Basements – A Place for Home Reno Disasters

In this part of the world, most houses have basements. They are usually delivered to a new home buyer in a pristine, unfinished state. The basement is an empty canvas just waiting to be tenderly converted into a series of rooms that no architect would ever stoop to designing. Basements are generally developed by owners who have had very little experience in any of the trades needed to do such things. Basements usually have small windows, and slightly lower than average ceilings, so the comparison of a basement to a cave is fitting.

Our basement met most of that criteria when we moved in. It had been “developed”, but not very well. So over the years, we have modified the room placements, upgraded the materials, and improved the overall ambiance. This basement has been part of our lives for about nineteen years now, so it has seen it’s fair share of comings and goings. Everyone in the family has called it “home” when they were temporarily between homes somewhere out in the real world. A few relatives have done the same thing. And a steady flow of “stuff” comes and goes with the people and purpose that is prevalent at the time.

As the Never Ending Reno continues, we are  focused this week (or probably month) on the basement. It is our goal to sort through all the stuff that resides there and either keep it or dispose of it. To do this, it is important to decide what purpose each of the rooms now serves, and then put the right stuff in the right room. So, we designated part of the basement as an office for my Spousal Unit’s Company. And part of it holds the elaborate sump pump system that keeps us high and dry. Part of it is a dual purpose room – a dark room for the photographers in the family, and a wine making room for the drinkers. There are a couple of bedrooms, the obligatory bathroom, a sauna and shower room, a furnace room and a workshop. And the Family Room, which I will get to later.

It is likely hard to imagine how this many rooms could fit into a basement space, but as I said, no architect would approve of this floor plan. But you truly can create quite a few rooms if you don’t have much hallway, and if each room leads into the next. For example, to get to the sump room you pass through the Office, then the Workshop, and then the Dark Room. Or, you can go Office, Furnace room, Dark Room, Sump room. To get to the Bunkroom, you go Office, Family room, Bunkroom. As you may have gathered, the Office is right in the middle and it has doors everywhere you look.

As I mentioned earlier, the Family Room is the prime focus right now – mostly because it houses an extremely large and heavy sofa that required several strong people and access through a window in order to get it into the room. It was on the list of things to find a new home for. But getting it out of the basement was not a task we looked forward to, so I decided it would just have to stay, and I would work around it – and the treadmill, and the deep freeze. Besides, the sofa, and it’s matching chair, were the first new pieces of upholstered furniture we bought after we were married, and there is some sentimental attachment.

The sofa and chair were modern in their day, and the busy floral fabric was all the rage. Of course, our grown up children absolutely detest this furniture, but they aren’t the ones that still take afternoon siestas on the sofa…

So the sofa and chair are going to stay, and the walls of the room are going to be decorated with framed photos of the family. And that is why it is going to be called the Family Room… which sounds much nicer than the Treadmill Room, or Deep Freeze Room or, as the kids might call it – the Big Ugly Couch Room.