Existing: The basement is “partially finished” in exactly the same era as the rest of the house.  In effect, it has a play room finished in linoleum tile, knotty pine and wall paper walls acoustical tile ceiling.  Further exploration when I started to pull down the horrid acoustic tile ceiling indicates that the “finished” the basement later – maybe in the 1960’s due to the odd collection of 60’s era Madison Public Library books I found hidden in the ceiling.

before_den-1 before_den-2 before_den-3 before_den-4

The “half bath” is a toilet and shower unit that are open to the unfinished laundry area and pretty much un-usable for that reason.

existing-laundry existing-bath-1

There’s also this odd extra room clad in faux wood panelling.  It could be a bedroom – if it had an egress window.  Perhaps it was an office.  Frankly its pretty unappealing.  That bump out in the corner housed the oil tank for the original furnace.

existing-bedroom existing-bedroom-2 existing-bedroom-1

The lower ceiling area in the upper right corner is an access panel for the bathroom plumbing above.  I plan to re-configure the room so that this lower area has a closet underneath it and the room can have a consistent ceiling level.

Here’s the existing plan for reference.

design basement floor plan

The Plan:  I’ll transform this basement from a chilly storage space (and that includes the finished rooms) into an integral part of the house – an extra bedroom, a fully functional 3/4 bath, and a den for multimedia viewing.  About half the basement will stay “basement” but get a face lift – a nice scrubbing and new floor to ceiling paint job.  Here’s what I  plan to do with the space.

Progress:  Step one is to pull down that horrible acoustic ceiling tile.  I cheerfully took a crowbar to it at the end of January only to freak out that I might be filling my lungs with mystery asbestos.  I paused, took a sample and dropped it off at the State Lab of Hygiene for testing.  Fast forward two weeks and I got my answer – nothing but harmless wood pulp.  So I gated Roxie into one corner of the basement and got out my utility knife, crow bar and an old chisel.  The panels are easy to pull down but incredibly dirty.  Its fully mask-and-goggles work for sure.

At this point I’ve pretty much completely stripped the original finishes and walls.  The ceiling tiles are long gone and so are the 2×2 furring strips.  The plumbers have come in and busted out the old toilet and shower plumbing and laid in new PVC drain lines for my the bathroom layout shown above.  I even remembered to have a vent set into the excavation for future radon remediation!