Basement reno

When moving into a new house, the first reno project for many people might be the kitchen or the bathroom, something in the main living space. But not for us. Nope, we’re going underground and doing the basement.

Basement demo in progress

Basement demo in progress

We knew from the first time we saw the basement that we were going to rip out the bathroom entirely right away. Very quickly on the first weekend we realized we were also going to rip out the carpet. Then, when Matt started taking down the paneling in the long room, we realized we needed to upgrade the insulation in all of the exterior walls.

This is when scope creep began to happen. Scope creep happens when you say to each other, “Since we’re doing A and B, we might as well do C, D, E, F and G.”

So, here is the to-do list for the basement reno:

  1. Redo the bathroom (this is a big project that will get its own post)
  2. Replace all the carpet
  3. Remove the wood stove
  4. Relocate the built-in cabinetry
  5. Brick up one window
  6. Redo all the insulation and drywall on the exterior walls
  7. Remove barn board paneling
  8. Relocate office doorway
  9. Deal with electrical (remove baseboard heaters, fix lighting issues)

So yeah, this isn’t just a slap some paint on the walls project. Oh well, we just came from a basement reno at our last house. We can do it all over again. It’ll just take a little more time and energy than we’d initially planned on.

Hopefully the scope of this project doesn’t creep any further!

We’ve already made pretty good progress. Most of the exterior walls are opened up, the wood stove is out, the new office doorway has been cut and the cabinetry is down.

Our weekend involved things like discovering peg board, floor to ceiling, wall to wall installed behind the drywall on every single wall of Matt’s new office. Just FYI, peg board is not easy to remove. Drywall, you can usually pop that right off. Peg board, not so much. I now officially hate peg board and will never ever be using it anywhere.

We also discovered that our wood stove is even heavier than our piano. Matt and I were able to get it off of its tile platform together, but we couldn’t move it very far just the two of us, so we decided to save it until my Dad was there to help us (you’re welcome, Dad!). Turns out, the three of us couldn’t move it very far either.

We managed to heave it onto a dolly, which allowed us to wheel it to the bottom of the basement stairs. Then we set up planks on the stairs and tried to wheel the dolly up our makeshift ramp. We made it about 6 inches.

Plan B involved a very long, very heavy rope that we discovered coiled up outside the drive shed. The rope went around the dolly and the wood stove about 6 times. Some creative knots were tied. Then the rope went up the stairs, out the front door and was tied to the trailer hitch on my Dad’s truck (can you guess where this is going?).

I have no photos of any of this, because, as I’m sure you can understand, our hands were a little full.

With me driving, Matt directing me from the top of the stairs and Dad guiding the dolly from the bottom, the extrication began. Eventually, even the truck gave up as the back wheels started spinning while the wood stove was still about 3 feet from the top of the stairs. The rope was creaking, the planks were sliding and we were still so close–yet so far!–from victory.

But by that point, we were not going to surrender to our iron adversary, so with Matt and me pulling and my Dad pushing we managed to heave the wood stove up the final few feet. Dad’s comment was that he had no choice but to get it up since he was on the bottom and the wood stove was going to go through him if gravity prevailed. When it was finally on level ground, the three of us just slumped against the floor, the wall, the stairs, wherever we were, chests heaving, hands still gripping the stove, a little bit stunned that we actually managed to get this beast out of the basement.

Wood stove

Wood stove, in its new temporary quarters in the drive shed.

So, I now have a wood stove for sale. You want it, you come and get it. I will not be helping you load it.


6 thoughts on “Basement reno

  1. I love the last line. I lolled.

    Sounds like you guys have been really busy. I didn’t realize the extent of the work you were already doing. 🙂

    • With the geothermal, we didn’t feel we needed the supplementary heat from the wood stove. Plus, we’re not the types to keep feeding it all the time. Without it, we can have a fabulous TV area with a great furniture arrangement in the basement. I still want a fireplace, but upstairs in the living room.

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