Old Stone House

Is Refinishing A Basement Really Restoring?

September 20, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 9:28 pm

light.jpgWe are embarking on a new frontier – restoring the basement. We really cant call it restoring the basement for if we were really restoring it, we would backfill it with 4 feet of dirt, resurrect the coal chute and add a few families of raccoons. Likewise, it’s not really finishing, as the past owners already attempted to do that, and we are now left to remove their handiwork. It seems that we are refinishing… Either way, the undercurrent of everything I’ll ever post still rings true here; somebody did a poor job the first time so now we’re left to redo it properly… and we hate them.

The quick history.

The house was built in 1888, and as far as we can tell, so was the original ‘summer’ kitchen located at the back of the principal dwelling. The original kitchen (what we can see of it) seems to have been built of the same stone the rest of the house was made of, so we’ve assumed that the kitchen was added about the same time. The kitchen has been ‘winged’ out to create a space that is approximately 12’x30’ (Another reno that will need to be addressed…). Beneath the kitchen lies the first of our two basements, the one we’re refinishing, and is accessible via a set of stairs running along the wall in the kitchen itself. The other is our permanent workspace, and is accessable via a small passageway.

At some point in the not too distant past, someone attempted to finish the basement beneath the kitchen – adding some electrical outlets, throwing up some drywall, and laying down some emerald green peel-n-stick tiles. As a semi-finished storage space this room presumably worked well, however, you can see down the stairwell while standing in the kitchen, and the view is dreadful, as well there is a small window in the far corner of the basement that sits entirely below grade, and has recently become the cause of many a flood during each and every thunderstorm. Needless to say, the room needs to be redone. Oh, and it’s butt-ugly.

The plan.

Our proposal is simple – we are going to create a nice warm living space that will allow the kids to romp about, hide clutter, and most importantly, help with our abysmal lack of storage (old house = few closets). We are going to add a 13’x4’ closet along the length of one wall under the stairs, and extend the space around the corner into the cavity beneath it. We will replace said stairs (I temporarily made the day we moved in – to protect us from sliding to our doom), with something that isn’t built with finishing nails, and fill in the window that seems to be causing all the water problems. All the while, we’ll be searching for ways to improve any utilities that we can access, and insulate wherever needed.

At this point, we are just waiting to start… It is so easy to live with the bad in light of the effort needed to make something good…

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