Spring 2020 ORC Week ONE: Basement Renovation Design Plans

Disclaimer: This post contains sponsored materials from Build.com, The Tile Shop, and Sherwin Williams. All thoughts, designs, and opinions are my own.

It’s WEEK ONE of the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge! I am so excited to be sharing our basement renovation with you all. We’ve actually been working on the basement for over a year, but with drywall officially on the schedule for next week (!!!), the real fun can begin and major progress will happen rapidly.

Whether you’re new around here or a long-time reader, welcome! My husband Josh and I have been renovating our 1952 home for the past 4 years, almost entirely on our own. We’re tackling the entire basement for this spring’s One Room Challenge (ORC), and it’s the final project we need to complete to call our home renovation completely finished! Over the next 8 weeks, I’ll be sharing the progress of our basement remodel on my Instagram and here on the blog as part of the ORC, a nation-wide event involving hundreds of other designers and home renovators. Be sure to check in on the ORC’s blog page to follow along with all of the other projects going on!

Week One of the ORC is all about sharing design plans! To be 100% honest, some of the exact sources (namely cabinetry and carpeting) have not been decided yet, but I have the general design plan solidified.

We’ll keep it neutral and clean, with a modern yet classic feel. Our goal is to maximize every nook and cranny available in order to literally double the functional size of our home- the basement is almost the exact same footprint as our first floor. Warm-toned greige carpet, bright neutral doors and trim, carefully planned lighting, and black metal accents will create an inviting and cozy space.

The Floorplan

Upstairs, we turned one of the bedrooms into an en-suite with a walk-in closet and bathroom for the master bedroom. In order to maximize function and profit potential with resale, we are adding two bedrooms to the basement. We’re also adding a full bathroom downstairs. In total, we’ll have a four bedroom, three bathroom home.

basement floorplan: Sima Spaces basement renovation, ORC Spring 2020

I had created this floorplan back in 2019. It is all still accurate, other than the placement of the closet in the north bedroom. As you can see, the staircase will lead down into a small landing area with doors to the utility room and laundry/storage room. Taking a right, you’ll walk into the living room, which will have a gas fireplace flanked by built-in bookshelves, with a dry bar to the right. The south bedroom is the bigger of the two and has a large closet area with under-stair storage. Through the living room, there is a utility closet in the corner (the sump pump is located here). The north bedroom is smaller and would make a perfect guest room, office, or workout space, and it has an en-suite full bathroom with a storage niche.

The Basics

We will use the same paint and flooring in almost every space. The paint colors will be Extra White and Crushed Ice, both by Sherwin Williams. I am still undecided as to whether to do Extra White walls with Crushed Ice trim, or vice versa! Whichever one we choose, the trim and doors will all be painted the same color.

Our door hardware will be black, and I’ve already purchased these door handles.

We’ll install greige carpet on the stairs and throughout the living room and both bedrooms to add some warmth and comfort. The bathroom will be tiled, and the laundry room will likely have a sheet vinyl floor that will look nice but keep costs down.

Basement Design Plan: Sima Spaces, Spring 2020 ORC


The general bedroom design is light and neutral, with the paint and carpeting carrying through from the living room. As I mentioned, we won’t be furnishing these rooms, but at some point I’d like to write a post about how I would design them if we were to stay here!

Basement bedroom design plan: Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC

Image credit: The White Buffalo Styling Co

The south bedroom is the bigger of the two, and will have a large closet with under-stair storage. Each bedroom has an egress window. The north bedroom closet is a little quirky and the closet is framed around the window. We thought through as many options as we could for the best way to frame around and hide the plumbing, but we would’ve had to block half the window which would’ve looked strange. We considered installing a block window, but had already paid to have the original window replaced with a sliding vinyl window.

Here’s a photo of the north bedroom, on move-in day. Notice the water damage and asbestos tile floor!

1952 Basement bedroom, pre-demo: Sima Spaces Basement remodel, Spring 2020 ORC

Here’s the current condition: framed, wired, insulated, and ready for drywall. Just a little cleaning up to do!

Framed, wired, and insulated basement bedroom: Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC

Here’s the south bedroom, mid-demo. There was a ton of water damage in here as well. Notice the mess of drains to the left of the window- that’s what we had to frame around and decided it was best to just put it all in the closet! We also had the window on the right replaced with a larger egress window.

Basement bedroom, mid-demo: Sima Spaces Basement remodel, Spring 2020 ORC

Here’s the same view, post-framing, wiring, and insulation. The door to the left leads to the bathroom.

Framed, wired, and insulated basement: spring 2020 ORC


I recently shared our bathroom design plans, and nothing has changed yet! We recently laid self-leveling concrete to smooth out the floor, and it is now ready to be drywalled.

Here’s a before photo of that space- pretty horrific! We used to call it the “Alcatraz Bathroom” back before we demo’d.

Basement bathroom, pre-renovation: Sima Spaces basement remodel, Spring 2020 ORC

Here’s the current state (taken just after concrete was poured): freshly framed, wired, plumbed, and ready for finishing.

self-leveling concrete, plumbed/wired/framed basement bathroom, Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC

Here is the design board I created for it! I’m continuing the paint color in here as well, with marble, brass and black accents plus a navy vanity for a pop of color.

Basement bathroom moodboard and design, Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC

Living Room

I am perhaps the most excited about the living room! We’re turning it into a cozy space that will be perfect for entertaining friends and family or cuddling up and watching a movie on a winter night.

Sima Spaces Living Room inspiration and moodboard, Spring 2020 ORC

Image credit: Studio McGee, Jaimee Rose Interiors, and The DIY Playbook

We installed a gas fireplace, which was one of this things we would’ve loved from day one in this home. We’re also building a dry bar with a beverage fridge. We shopped Build.com for both items (as well as quite a few other things for down here!)- it’s like an online home improvement store on steroids! The website is super easy to shop and there is a fantastic selection of home improvement products, ranging from lighting to plumbing to fireplaces and more. I’ve found that Build.com has a wider range of modern finishes and styles than most other home improvement stores can offer, as well as competitive pricing and great customer service. No need to walk around a shop for a half hour looking for someone to answer a question when you can instant message them right on the website!

The fireplace will have a marble tile surround and hearth from The Tile Shop, with a wood square mantel. Next to the fireplace, we’ll install floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves. The TV will be mounted above the fireplace with sconce lights on either side.

There’s a lot more to dive into with this space, so I’ll devote an entire post separately to this next week! In the meantime, here is a before photo of the living room. Yes, that is a charcoal grill you’re seeing on the right!

1952 basement living room, pre-renovation: Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC

Here’s the opposite view, framed/wired/insulated and ready for drywall! (And there’s a peek at our bathroom vanity!) The fireplace is located to the right of where the grill was.

basement framed, insulated, wired and ready for drywall: Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC

Laundry Room

The laundry room will serve as a dual purpose space for both laundry and storage. Our goal here is simple: to make it somewhat attractive while keeping costs as minimal as possible!

There is a lot of duct work, water lines, and electrical wiring running through the ceiling. In order to maintain access to all of that and allow for the maximum headroom, we will paint the ceiling white and leave it open. We will drywall the walls and paint those white as well. We’ll install a sheet vinyl flooring to cover up the ugly concrete and warm up the space a bit. On one or two of the walls (TBD), we’ll build a multi-level storage unit that will fit totes. There will also be a laundry tub, and I’m considering some type of surround for the washer and dryer, but that will be budget-dependent.

Image credit: House Seven Design, Home Made Easy, and BrePurposed

Here’s a current view. It’s not entirely framed yet, as you can see- we still have to get the plumbers out to do a little bit more work with the drains, so we’ll have to finish the drywall ourselves when that gets completed. We will have to think of a solution to keep the crawl space on the right wall accessible.

basement laundry room, mid-renovation: Sima Spaces Spring ORC 2020

So there you have it! As you can see, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’ve already accomplished so much. I’m excited to share the journey with you all!

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Author: Laura Sima

Hey there, I'm Laura- creator of Sima Spaces. I'm a home renovator, designer, and blogger based in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. 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, soaking up the sun on our boat, or enjoying a glass of wine on our patio!

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  • How much was it to get rid of the asbestos tile? Our contractor is recommending we lay a floating floor above ours.

    • My husband works in the environmental field and is trained to abate it, so he actually just did it himself with a coworker friend. I’m not sure how much it would be to hire out! However, if the tile is in good shape, there is no need to rip it up- your contractor would be correct in installing a floating floor over it. Ours was cracked in many spots so it was best to remove it completely.

  • This is a huge project – like doing a complete small house! I’m curious what bathroom you expect the South bedroom occupants to use?

    • It really is- it’s a lot of work! Realistically I can see the north bedroom being used more as an office or guest room because it’s so small- so the south bedroom person could use that bathroom. Otherwise there’s a full bathroom just upstairs that is easily accessible. It’s quirky, but it’s the best we could do with the layout due to the ceiling structure with ductwork and the furnace and without spending multiple thousands to rework the plumbing drains.