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This winter, my husband Arriz (Arriz+co.) and I are diving into our basement renovation. After six years of living with a tenant down there, we decided to take over the space and turn it into a working home office that will also house our laundry and storage rooms. There will still be a 3-piece bathroom and a kitchenette, so that if we ever decide to sell, the space can also work as a nanny suite.

Here is what we're working with:

The entrance to the basement from our backyard. It is so uninspired and the green tumbled slate tiles and pine treads are entirely dated. To the left there will be a new 3-step stair case leading into the home's upper level.

In doing this we'll have to get rid of the built-in cat litter boxes and closet by our back door to create flow between floors. I can't tell you how excited we are to be able to keep the cat litter on the lower level of the house! And we'll finally have a proper mudroom. No more tramping snow and ice onto the hardwood when we come home.

This is the second "secret" staircase that leads to our laundry room at the other end of the basement. It is super narrow so I think we'll only use it on the odd occasion once the reno is complete. Our plan is to open things up in here a bit and get rid of the builder-basic doors and railings.

And this is the old laundry room. Totally boring! Yellowed vinyl tiles, leftover kitchen cabinets and no work surfaces. Not a happy place to do laundry.

My former tenant used this space as a living room. As you can see, it's fairly small and there are some unfortunate vents that make the room low and awkward. A huge portion of our reno involves moving the vents to maximize the ceiling height. The furnace sits behind the futon here and by moving it to an outside wall, this room will double in size.

Here is a shot back into the living room. The wall on the right is the furnace room that will be torn out — along with that old wall to wall carpet!

This tiny corner kitchen will be ripped out and the space will be opened up to the old living room.

There is a long hall (with more vinyl tile) that connects the bedroom to the living room and kitchen. The door on the left is the bathroom but it will have to move locations in the new plan. And as you can see, the basement has low foundation bench walls around the periphery, as it was never fully dug down. But we've decided not to dig down any further. For our needs, the extra cost (about $40,000!) is not worth it. Instead our goal is to move the vents to the side, minimize the foundation benches by hiding them behind built-ins and panelling, and then play up the cosiness and layer in some character.

This is the current bedroom that will also be opened up and all of those bookshelves have to go, not to mention the bad basement window in here.

This is the totally awkward bedroom closet that will be torn out.

The bathroom is a decent size but nondescript — pretty much builder-basic, especially the tub. In the new scheme, there will be a walk-in shower in place of the tub.

Stay tuned for my roundup of inspiration shots for the basement reno, coming soon! Plus, learn tips from H&H editors for renovating basements.

Photo credits:
1, 3-11. Suzanne Dimma
2. Rob Fiocca


Suzanne Dimma

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