Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Door Number 3

It is certainly a bad sign when you go to log in to your blog and you hardly recognize the dashboard. Has it been so long that Blogger's completely redesigned their administrative interface? Apparently the answer to that question is: yes. Conveniently, in the spirit of design and change I'm here to post some updates on our latest home related project.

Long story short we attempted to sell our house last year at the peak of the worst real estate market in years. That proved to be just a touch foolish. With that epic fail behind us we've determined to at least learn a few things from the experience and hopefully make some improvements to the place to better our odds for another foolish attempt this spring. Along these lines we added an expanded patio to the backyard, finished the landscaping and put in a privacy fence around the master bedroom creating a private patio complete with fountain vis-a-vis HGTV. With the weather driving us back indoors we've decided to tackle the biggest project on our list of potential home buyer gripes: the basement.

Although our basement is technically 'finished', and we even painted and spruced it up last year, it still abounds with wood paneling and a preponderance of doors something akin to a scene in Alice and Wonderland. Take this example: the door to the washer.
Now you might be thinking, everyone has a door to their laundry room: it helps hide your laundry negligence. But I didn't say door to the laundry room...I said door to the washer; not to be confused with the doors to the dryer...

or the door to the laundry sink for that matter.
Yes, there's definitely a lot of paneling and doors in our basement. And while I would have hoped that potential buyers might have enjoyed the fun house feel to the place, apparently it was a sore spot with folks. So the paneling, the doors, the oddly angled walls all would have to go. Figuring out what to remove proved to be the easy part: figuring out what to put back in its place was a bit more challenging. As wacky as it looks there was a certain element of logic entailed in the design. We've got a beam, a whole host of pipes and vents, a floor drain and a main duct trunk to contend with in the space we'd ideally like to salvage. The easier, and in my opinion more cowardly, way out would be to slap up some walls and doors and call it good. The real solution however entails moving a fair amount of infrastructure and then putting up walls where you'd expect to find them: around your washer and dryer...not in between them. So while de-dooring the basement might in the end prove harder than its worth (vindicating the cowardly door mongers) we're armed with a pretty good design and with that we got our hammers swinging.
Last week I spent a couple evenings pulling down doors, paneling and 2x4's. The plan is to save a lot of the 2x4's and perhaps a door (or two) and take the rest to the Habitat for Humanity store to see if it someone else might want it. The result was a drastically improved, 'doorless' space for the laundry. Next I had to remove the shelving along the back wall and scoot the appliances out of the way. The plan is to move the laundry appliances into the back corner and then frame in a wall around the new space as well as a wall to hide the drain and vent pipes at the base of the stairs.

Over the weekend I got all of my plumbing and electrical parts assembled and with the help of my brother-in-law Paul, removed the old drain and vent stack, moved the 20 and 30 amp service for the washer/dryer and extended the water supply for the sink and laundry. While it was kind of a long Sunday we managed to get the guts of the new laundry moved and reconfigured. Temporarily it now looks like this:

Despite Paul's confidence in my amateur plumbing abilities I was certain the pipes would leak when I turned the water back on, but Paul's confidence wasn't wasted and the basement is dry as a bone and actually up to code.  With the tricky bits out of the way we've moved on to sealing the old plaster wall along the exterior, which will form two sides of the laundry. I have to patch a few holes in the plaster and then we'll paint it before moving the new appliances into their permanent homes. From there it'll be time to start framing in the walls and moving on to drywall, which after plumbing is my second least favorite home improvement project. But I suppose if I've managed to conquer my plumbing demons a little dry wall won't be too tough now will it?

No comments:

Post a Comment