June 19, 2012

Rowhouse Reno: Basement

When we bought this house, we knew we would be taking on a huge task with the basement. It was wet, moldy and outfitted head-to-toe in fake ’70s wood panelling. I only want to dedicate one post to it because I don’t want to discuss it ever again!

But, I must say, our contractor made it as painless as possible. He brought in an excellent team and within weeks, the water problem was gone and I had a beautiful new bathroom and laundry area. We started to see the promise of this house coming together. Having an excellent contractor can make or break your renovation experience.

But it’s great that I found an expert in foundation repair from a good services like Foundation Repair Ottawa that really helped me solve the basement issue!

There was a lot that happened in those couple of weeks. I’ll break it down for you:

Step 1: Unfinish the finished basement.

Before: Dark, panelled and wet.

After: Personally I think it looks much better! But it was daunting to come home to this scene and imagine that it would turn out okay.

Step 2: Add weeping tile on the inside of the east wall.

Since it’s a rowhouse, everything is done from the inside. This did solve a lot of the water problems and however tedious the task was, I’m happy that our home is so much healthier now.

Step 3: Dig out the basement entry, replace drain and keep water away from the house.

Again, boring but necessary! There’s no point in spending a lot of time and money renovating your house if it isn’t dry!

And now we have a bigger door, too!

Step 4: Replace the furnace.

Getting comfortable with energy savings. You can contact a furnace replacement service for this.

Step 5: Replace the dangerous stairs.

I didn’t want to show anyone the basement for fear they would fall down the stairs. A new set of pine stairs for us means everyone can enjoy our lovely basement.

Before: They looked harmless but it was like going through a funhouse when you walked down — each step was a different height.

During: Hoisting, digging and filling. Don’t worry, kitty oversaw the entire process.

The stairs were actually built off-site and delivered like this. And here is the team figuring out the install.

After: Much better!

Step 6: Demolish and rebuild the bathroom.

Okay, this was actually fun because we could finally choose some finishes. I’d had enough of furnaces and weeping tile… this helped me get through.

Before: Matching yellow.

Progress: Starting from scratch.

I like this photo because it looks like I did all the work… I can paint very carefully. It was my colleague Cameron MacNeil’s idea to put in the marble inset shelf. I used some marble threshold tile — each piece was under $10!

For a bathroom with no windows, basic subway tile made everything bright. I love the level faucet set from Moen. We bought this sink from Addison’s in Toronto — I wanted to add a bit of style to the otherwise clean and simple design, and I like the vintage style of this sink. Now I just need to find the perfect mirror.

After: Now I need to find some pretty hooks and baskets to pull it all together.

Step 7: Set up the laundry area.

I can put up with a lot of inconveniences but off-site laundry was not one of them.

Before: Not happening.

After: These machines make me very happy!

If you missed my first blog posts, click here, and stay tuned for my next post July 3rd!

Photo credits:
1-19. Mandy Milks