We’ve worked out our plan for moving into the basement. Part of that is figuring out how we’ll lay out the space, given that eventually it will be an entertaining space, not an apartment. To that end we’ve come up with a way to integrate some temporary bedrooms into the plan without having to change around the walls we want in the finished product.

Basement Apartment Plan

Basement Apartment Plan

In the plan you can see some of the walls are white and some are green. The white walls represent the finished product. We’ll build these walls with the intention of leaving them there. The green walls will partition off some bedrooms and will be temporary (they won’t actually be green). We won’t anchor them to the floor and we’ll take them out as soon as we’re done living there. The top left is where we’ll have a kitchen and laundry space. We’ll put in a utility sink that will serve for the kitchen but we can leave it there for future use. The laundry is there now and it can stay there until we finish the second floor, since it can share the sink plumbing and vent out the back window. We’ll put a counter on top of the washer and dryer to use as a kitchen prep space.

The wall in the bottom right corner is to close off the gas meter, which is a little scary and we don’t want the kids to play around it, hang from it, break it, blow up the house, etc. Eventually, People’s Gas is supposed to move it to the outside, but for now it’s stuck where it is. We may try to come up with something simpler, but this also gives us some closet space, which is otherwise lacking. We’ll set up shelving where we can, but storage will definitely be at a premium.

To get to this point we need the electrical run, the windows replaced, the concrete floor dug up and the foot of dirt removed. Then we start putting stuff in: the interior weeping system, new plumbing (that’s when we have to move out), gravel, rigid foam, wire mesh, PEX tubing for radiant floor heat, and new concrete. With the floor in place we can build the permanent walls and finish the bathroom so we can move back in. Then we put in the sink, build the basement stairs and the temporary walls, and finally move into the basement!

There will be a lot of other projects along the way, some big and some small. Near term I need to install bracing between the first floor joists before the electrical is run, install new lintels over two of the front bay windows, and try to patch some leaks in the gutters to stop water from coming into the basement. We may take the concrete out through the front window to a dumpster on the street, but to remove all the dirt and bring in the new gravel and concrete we’ll tear down the back porch and the garage. We’re also changing the back basement steps including a new retaining wall, and after we lower the floor we need a new back door. Even with some chunks of this work being done by contractors, it’s safe to assume that this will take us most of the year.

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