Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Basement Demo- A Photo Essay


Many of you have inquired about how the basement renovation is progressing.  So here is how.

Yes, this is our very scary boiler, and you can see why we are counting days till it is gone!

So far so good!  There have been some fun treasures:  a tobacco pouch and rolling papers from 1918, boards with the original street name written on them (Logan Blvd. used to be Humboldt Blvd.), some chunks of coal from the old coal-fired furnace.  And we have been able to refine the design of the space.

One of the things that has changed significantly is the plan for the feel of the whole area.  We had planned for your basic finished basement, all drywall and snugly insulated, with hardwood floors.  But we believe in letting the building tell us what she wants to be, and apparently she wants to have something of an old-school industrial feel.  First she revealed a lovely solid steel structure, including one post we didn't even know was there!  The steel is quite hefty, secured with huge rivets that make us all think of grand ships, and large square beveled footplates.  They seemed a shame to cover up, so we decided to keep them exposed.  When our HVAC team convinced us that we would want radiant in-floor heating down there, which is essentially tubes for hot water that get embedded in the concrete sub-floor, we realized that with the exposed steel beams, perhaps an acid-stained concrete treatment might be a better choice for flooring, especially since we love rugs and much of the floor will get covered anyway.  

The best and most exciting choice is to leave all of the gorgeous stone foundation and brick exposed.  These craftsman did such an incredible job, and it is truly beautiful to look at.  And since the foundation is a good 3 feet thick and the brick is four courses of masonry, there is actually no need to insulate the walls.  We'll have both the floor heating and the new forced air heat, so it should be plenty cozy.  Charming Suitor and I are thrilled with these changes, it is taking the basement from a pretty functional yet generic looking space to one that will have some special architectural details and true beauty.  And even better, it all involves just letting the building be what it already is, which is always the most affordable choice.

The basement will contain:

Charming Suitor's wine cellar.  This is actually a two-room space, incorporating the old canning room/root cellar that is under the front porch stairs, and a small room next to it.  CS is in the midst of planning the racking system and figuring out the right equipment, and is having a ball.  It is going to be such a terrific thing for him to have his collection in the house and not four miles away in storage!

An exercise room.  I know, I know, everyone always says that it doesn't get used, but we have the room and we already have some equipment, and CS and I have been going to the gym together, so we hope we can keep up the habit of working out as a team, and maybe even increase the amount if we can just head downstairs to do it.  Maybe we will be the exception!

A media room.  I hate having huge TVs in the middle of your living room like a big black hole, so I'm really excited to have a designated place for movie nights and sports.  Plus right now, we can only get three people on our couch, so when we have people over to watch something, it is sort of uncomfortable and annoying.

Two guest bedrooms.  Because really?  All I want is two little things.  I want to be able to have one Thanksgiving with all of my family and the entire Charming family here in the house for the weekend.  And I want to be able to tell dinner party guests to feel free to bring PJs, come for dinner, stay for breakfast!

A bathroom.  This is fairly self-explanatory.

Storage, laundry, and mechanicals.

You can see how this project is going to take the rest of our natural lives.

That's all the news from here in the loud grinding whacking thumping vortex in which I'm living!

More soon,
Your Polymath


  1. Oh, FINE. I clicked over because I want to re-do our basement, and HOLY HELL.

    Now I'm curled up in the fetal position, whimpering, and it's ALL YOUR FAULT. /doocecaps

  2. I can admire this with ease because I will never, ever do anything like it. It's outside my capabilities and I know it. Sometimes you just have to admit your limitations.
    I can't wait to see pictures when this is done. I love the industrial looking stuff. There's this resturant in town that has the COOLEST huge stainless steel fan...a smaller version would look great in all of that.