May 2020 Basement Update & Exciting Announcement

Our basement renovation is rapidly progressing, and it just so happens that the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge (ORC) starts on May 7, with a 7 week run time. We were already planning on a late June finish date for the basement, so we’ve decided to make it official and register as participants in the ORC!

What is the One Room Challenge?

Directly from the website, “The One Room challenge™ will provide participants with a supportive, enthusiastic forum in which to share the process of transforming a room. The ORC is not a competition, but rather a celebration of creativity, inspiration, and original ideas.” It’s a national event involving designers & bloggers, as well as 20 featured designers, who share their renovations on Instagram and their blogs. Every Thursday, everyone will a share a new post with their plans and progress.

The spring challenge typically starts in April but has been delayed by COVID-19. The hosts are also allowing some extra time, meaning that we now have 8 posts (7 full weeks) to finish the renovations.

Here’s a note from the sponsors of the Challenge about participating safely and responsibly during the COVID-19 crisis:

We are navigating these new uncertain times as you are, one day at a time. The ORC is an optional event and we encourage you to think carefully about whether or not it’s realistic for you and your family during this time. While the COVID-19 is an issue, we absolutely do not recommend errand running and shopping. It’s also not a safe time to have various trades working in your home. Many of you have told us it’s the perfect time to have a positive distraction while connecting with people online. For that reason we’re moving forward with the event with the delayed start date of May 7th. Your health and well-being is the number one priority. We know many of you have been working hard and encourage you to continue at a pace that’s safe for you and your community by sheltering in place. Instead of going out and shopping, this is the time to use what you have and let your creativity shine. Relax, go slowly, and stay at home. When you start is up to you. You can start now, or wait until closer to the start date. When the event opens, come by each week and take us through your design process. We’re here for the befores, durings, and afters.

One Room Challenge Spring 2020 Guest Participant: Sima Spaces Basement Remodel

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to get to the fun part! Week One of the ORC is all about sharing design plans, and I’m excited to share the plans for each space with you all… but you’ll have to wait for the first official “Week One” post on Thursday!

First, I need to get you up to speed with what we’ve done down here already.

We gutted the basement back in January 2019, thinking that we’d finish it in summer 2019. Long story short, we ended up putting “life” first and didn’t quite get to it, but started working hard on it again in winter 2020. Instead of spending the summer in the basement, we transformed our back patio last summer and it’s been awesome to have that space to retreat to.

In this update from May 2019 (a whole year ago!?!), I share everything we had done up to framing. Thankfully we’ve made quite a bit of progress since then! We hired out plumbing the drains for the full bathroom and laundry room, and Josh ran the water lines. We hit a snag when we had a major leak and had to replace the entire drain under the cement from the laundry to the bathroom. The asbestos floor tiles had to be abated and removed. We had to have the main support beam recessed in two different spots in order to meet the code-regulated minimum of 6’4″. We reframed the entire basement, installed egress windows and drain tile, reinforced the stairs, installed a gas fireplace, wired all of the outlets, lighting, and switches, did some mechanical work (installed a vent in the bathroom & add a bathroom fan), installed insulation, and leveled the bathroom floor. (That took MONTHS, friends… many, many, MANY months.) We also had to pull permits and pass all inspections!

With all of that work done, it is time to get to drywall and framing!

Delivery and install is scheduled for next week, May 11th. We decided to hire this process out, as it will only take a drywall crew a week to do the entire space and it would probably take us two months. They’re also going to paint all of the walls and ceilings. I’ll share more about the paint selections on my Week One ORC post!

Although the crew will have to walk through our entryway to get to the basement, it is otherwise separated from the rest of the house and we will be sure to maintain enough distance while they work, for their and our safety during the pandemic.

Basement insulation ready for drywall: Sima Spaces
Ready for drywall!

Here’s a shot of that same angle immediately post-demo:

Just demo’d! We ripped out EVERYTHING: walls, electrical, ceiling, and more

…and a photo pre-demo! We used it as a workspace and storage area… and one year we hosted a New Year’s Eve party down there, hence the Christmas lights. Ha!

Pre-Demo Basement: wood paneling EVERYWHERE!

This is mid-framing, prior to insulation, fireplace install, and beam recessing over the bedroom door. In this photo I was standing right where the bathroom vanity is located in the other photo above.

Mid-framing, before the gas fireplace was installed

As you can see, we’ve done a TON of work down here in the last year. I’ll be sharing the “finishing” process starting with drywall for the ORC, all the way through to the grand reveal.

As I’ve shared before, we’re planning on selling our home as soon as this basement is finished. Therefore, I won’t be furnishing it, so the “after” photos might not seem as impressive because of that. That said, I do think it would be fun to share some design plans for how I would furnish it if we were to stay here, so stay tuned for those!

On Thursday, I’ll share the design plans for each space. Feel free to leave a comment with any specific questions you have!

Author: Laura Sima

Hey there, I'm Laura- creator of Sima Spaces. I'm a home renovator, designer, and blogger based in St. Paul, MN. When I'm not designing or renovating homes, you can find me working as a pediatric ICU RN, snuggling my dog or cat, skiing in CO, or enjoying a glass of wine on our patio.

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