So we’ve been saying for about, oh, 9 years now that we are going to finish the basement. Probably the last five years or so, we’ve been “really, really” serious.
One problem: okay, two problems, really. One, we have children who, for some reason, continue to need to be fed and clothed and driven to birthday parties and gymnastics classes. Two, we have absolutely no building skills whatsoever.
A lot of our friend have finished their own basements, though, and we thought we MUST be able to do it to, only, no. It was not happening. Every time we went down there – despite a rather clear vision of the project – we’d imagine ourselves cutting wood? Probably? And then attaching it to the concrete floor…somehow? With some sort of tool or device? Perhaps?
And that’s about as far as we got.
So this year, we decided to hire someone to do it for us. Not necessary all of it, but at least to get us started – maybe to do the framing and drywall, and we’d do the finishes, or something like that. Just to get the project kick-started, you understand. Not that we were not PERFECTLY CAPABLE (i.e. not at all capable) of becoming tool masters. ONLY because we were so very very busy. Orphan Black is not going to binge-watch itself, you know.
I will not bore you with the details of our search for a basement finisher, suffice to say that there is a wide, wide range of prices and levels of finishing out there.
Here is our basement, in its raw form:
(Oh, how our little ones loved to ride their trikes in a loop around the staircase…good times, good times.)
This is how we wanted it finished. Closing the area to the left (where the electrical panel is) to be a storage room; closing the area to the right (where the furnace is) to be a work room/tool room; then finishing off the stairs, hallway, and one very big room across the back to be a kids’ lounge/TV/craft/toy area.
Our basement was already framed and insulated along the outside walls, so the project only involved framing the interior walls. There were only two doors to add. There’s no bathroom down there or any fancy features and we only wanted the bare basics of finishes (plus a bunch of pot lights).
We considered this to be a pretty small project – granted, we know nothing about construction but we received quotes on this project ranging from reasonable to WILL YOU BE WALLPAPERING THE CEILING IN GOLD LEAF, JESUS. (Seriously – one quote was for $50 000. Apparently we would really, really notice the QUALITY of the finishes. SERIOUSLY.)
We chose a guy who we really, really like, who has done other basements in the area, and we’re off to the races – he’s been here all week working away on the framing, insulation, and drywall, plus an electrician friend of his has been in to do the wiring and lighting. I am already amazed at how much work everything is. I estimate just the framing – SO MANY little boxes around all kinds of ceiling crap, GAH – probably represents at least eight weekends worth of our life.
Hiring someone else, who actually knows what they’re doing, to do a fantastic job, and get it done while our children are still living at home? WORTH IT.
Surprisingly, there’s still quite a lot of work left for us to do. For starters, we did hire our awesome guy to just do part of the project – so we’re on the hook for finishing the flooring and trim, and painting the place, once it’s done. In the meantime, I’m kind of trapped in the house – I trust the guys to be alone in the house while I pop out to pick up the kids, but I’m still not sure about leaving them for the whole day, and at the least I have to be here to let them in and see them out at the end of the day.
Plus, we’re swamped with decision making – so far we’ve had to decide the location of every outlet (plus meet code), lay out the location of every pot light (working around beams and heat ducts), decide what the heck to do with the stairs (built-in shelving underneath, opening to the hallway), pick out various fixtures and switches and doorknobs and doors, and deal with minor construction issues and awkward corners.
It’s work, but also fun…will post some pictures once we get to the really fun decorating part.