Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Bath Page 1 of 2

Closing Up the Walls! A Basement Update

IMG_9027

IMG_9022

IMG_9131

IMG_9078

I have not talked about the basement renovation for a while. Progress has been made, just not at the pace we were hoping for. But today, I think it has improved significantly compared to our last update and finally worth another post.

IMG_9023

First, drywall! The picture above shows the wall between the basement living space and the utility room. We took off the paneling here and some of the wall framing to open it to the living room. Below is how it looked like after we added soundproofing insulation around the furnace:

IMG_8913

Now, fresh drywall covered the insulation, I-beam, and the new framing around the doorway:

IMG_9025

We also removed all the ceiling drywall in the basement for new electrical and sound insulation. Since then, we have been looking at a sea of brown for a couple months:

IMG_8817

You can imagine my excitement when the ceiling drywall was hung. Bright and smooth ceiling made this space feel like a room again, even without paint:

IMG_9030

More drywall happened in the master bedroom. In addition to the ceiling, the newly framed soffit was covered and all the remaining walls were smoothed out:

IMG_9037

The vertical column next to the door contains the supporting column for the I-beam. It was exposed after we removed the closets dividing the two bedrooms.

IMG_9045

Inside the new soffit are the horizontal I-beam, a big air duct, and the HVAC pipes.

IMG_9048

A much improved look from this:

IMG_5877

The recessed lights and smooth ceiling definitely made the ceiling feel higher. Below is the space below Slav’s office, which will be our future walk-through closet.

IMG_9074

The space next to the bathroom will host our king bed and night stands. The pocket door to the right leads to the new master bath:

IMG_9113

IMG_9075

IMG_9063

Speaking of the new master bath, it is a complete different space now with the walls closed up:

IMG_9086

Under the window will be a shower area, hence the pebbled flooring and the red water-proof coating. The double-sink vanity and a big medicine cabinet will be mounted on the blue coating-covered wall:

IMG_9061

Neighboring the two doors will be the toilet. We asked the contractor to add a electrical outlet behind the toilet for a bidet attachment.

IMG_9063

It is not our preference to have the toilet so close to the doorways. In another words, I’d rather to have the vanity here and the toilet next to the shower. But the ceiling at this corner is lower due to an air duct, so it make the most sense to place the toilet under the lower ceiling. The pocket door will save some space in front of the toilet.

IMG_9085

With all the surfaces smoothed out in the bathroom, our contractor has started tiling. The floor tiles were completed last week:

IMG_9111

We chose a smokey black/grey color for the floor and pebbles in a similar color for the shower area. I think they complement each other nicely.

IMG_9129

Next week we expect to see tiles on the walls. The same dark floor tile will be carried up onto the wall neighboring the bedroom, budding against the pocket door. The end wall and the vanity wall will go white. We want the bathroom to look simple and sleek with big contrast.

I did not expect finishing drywall to be such a significant step in the basement renovation – all the sudden, all the rooms look like rooms again, which invites all the imagination on how they should look eventually. We still have lots of big decisions to make: paint colors, flooring, shower doors, bedroom closet layout, the color and finish of the stairs, and whether to drywall over the big section of paneling in the living space. Each one of these factors can drastically change the feeling of the basement.

IMG_9106

IMG_9130

IMG_9096

For example, what should we do with the living space paneling? It will not stay brown for sure. Slav insists in covering it with drywall, but I would like to paint it white first to see if they can disappear with a lighter color. What do you think? Drywall or paint?

Since we completed the demo, almost 4 months have passed. This basement renovation has been a slow and painful process, but nevertheless, I am happy to be at a point that we enjoy thinking about the basement again. In the next a few posts, we will discuss how we are gonna use the living space, the flooring choice, and the potential bedroom layout. At the meantime, I am impatiently waiting for our contractor to finish tiling and wrap up the bathroom. Because after that, it will be DIY time again!

IMG_9080

IMG_9023

Master Planning

IMG_8919

How are we in June already? The days in April and May were such a blur. We spent most of the April researching about basement renovation, interviewing contractors, and comparing bids. May was entirely devoted to making decisions on everything basement bath-related. Slav has been busy with his work during this whole time, and somehow we still managed to celebrate a birthday with friends.

The basement reno has picked up the pace. I’ve shown you the demo in the living room, bedroom, and bathroom,┬áthe installation of the egress window, the new electrical panel and recessed lighting, and how we sound proofed the basement. This week we crossed finishing line of framing and plumbing, which gave us a lot better idea of the new layout.

IMG_8935

 

1. The bathroom

To expand the bathroom we demoed the hallway closet, which I briefly talked about here. The goal is to accommodate a double-sink vanity in here.

The shower area

IMG_8922

IMG_8930

The shower will remain at the end of the room, with the shower head on the left side. A double-sink vanity will be placed next to the shower on the wet wall, and a medicine cabinet will be installed above the vanity and under the soffit.

IMG_8926

The toilet will locate under the air duct and close to the doorways. I am not a big fan on having the toilet next to the door, but we’d rather place toilet but not the vanity under the low ceiling.

IMG_8928

We are in the process of picking out the tiles for the bathroom. We have basically narrowed down to using two tiles, a large dark one on one wall and the floor, with a white subway tiles on the other three walls.

IMG_8948

2. The master bedroom

By removing the closet wall used to divide the two bedrooms, we created a big and long bedroom. The I beam has been boxed in and will be drywall-ed over, which creates a natural divider to separate the sleeping area from the closet area.

IMG_8939

Under the egress window will be our sleeping area. We decided to put the king bed on the wall adjacent to the backyard for less noise, more fresh air, and east facing windows. The bed will be centered on the east wall of the master and flanked by the floating nightstands I built last year. The column to the right envelopes of the supporting columns for the I beam. I am considering putting a skinny bookshelf on the left to mirror the column on the right, which along with the I-beam creates the look of a sleeping nook.

IMG_8944

This is the view from the living room, through the two bathroom doors, into the bedroom. It will be a simple but comfortable space to nest.

IMG_8933

The front side of the bedroom, which is next to the front yard and under Slav’s office, will become a closet area. We plan to align wardrobe cabinets along the wall on both sides, which will provide more storage space than we currently have in the bedroom closets.

IMG_8937

3. The utility room

The last big changed we made is to remove the wall between the living room and the utility room. Remember the old laundry/utility room when we moved in? It was just a small hallway and hard to even open the dryer door. We first demoed a bedroom there to open up the utility area, and now with the living room wall coming down, we have the entire place opened up to the living room.

IMG_8913

We do plan to frame an utility room closet down the road to enclose the furnace and the water heater, and add a countertop on top of the washer/dryer. The small closet under the stairs will remain as a storage space.

IMG_8914

4. The living room

IMG_8918

Compared to other rooms, the living area changed the least. Aside from losing a wall, the only change is to add recessing lights and sound proofing in the ceiling. Instead of making this another living room, we will likely using it as a media/reading room. Before the sound proofing material went in the ceiling, electrical and Ethernet for TV box and projector had been put in. Slav has big plans for this space, and all I am responsible for is choosing a big and comfortable sofa down here. It will be a great room for late evening movies and friends to gather, but for rest of the year this big and empty room will probably remain big and empty.

The month of June will be hanging the drywall and tiling the bathroom, which will be done by a contractor. We will take the torch in July, after the drywall is finished.  Before moving down here we still need to paint, figure out clothes storage, and hopefully install some flooring at least in the bedroom before we move down here. We are far from fruition now, so it is hard to imagine to have smooth drywall and functional toilet again. There are still lots of decision to make (paint! shower doors! floors!)  and lots of little things to consider (tower bars! toilet holders! bathroom storage!). And I am trying to pump the optimism by keeping myself busy shopping. Cannot wait for everything to be over!

The New Electrical is in!

View this post on Instagram

Double rainbow @ #DENVER #Colorado

A post shared by Terrific Broth (@terrificbroth) on

With the recent rain and snow our yard has been insanely beautiful. On the opposite, the basement of our ranch was gloomy. Boob lights poorly light rooms and all the renovation efforts underneath. Fortunately all was in the past – because the can lights are finally in!

IMG_8817

The decision of adding recessed lighting was easy – a single boob light was all we had in each room before, including the big 20 x 14┬á living area. Since we are opening up the ceilings for sound insulation (more on that later), it was the perfect timing to brighten up the basement with can lights. Dimmerable LED is a must, and three-way switches are placed near every doorway so we can control the lights when entering and leaving each room.

IMG_8801

For 850 sqft of the space we put in 23 can lights – 8 in the living room, 5 in the bedroom, 4 in the bathroom, and 6 in the utility room.

IMG_8791

The can lights in the living room is more or less evenly spaced so we will not have any dark corners.

IMG_8810

In the bedroom, the placement of the cans was a big tricky due to the heat ducts. At the end, three cans were placed along the midline of the future closet area:

IMG_8804

And two can lights were centered above the sleeping area. We have a big egress window for natural lighting on this side and two additional sconce lights on the side of the bed.

IMG_8805

The bathroom is gonna be so bright! Two can lights on the ceiling and two mini can lights on the soffit should make up for the lack of natural light here. I am also excited to have separated switches for a bathroom fan, ceiling lights, and soffit can lights. The current master bath upstairs has everything wired on the same circuit, which means the fan comes on (and it is loud) whenever we use the bathroom, even just for washing hands. It is so annoying! I know the separated light and fan feature comes with 99.9% of the houses and apartments – but not in our old ranch, which really taught us to appreciate simple pleasures such as separating your fan and lights.

IMG_8907

The utility room will not be finished this time with the living area and master suite, for several good reasons. First, we want to put a dry kitchen and bar area here which requires a lot more time. Second, it will be convenient to have the wet wall uncovered and all the plumbing exposed until we renovate the bathroom and kitchen upstairs. But we decided to get the electrical part done with the rest of the basement. It just makes sense to upgrade the essentials all at the same time. In the utility room, four can lights were added to cover the middle:

IMG_8798

And one more was added above the washer and dryer:

IMG_8911

We also asked the electrician to add one can light inside the utility room closet. After opening up the bedrooms and getting rid of the linen closet, this closet became the only hidden storage in the basement. Adding can light spared us from the loose hanging light bulb there before and saved some much-needed head room in this under-the-stairs closet.

IMG_8909

In the picture you can also see the sub-panel. We did not know we needed it until the electrician took a closer look at the existing panel installed in 2017. On our main panel there was barely enough room for all the lights and utility we need, and definitely not enough room for the future dry kitchen. Adding a sub-panel not only makes wiring all the downstairs utility easier, but also allows us to reset the circuit without leaving the basement.

IMG_8904

The sub-panel was connected to the main one with wires threaded through the floor joints under the backdoor landing. We decided that the closet is the best place to conceal the unsightly sub panel. To meet the code the doorway had to be enlarged by a few inches, and no door can be added, which is not a problem at all. The wider opening actually made getting in and out of the closet a lot easier, and I have a few idea to make this closet not only functional but pleasant to look at even without a door.

IMG_8908

In addition to can light, we also asked for more outlets in the bedroom and the living area. Two outlets and two sconce lights were wired to flank the bed:

IMG_8912

And two electrical outlets were also added to the ceiling where the future projector, TV, and sound systems will be. Slav dropped ethernet cables (of course) next to the electrical outlets so everything we need for future entertainment will be concealed behind the finished ceiling. Last, we added one outlet and ethenet cable near the main entry. This will be a future bar area and I can see the need for charging cables and hardwired internet connection here:

IMG_8812

After all the electrical was done, we moved onto sound-proofing the basement. With the hardwood floor upstairs we really hear every step. It was like a disco party over the head whenever Roxie and Charlie play. To damp the sound, Slav installed the mineral wool insulation batt between the floor joints.

IMG_8817

We have quite some ducts in between the floor joints. Slav torn the insulation apart and stuffed them around the ducts and can lights really well. It was quite a messy job – I highly recommend a respirator – although it was no comparison to this attic insulation project we did ourselves. Applause to the husband who took care of the work so I did not have to!

IMG_8813

The result turned out exactly as we expected – the insulation damped the footsteps in large and helped a lot with the conversation noise. The bedroom actually got double layers of the insulation, which should help with the sound transfer between our future master and the guest room above.

IMG_8830

IMG_8863

We ordered 20 bags of the mineral wool insulation, and used 19 bags in the ceiling. Instead of returning the last bag, Slav installed the leftover insulation around the furnace. We plan to build a closet around the furnace down the road. With the help of the mineral wool insulation, we hope to minimize the furnace noise when it comes on and off.

IMG_8819

 

With both electrical and insulation done, we are ready for drywall. I had some anxiety closing up the ceiling and walls – I cannot help but wondering if we forget something important between the studs. We already determined to wireless connect the future speakers, then what else we could do when the studs are still exposed? Is there anything could be useful down the road, even though we are not using today? Give us a shout out if you have any ideas!

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén