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Our house had a large family room upstairs, but we didn’t have a second space upstairs for toy storage and to store all of my craft supplies. Basically, our first floor often was a disaster with toys and craft supplies everywhere. A few years after owning our home we decided to tackle the job of finishing our basement to give us more storage and a second living space.
We decided this wasn’t a job we wanted to tackle completely on our own. We hired out most of the job, which included electrical, lighting, drywalling, and adding a drop-ceiling. We did the final touches, like the painting, floors, and built-ins, which saved us a ton of money.
We wanted the basement to be a place where we hung out regularly, and I know myself. I don’t like to be cold, and I knew if it was cold in the winter I wouldn’t want to be down there, so we splurged and had a fireplace installed. We loved it! For our family, it was worth it to make the space more usable.
Like I said above, storage was a big consideration for the space. We had three large built-in projects in the basement to maximize storage.
First, I want to say, this was not one of those “make the pictures of the before look really bad so the after looks good” situation. Apparently, we just had a really bad camera. I have no idea why we took such terrible pictures, but they are all we have.
So, basically, here we just did a wall of bookcases because we have a ton of books. We were quite pleased with how the finished product came out. The key to this was in the details.
To start, we got out a piece of paper and measuring tape and just went to town laying everything out. This was definitely a “measure twice, cut once” type of project because it required a lot of cuts and fitting things together.
We first built a base along the ground that spanned the width of our unit. We built all the bookcases individually out of plywood, and then placed them all on the base, butting up next to each other, and screwed them together. We used 1 1/2″ or 2″ trim strips to cover up all the rough edges of the plywood and to give the face a finished look. We added an 8″ board along the top, with crown molding at the top edge and half round on the bottom edge to make the crown molding appear chunkier. Base molding was then added to the base. Lastly, we trimmed out the side of the bookcase with edge molding and quarter round.
My husband was not keen on all these extra details that I begged him to do, but after the fact those details were the icing on the cake. It was well worth the extra time it took.
I wanted an area where I could sit and do crafts, we could play a family game, or the kids could work on homework. This inspired the banquette seating. Again, we used plywood, and the same concept with trimming out with edge pieces, and finishing interior edges with quarter round. The banquette opened up so there was increased storage inside. We were all about maximizing storage!
Media storage was an important component of our basement. My husband and son enjoy playing video games, and we wanted a place to watch movies together. We attacked this area a little different. We bought unfinished cabinets from Menards for the bottom half of the built-in unit. The top half we built the shelving like we did elsewhere, with plywood and edge trim. For the countertop, we used a piece of plywood, and put a piece of trim on the edge to make it appear chunkier. We did this all very economically.
We added a whole wall of closets with shelves on the inside to hold the craft materials, games, toys, etc. That was phenomenal in terms of hiding all the mess. We also had a separate closet hiding our water heater and furnace. My husband installed standard closet doors to conceal the junk.
My husband had never installed tile before, but we chose a tile floor that looked like wood for our basement flooring. We wanted something that would not be ruined by water. This was quite a labor of love for him. I think if we knew more about flooring we would have also considered luxury vinyl tile because it would probably be a little warmer, but I loved the look.
Fun kid spots
A place for the kids to play was definitely a central theme of our basement. The pink kitchen which had a prominent home in our basement was built for my daughter by me when she was five. I modeled it after the Pottery Barn kitchen, but made it out of plywood. I learned how to use a circular saw, router, kreg jig, jigsaw, etc. It was a fun project.
We also added a secret hide-out under the stairs so they had a little spot they could escape to. I painted a small hutch I found at Goodwill. It fit perfectly over the cut-out in the wall for the space under the stairs. We added hinges to the hutch and made it swing open like a door. When you closed it, you couldn’t tell there was anything behind it. I think my husband and I were more giddy about it than my kids. I have more pictures of the secret hide-out here.
Finally, our family hangout space. We purchased a huge sectional so we could have family and friends hang out with us down there.
This basement was such a huge labor of love, and we put our heart and soul into it, and then we sold the house! We have a new house now that we are slowly adding our personal touches to.
Hope you enjoyed our basement remodel. Thanks for stopping by!