Basement Remodel- Fall/Winter 2021

Despite a heavy year of remodeling in 2020, I had some itches to keep improving our place and space in 2021. We have an old house so things are true like…aging siding, out-of-date, tacky, and uninviting basement.

Seemed our options are to “just move” or make it more of what we want here.

We love living HERE, on “the Terrace”, with our neighbors, our family, this community, these people…

With so many Angie ads during NPR shows, I took to my phone one fall afternoon and set up some meetings with contractors. The siding bids and conversations were so expensive and high-pressure.

The answer to my general contractor questionnaire brought us Sam. He turned out to be very agreeable, a “Sure” kind of guy with a good heart and a hard work ethic. He worked alone most days and with his quiet sons on a few weekends. The day he hung the drywall ceiling was impressive.

Sam walked into the basement filled with toys, piles of stuff, and an exposed closet with the washer and dryer. The HVAC central station is in the middle of the basement and the ceiling is eight feet in height except for the dropped pieces due to venting which are a dowdy six. These were non-negotiables- no change possible. There was tile on the flooring and a bunch of missing drywall where they had done a pipe repair. Oh and the kids and I painted the stairs our first year here.

Sam was going to change the 1970s wallpaper, sponge paint, popcorn ceiling, and shiny brown trim work. Laura and James stayed late after family dinner one night and helped us imagine a new configuration- to build a laundry room and storage. When asked, Sam said “Sure” and the price doubled. We also added some extra lighting at that point.

After four weeks, we had a  smooth ceiling, new drywall in places, and fresh paint. Thank you Sam!

Then Drew and I decided to take up the tile. It was extremely slow going and required many a swing of the sledgehammer. After the tile pieces were up (one night- five hours’ work), we started to remove the glue. This required an enormous amount of chiseling. About 15 reps of chiseling would remove three inches of glue. Drew and I worked for three days.

On day two, in the back corner of the basement, I started to weep. We had lost my Granddad earlier that week (November 29th) and right there and then I felt it the most. I paused and cried,  then scraped and cried.

Thanks to Angie, we found a carpet installer who was willing to piece together the repurposed carpet I had picked up in October from my generous floor-selling neighbors. Free carpet!

We were moving back in just before Christmas, and Covid.

The overall sentiment now is that the basement is warm, inviting, and comfortable. It’s brighter and more functional. We have space to launder, store, play, and hang. Horray! The plan is to stay here until Andi graduates from high school..we hope there is lots of fun in the basement these next five years.




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