It’s Time to Finish Our Basement the DIY Way!

When we moved into this house back in July one of the biggest pulls was all the work that could be done, but didn’t have to be. Everything was in working order (or so we thought but we will get to that…) but could use a major facelift. The house was built back in the early 2000s and everything about it showed it. The outdated kitchen, the builder grade doors and floors, the lame stock bathroom hardware. But that, my dear friends, is where Ben and I thrive.

If you didn’t know, our first house was a 1920s cape cod that needed a whole lot of love. We bought it for just below $130,000 and spent FOUR YEARS renovating almost every square inch of that place. Then we sold it for $275,000 just last summer.

Truly, we didn’t know what we would do with a newly built to our liking house, or even one that had already been updated by someone else.

So this house was perfect. Actually, we originally planned on not doing anything more than painting for the first six months or so, but that quickly fell to the wayside. We painted our kitchen cabinets and man, that I am so glad we didn’t wait any longer than we did.

Next up on the list of home improvement projects for The Hovey’s is finishing our basement! We actually started the Monday after Christmas (take a look at our Instagram story highlight!)

I thought it would be fun if I walked you through our plans here so that you can start dreaming up your own DIY basement remodel!

The Blue Prints

The basement was unfinished when we bought the house but the original builders were awesome enough to upgrade to the rough in for a full bathroom down there. The basement footprint is also PERFECT for having a huge storage area off to the side, that will be left unfinished.

The storage area was one of the first big projects we tackled in this house. Ben took two days to add shelving in this area along each wall using 2x3s and 8ft sheets of plywood. This added a TON of storage for all of the crap we have accumulated over the years. Since having these shelves I have said I am going to go through everything and declutter but have yet to do that…

The idea is to close this area off with a wall and a barn door. This will give us ample space for storage and to move the craft table and the kids trampoline in and out as needed.

Because we had already decided on the storage area, the rest of the basement plans fell into space around that.

Here is our blue print of the setup:

Some things have changed since this initial drawing (the utility room is now going to be all the way to the staircase because there isn’t enough room for the hall there, but this pretty much sums it up.

We will have a little TV area, a full bathroom, and a kitchenette that walks out to the patio where our smoker and grill will be. Ben is most excited about his kitchenette, he’ll be able to prep meat without the kids or the dog sniffing at things.

The Prep Work

There were two major things that needed to be completed before we started throwing up walls. And by we I mean Ben, I am an extra hand when needed until drywall is ready to be painted…

via GIPHY

Plumbing

Since we already had a rough in for a full bathroom, the only thing Ben needed to do was prep the drains for the two sinks. The one in the full bath and the kitchenette. The copper will all be run as soon as all of the framing is up, before the drywall is put up.

Raise the Window

This is where I’m going to start with this: my husband is amazing.

As stated, the basement is a walkout. There are actually two windows down there and it just so happens that one is right above where the sink will go in the kitchenette. It’s gonna be perfect 🤩

HOWEVER the basement windows installed by the builder were lower on the wall than what is standard for cabinets.

Aw poop…

BUT LIKE I SAID MY HUSBAND IS AMAZING.

In just under 36 hours he took the window out, filled in the cement and installed a new window at the right height to sit above the sink.

If you’re interested I can make him write up a step by step on how he did this! Let me know in the comments or DM us on Instagram!

Putting up Insulation and Framing

When we finished the basement in the old house, we spent an extra day putting up foam insulation on the exterior walls of the basement. This did a great job keeping the temperature of the area more consistent with the rest of the house. Because we have a walk-out basement in this house, we went back and forth on this but eventually landed on going for it.

Between Christmas and New Years Ben started putting all of this up, and the insulation made a difference right away.

Because we added the insulation, we are actually using 2×3 for the framing down there instead of 2×4. Again, we did this in the old house and it really just speeds up the process. Instead of cutting the insulation to fit between the studs, we just glued the foam up and then framed right on top of that. So the walls are the same “thickness” as every other wall in the house (framed with 2×4).

AND THAT, my dear friends, is where we are at today.

As I said, Ben is amazing and spent the Sunday and Monday after New Years doing all of this work. And spent his evenings finishing the framing this week.

We can’t wait to see this area come to life and provide a bit more functionality for our family. I have a lot more fun stuff planned for this area so STAY TUNED. I will do my best to update regularly as we pull this together (on a budget, of course!).

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