3 In DIY projects

basement reno update #11: the odds ‘n ends

So as you can imagine, there were lots of small projects during our basement renovation that I haven’t posted about to date. Here are a few worth mentioning:

Painting. As with any renovation or re-decorating project, a lot of painting happened. We had to prime all of the drywall (including ceilings -ick), and then put on two coats of colour. We choose white for the hallway, bathroom, closets and part of the kitchen (along with that green colour you saw in the kitchen post). For the living room and bedroom we choose a colour that was neutral and would be (hopefully) well-liked by a potential tenant. Even with some help (thank you Mum and Shannon!), the painting was a pretty daunting task. By the end of it all, after day-in and day-out of painting, I have to admit that I had lost my sanity a wee bit! Here’s a sneak peak of the living room and bedroom colour:

Doors & Trim. We added a total of 4 single doors and 1 set of closet doors to the basement. Most of these had to be fireproof in order to pass the legal code (you need to create a fire barrier between the upstairs and downstairs apartments). We also added baseboard trim and trim around the two new windows (we got a bit of help for this job as we were running seriously short on time). As you can imagine, this meant MORE painting. Each door was painted (either white or stained) and all trim was painted a durable white.

Mailboxes. We obviously had a mailbox to begin with (we love snail mail!), but now that we had a legal “secondary dwelling” (that’s real estate speak for a basement apartment) we needed to have a secondary mailbox as well. There wasn’t anywhere to put the second mailbox on the side entrance, so I thought two side-by-side at the front door would look quite smart. I bought new, glossy black tall boxes, drilled some holes into the brick for them, added a couple of “1” and “2” stickers, and she was all done.

Drilling. I think this part of the reno secretly made Dan pretty happy. We had to rent a big drill from the Home Depot to drill fairly sizeable holes (two of them) in the foundation. One was for the venting for our laundry machines, and the other was for our oven range hood.

Staircase. So the staircase had the same grubby old blue carpet as the rest of the basement. We tore it right up and found some stairs in not-so-bad condition, except for some old worn paint. All it took was a couple of coats of floor paint and they looked nice and fresh again (Yes, more painting…). We also put down some vinyl flooring on the landing – one of the “sticky” side down type of materials. We still have some leftover so if wear and tear gets the better of it after a few years, it will be easy to replace. Some quarter round (that brass edging stuff) around the perimeter to finish it all off. This was the last of my painting jobs, and let me tell you it was seriously happy days when I put down that paintbrush.

Electrical. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, a lot more of our budget went to electrical than we had anticipated. It turned out that we needed to basically re-wire our entire house, thanks to the old (and disintegrating!) wiring that had been in place. We knew that the electrical wasn’t great from our original home inspection, but we had no idea it was as bad as it was. Luckily, one of Dan’s work colleagues is also an electrician and was able to give us a really excellent hourly rate. Even so, the electrical budget went about 5 times over than what we had expected. Ouch. At least we won’t be living in a danger zone ready to erupt in flames, right?!

And there you have it, some more bits and pieces of the reno process. It wasn’t always fun, but the reward from accomplishing even some of these smaller projects was always great. Next up? The final reveal!

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  • megan

    Found your blog from on YHL and I love it!
    Looking at your bathroom reno you had a cost breakdown. Do you have one on your basement reno? Looking at the possibility of doing the same and have no idea what a realistic cost would be.

    Megs xo

    • gemma

      Hi Megan! You’re right – the basement renovation was early on in the blog and I didn’t keep a good itemized list of our budget. I can tell you though, that for the whole she-bang, we spent around $25,000. That included some major stuff, like blow-in insulation in our whole basement, cutting two huge new windows in our foundation, installing a kitchen, and re-wiring our whole basement. We did a lot of the work ourselves, but contracted out the electrical, insulation, drywalling, and had two construction workers come in for the last 3 days to hammer out the finishing details with us. Since we were making it into a legal separate apartment, there were also a lot of extra hoops to jump through in order to pass the building code (like fire-proofing everywhere, using special doors, etc).

      Hope that helps a bit!