The basement is finished!

After four long, expensive years, the main renovations on my basement are now finished! I feel irrationally happy about this.

So, here are some before-and-after pictures.

First, here’s what it looked like when I moved in:

Concrete walls with no insulation, open ceiling with old insulation hanging out, wires and junction boxes hanging down, speakers in the ceiling, volume controls built into the wall. Spots on the carpet in exactly the right position for the stools that sat by the bar. Basically, a mess.

Also, there was a bar. Padded elbow rests, pot lights, mirrors, a working sink, and a beer fridge in the corner. Most of my friends who saw it immediately said: “swinger’s club”.

So, basically, the best kind of mess.

And then I got rabbits. And I cared for them and adored them and loved them, because I think rabbits are the most wonderful animals. But I could not keep them.

And then, three years after the rabbits, I decided that the beer fridge under the bar was probably going to rot if I didn’t remove it, and that the only way to remove it would be to tear down the bar. I was also worried that some of the materials down there might have had asbestos. As fun as it was to say that I had a sex club in my house, I decided that it all had to go.

So, summer of 2019, a friend of mine and I took down the ceiling, the bar, and most anything else that might have been a health hazard or an obstacle to actually using the basement for actually living in.

There was, indeed, mould in the glue that held down the carpet. But no asbestos– I got the testing done, to be sure. The mould was cleaned up safely and professionally. And so the basement remained a blackbox for a few more months, until I felt confident I had enough money (and a deep enough line of credit) to pay for the game-changing phase.

And in these early months of 2020, I found a contractor, fired him, found another contractor, fired that one too, and found a third contractor who got the job done, on time, on budget, and in quality.

So, here’s the work in progress:

The insulation that my parents and I added after my first winter was removed, new wires and frames installed, the insulation returned to place, and the wires cleaned up, and the drywall to cover it.

More evidence of the old swinger’s club emerged: behind one wall we found another wall, covered in soft-porn magazine pictures from the 60s and 70s! We tore it down, but here are some Safe For Work examples:

And now, I have a basement room that I can actually use!

The railing for the stairs, and the cabinet on the wall that you can see in the picture above, are the only visible remnants of the way the room used to be. (The breaker panel is in that cabinet, so that’s why it stayed.)

The urinal stayed, too.

And now I’m off to put down a chair, and have a beer, and baptise the room as officially habitable. Hey, I can have my coronavirus-lockdown vacations in here!

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