Thursday, 1 October 2015

Phase Z: Basement Suite.b. (FINAL)

Basement Suite:

Just because we didn't broadcast it, doesn't mean we weren't working our sweet tuckukas off ;)
To be frank, we needed to take a break from this blog for SO MANY REASONS. The Foyer article from AT made us lose our faith in humanity because Americans are insecure blowhards, as well as a nosy-judgy MIL leaving us passive-agressive comments that prove her embarrassing inability for self-awareness, running out of money due to shitty things needed to be taken care of, running out of time to bitch about it all because we're working at it dammit, and growing up some while we do. Yah, whatever man, you don't get to judge us.

Did you hang in there anyway because YOU ARE AWESOME? Well thanks, here's a juicy "FINAL" post as a reward!

Walls! Inside those walls are heating insulation, electrical, plumbing, 2 separate sets of ducting, a new beam, loads of sound-insulation, and resilient channel (also for sound). Isn't it funny how 89% of the work, money, and time go into what you can't actually see?

New windows, solid-core fire-rated doors, and with Scott McGillivray as our trusty hero, we chose a durable & easy-to-install vinyl plank flooring (also leaving more head-room than a laminate).

And months and months of planning planning planning…

All the changes (determined by the City - to make it legal) have landed us a pretty suite space (haha... get it... 'sweet' but 'suite'). We have the option to rent in creative ways: as conforming with the Kitchen, Dining Room (as Living Room), Bathroom, and Bonus Room (as a Bedroom), OR non-conforming (shown) with the addition of the Rec Room and Bedroom (with option of including the Laundry/Wine Cellar <-those are going to be new links coming soon!). Creamed ourselves over the versatility.

Entry before

Re-configuration of the stairs-platform just inside the door to include hooks for coats & place for shoes (not shown), and at the bottom of the stairs the creation of a good-sized hallway with a large storage closet (including hooks and a clothes-rail) to the right. When we find one 2nd hand, we will exchange the exterior door for one with a window to let in more natural light.

Choose your own adventure: at the bottom of the stairs take the door to the left and enter the suite, or take the fancy-schmancy double doors to the right and enter the Rec Room.

Dining Room before
Dining Room:
You chose the door to the left! A chainsaw wielding giant spider gobbles you up with a side of sweet carrots prepared by Iron Chef Bobby Flay. You make bad choices. The End. jk.

The "Dining Room" is technically the Living Room of the legal suite, but it's currently set up as non-conforming.

Pretty basic, here: walls, paint, new window. There is a small heater on the baseboards, but the future plan is to add a recessed wall-mount electric fireplace on the stairwell-wall to pimp it out.

Did we mention there is a supercool 19-year-old dude living in the space atm? He likes guns & other 19-year-old-dude-stuff like booze and Banksy. He owed me one for giving birth to him, so he let us in to (clean) stage and take pictures ;)

Kitchen before
New new new! Navy-blue cupboards, marble-look and butcher-block countertops, and appliances featuring a full-size fridge and a natural gas range and oven. The range boasts 5 gas burners, the sink has a smart built-in dish drainer (though the tenant here is currently using a superfluous one on the wall-rail, but whatever), and the refrigerator is bigger than the one we use in the main Kitchen!

We've been conscious throughout all our other renovations to donate what original materials don't suit our style, reuse/save/rehab existing original materials, and when that fails to purchase 2nd hand if possible to forward our environmental-hero-complex. So the suite was an adventure in the buy-new-things arena. Pro tip: major appliances are most cost-effective when bought new in Oct-Dec.

Even with 'new things' costs were low because the space was small. As it is a rental we chose to use durable materials that were inexpensive but in quirky colours and combinations to lend some personality. There are so many un-inspiring basement suites out there, and why create a boring living space when life is so vibrant & exciting?

Some things were reused (Schoolhaus lights over the island are from the Kitchen, the barstools were from our previous house, microwave a $5 Kijiji treasure, and the cutoff from the butcher block counter was used for the two small shelves in the corner).

Backsplash is a plain white ceramic tile (incredibly cost-effective) laid in a herringbone to add visual texture. The white upper cabinet departs from the navy-blue base cabinets purely for bling factor with glass doors and vintage crystal knobs. The two butcher-block shelves are mounted with cast-iron brackets consistent with the quirky-traditional-modern mix we got goin' on.

Bathroom before
Classy & striking diagonal-laid black & white checkerboard ceramic tile! We re-used the claw foot tub, toilet, vanity lighting, mirror, pedestal sink, and all accessory hardware from the original Family Bath.

Plumbing was expensive and required jackhammering up the floor to lay new (and permitted - they weren't previously) lines for the bath and toilet. So we took the opportunity to be stylish and up the vintage-feel with exposed bath lines. Spencer… our in-pocket plumber… was an absolute joy to be around again (his sexy-back self equipped our main dwellings needs).

There are lines and electrical (in the wall) for a washer/dryer unit to be added at the foot of the bathtub in-case the suite is used in it's conforming state and we chose to provide laundry (at which time the towel-bars will move to the back of the door). Instead of the current little baseboard heater - we'll upgrade to an electric fireplace with mantle unit to add even more ambiance, once we find a suitable 2nd hand one to install *sparkle*

The best addition being the HRV (heat recovery ventilator) hidden in the closet which provides the suite with it's own fresh-air and heats it with the air that it is exhausting from the suite = energy savings! And better air-quality too :) A legal suite requires it's own HVAC. The HRV is an expensive piece of equipment, but the man sweet-talked his way into this one for FREE by way of his job somehow… such a sneaky good-looking charmer.

Bonus Room before
Bonus Room:
Was this even a room? No. No it was not. It was a closet with a sump pump. Abracadabra and here's a cute cozy bedroom with ample storage! 

We've recycled a french door from reno's upstairs and built it onto a makeshift sliding rail with pipe-fittings. Glass has been double-frosted (one side with glacier, the other sandblast) for privacy yet able to maintain maximum natural light throughout the suite.

Best new feature has got to be the large window (meets egress!) for southern exposure (some plants would grow nicely on that windowsill).

Best creative feature is the sump hidden under the cedar-slat floor in the closet. The remaining floor under the 'bedroom' section was raised to meet the existing floor in the rest of the suite, water-sealed against the sump-section, and then the cedar-slat floor dropped slick-as-snot-in-a-doorknob over the floor in the sump section with a portion that lifts away in case the sump requires maintenance. Cedar keeps the closet smelling nice, and if there is any moisture the sump takes care of it & all worries.

We wanted to plan for the possible future of living in this house for a long time… and if so it would have to suit our needs as both a short-term rental space for income (to pay for all these renovations!), and later to suit our hobbies. The sump-room is kitted out to fit a 2-person sauna and keep the storage shelves in there now, and the 'bedroom' section was designed to become a hydroponics suite for our seedlings & winter vegetables. No, we're not certain what the future holds for staying or leaving this beautiful home, but for very little cost by way of the electrical and water-sealing the floor for the sump & hydroponics we were able to make these accommodations for our future-dreams if we do stay.

In the meanwhile… it's fecking adorable. The teenager has been using it to house his roommate, as they learn to adult together :)

Rec Room before
Rec Room:
Pictures show the view from the Bonus Room doorway back through the Dining Room and Entry-hallway through the double doors that separate the legal suite from the non-conforming rooms (Rec Room, Bedroom, Laundry, Wine Cellar). We chose the double doors purely for style… because when open they give the Rec Room a feeling of an open space, not just being inside another room with a door (that has other rooms with doors inside it). These pics also showcase the benefit to using the same flooring throughout: it links the spaces together and creates the illusion it is larger than it actually is. You may have also noticed the ceiling height is not the soaring 9' as it is upstairs, but a meager 6 1/2', which isn't ideal but also doesn't totally suck. Many neighbours in these old houses have chosen to lift their house and pour new basements with head-room, but we chose (in keeping with our mission to keep maximum debris out of the landfill) to work with what we have while still creating spaces that are energy efficient and beautiful.

The "cave" has been setup with wall-mounted TV and accessories cubby. The pipe (and milk-crates!) you see throughout are a nod to the fact you are in a basement, just in case you may have forgotten BECAUSE IT'S SO DAMN NICE.

Bedroom before
You're welcome - pics were taken before furnishing & the teenager made his filthy teenage-nest in here. 

New windows are pending for installation next fall, and a queen bed fits in here nicely with room on either side for nightstands. (Not shown) A double dresser fits against the back-wall in the 'closet' area with plenty room to spare on the clothes-bars for a fair-sized wardrobe. 

Painted with leftover grey from the 1st incarnation of our Living Room upstairs, we wrapped walls & ceiling the same colour for moodiness, and left the closet & baseboards a bright white for balance.

There it is, folks. Over 18 months, so many hours it would make a grown man cry (and probably did, hey honey?), and one perfectly-timed government grant to cover 1/2 the cost later… not too shabby.

Heady props to the man for building his muscle-mass on this one... what a rock star <3

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