete is if you are coloring concrete that has already been poured. Your contractor should be able to help you with this decision.

    As an architect, I would not recommend vinyl composite tile. It looks cheap and commercial and we use it as a last resort (typically schools with low budgets). There are arguments whether it should be considered a green material, and most arguments sway the opposite direction. It has the potential to off-gas (think plastic shower curtain) and is glued down with adhesives that never completely dry, making it possible to replace tiles when damaged. I’ve seen tiles damaged in schools by moisture where the edges flare and the tiles have a significant “dip” in the center. VCT is definitely a cheap fix, but finishing concrete might be a better option.

    If you have the opportunity to install some type of radiant heating (tubing or mats) you might enjoy the basement more in your cold Chicago environment! Otherwise, nice plush rugs or carpet tiles are the best way to prevent potential water damage. No fans on wall to wall carpet and no sneaky mold. If you want to use sheet goods, Linoleum is best. Unfortunately it doesn’t do well when moisture gets trapped underneath either! Ceramic or Porcelain tile is another option if water is a concern. Since tiles and grout are porous, moisture is able to escape. Hopefully I didn’t overwhelm you…

    Good Luck!

  • Lily @ Birch + Bird
    November 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    How exciting for you to get a nice big studio space! We’ve been putting off our basement reno for months now…where to put all the stuff is the problem! Our basement is like Monica’s secret closet, if you remember that old Friends episode…scary clutter! Good luck on your final flooring decisions…we’re likely going to paint our concrete…and congrats on having a contractor this time ’round! Can’t wait to see the “After”…

  • Lor
    November 7, 2010 at 7:44 am

    So exciting – we’ll be living vicariously through you. To add my two cents, I wouldn’t do glass blocks. They may be private and secure, but if you will be spending a lot of time down there, I think they are disorienting. I love being able to pull my sheers to the side and look out if there is something I want to see. With glass block, you feel a bit in limbo – no connection to the outside.

  • pve
    November 8, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Wonderful, we finished our basement and I chose tile, which I love. We put up walls, ceiling, lights and it is our family room! We love it.

  • Grace
    November 8, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Wow! I am really looking forward to seeing the after shots. That is a nice space to work with.

  • Jaimie
    November 9, 2010 at 9:10 am

    We did a big basement renovation, including digging down, and it was a messy expensive adventure that was SO WORTH IT in the end to have the extra space in a home we’ve already done so much work on. You’ll love it in the end!

  • Navy Bean
    November 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Sooo exciting! I can’t wait to see your finished product… I know it will look AMAZING!!

  • Monica
    November 9, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    W-O-W! That was some before picture and I can’t wait to see progress shots. Our basement is a big sore for me and we just started sifting through our stuff and organizing it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Melissa
    November 10, 2010 at 10:31 am

    We have the same washer and dryer in the same exact color! Love them! Can’t wait to see how the basement turns out!!!!! Thanks for sharing.

  • » The Basement Floor Plan Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so.
    November 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    […] already seen photos of the empty basement, but now I have a floor plan to share with you. I drew it to scale and […]

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