home reno: basement episode 1

As soon as we knew we knew the house was going to be ours, we brought in a contractor to take a look.  There were a few items in the house I knew I just could not deal living with.  Some I could tackle.  For others, it was time to bring in the big [pro] guns.

Our basement had dropped ceilings.  I specify these all the time…but for offices, not for homes.  They had to go, the sooner the better!  I even started pulling a few down on my own [until various remnants of bugs and evidence of mice fell on me…then I decided to let someone else deal with it.]  The other odd part about the basement was that the bathroom was open to the laundry room area.  I have dreams of turning the basement into a loungey space that can transform into a guest area, so that odd configuration just could not remain.

Ring Holder and house 019

Reminder: this is what the basement looked like before we bought it.  Dropped ceiling and all.

One of the truths about buying an old house is that storage is virtually non-existent.  We are super lucky in that our master bedroom had a walk-in closet [as in, we can step in and step out], but we definitely needed more storage.

So, we started brainstorming about how to get rid of the dropped ceiling [including the crappy fluorescent lights], how to partition-off the bathroom, and how to get more storage.  I made a few plans to see how it could look…

Basement Plan

The dorky architect in me came out…


I first wanted to drywall the ceiling, but the cost was rough…and, we would lose major height.  While searching for a house we saw a house whose staging designers simply sprayed the ceiling rafters white. It looked awesome!  I actually did not remember it until we started thinking about how to fix ours.  A few weeks later we went to another house where the renovating contractor did the same thing, but with black.  Choices!  Here’s a few I love:

Melrose interior designer Justine Sterling’s finished project room for her kids.

Image via Boston Globe, design by Justine Sterling 


Image via Homedit

Image via here

We had two contractors come in; one was double what we wanted to spend, but the other, Alex, came in just right.  While we describing what we wanted with the bathroom/laundry room dilemma and the two doors or door swing issues, he suggested a pocket door.  Bingo!


After day 1


After day 3

For storage, I knew what we were going to do.  I decided we would take the whole back wall of the basement and turn it into one large, long closet.  It would take up precious floor space, but instead of swinging doors we would have two large barn doors that would bypass each other.


Bypassing barn door hardware from Amazon, buy it here.  As in, this is the exact one we got!


I had to make sure I liked how it would look before giving it over!

Hubs was on board, contractor thought it was great, and so we started Monday morning!  Here’s the progress:


After day 1


After day 2


After day 3

Now, I need to start thinking about what these barn doors will look like!  Can’t wait to share more!

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