Category Archives: Basement Remodel

basement remodel

Things are wrapping up down in the basement first floor – the homeowners have started moving back into the remodeled spaces gradually, even holding a graduation party in the new family room!  The window above is a new one, high above the stair landing, facing south = lots of sunlight.  The 8′ tall french doors out to the deck bring in the views and light, facing east and a forested hill beyond.  Interior shot above, exterior shot below (in case there’s any confusion…)

The stairs from below in the family room.  The ledge was clad in the same wood / nosing as the stairs – a good place to sit.  The handrail is temporary, installed for the party.  The stair landing above, I’ve been told, is where karaoke performances will take place viewed from the family room, hence the spotlights.  I’ve already got some songs picked out!  (Note that this project is more traditional than I normally do – I was happy to be involved in the overall design, space development, windows/doors/stair/etc, but the owners are choosing the finishes.  “Provence goes to Mexico” was how she described the overall feel she was going for. )  Above, the wet bar at one end of the family rm, perfect for entertaining with sink, dishwasher and min-fridge. The second-floor living room, now almost doubled in size.  The opening overlooks the new stair to the first floor.  This area and two windows at the corner used to be a bedroom, which was combined with the dining room about where I’m standing to create one large living room.  Good scale!  (The former living room will now be used for dining.)This last photo is of two skylights poking through a small deck off of the kitchen.  One goes to the laundry rm and one to the bathroom at the first floor.  A good way to get light into what would have been windowless rooms, and as you can see they do get good sunlight.  This deck will be used mainly for grilling and potted herbs.  Maybe herbs de Provence!

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Basement Remodel

Need more room?  Look no further than your own unfinished / unexcavated crawlspace – basement!  (I just saw that ‘unexcavated’ isn’t in the dictionary but I know I’ve seen it before so I’m keeping it in..) Construction continues at this Inner Sunset house where we dug down about 4′ to create a guest room.  The photos above are a few weeks old and today the room is framed in as seen below.  The new south-facing window will bring in lots of light.  It peeks out onto the driveway, the only part of the room low enough for a window.  (that’s tape, not red paint..) The reconfigured, spacious stair goes down to the enlarged Family Rm (‘man cave’) at the back of the house.  Above, the stair will be open along the side to the newly enlarged Dining Rm. On the landing of the new stair is a tall south-facing window.  Next to it is a tiny, formerly exterior closet window that was kept – a whimsical little detail!  The back of house was opened up with new doors and windows, onto a new deck which is now being tiled with __________ chosen by the owner.  I like the 45° angle pattern – keeps it interesting.  There will be a glass guard rail around the perimeter soon. 

As I was at the site today, a Peregrine Falcon landed on a pole just behind the deck!  Pretty cool bird…it was glaring at something, maybe a pigeon or a mouse, but it flew away empty-taloned. 

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Basement Remodel

Above: before.  Below: during.  This house on a steeply down-sloping lot in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco has a full-height basement with great views which was never fully utilized or developed.   Look at those wimpy little windows~  The owner was concerned with the house sliding down the hill, and compared its slope to a Blahnik.  It seems that a 90+yr old house that withstood 100s of tremors – and the 1989 quake – is probably staying put.  Even with its sub-par structure seen below!  We opened up the back wall with larger windows and 8′ tall doors which will lead out to a deck.  Above, a view of the existing narrow, steep stairs – fit for a Hobbit!  These will be rebuilt larger with a window above the landing.  The existing basement room on the left, with dropped ceiling, small window, carpeting, and one of those hey guess what I just did bathroom doors that opens directly into a room – never a good idea…  Other parts of this project include:  Fill-in an existing lightwell with additional rooms on the basement level, where rickety old wood stairs are seen on the left.  (The owner actually fell through one of these steps just before it was torn down!)  Secondly, replace a catch-all storage room seen on the right with a guest bedroom.   They’ll cringe to see this, but we all have one of those spaces!  The room has to be excavated quite a bit to get full height, and is still being dug now.  Here’s the basement room down to the studs – no insulation, as is common in older SF buildings.  Notice how much unused wall space is above the window!  The owner is reusing some of this old redwood lumber to make a table, great green idea.  This full-width room had a beam across the ceiling, which was resting on (2×6) posts that just barely landed on the concrete footings – see belowYou could literally knock the post off the concrete with one good elbow….scary, especially in seismic SF!   Not sure how this was ever approved previously.   The same rear wall with new doors and windows installed.  Nice view, and the room will be used for entertaining indoor and outdoor on the deck.   More to come!

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