As you know we’re in the middle of our master bedroom, master bathroom, and main bathroom remodel and to re-route the plumbing and ductwork we decided to take up the floor. While we were tearing up the floor I half-jokingly suggested that we should redo the basement lighting while we were at it. If I remember right Flannel Man’s exact reaction was, “Woman why do you have to make everything so difficult?!” But the longer he thought about it the more work it would be to install the basement lighting later rather than now. We would need to tear out most of the ceiling to route wiring later. So the remodel has officially expanded…again.
Backstory: The remodel started out as two bathroom remodels but because we wanted to steal space from the master bedroom it expanded to include the bedroom too. When I worked out a master bathroom layout and we saw how tiny the master bedroom was going to be we decided to move the wall between the living room and master bedroom which is where the fireplace is. So we had to pick between boxing in the fireplace and loosing the space or removing both fireplace and chimney. We picked the more labor intensive option where we gained space. Then we decided against installing temporary master bedroom carpet that we would just tear out later to install hardwood floors. But the only good location to stop the hardwood floors was at the entry. Which now leads us to installing hardwood floors in all three bedrooms and the hallway…so half of our house.
The finished half of our basement is a huge 620sf rec room with no real purpose besides storage right now. It is a strange shape with a fireplace nook that cuts the space in half, a not so useful wide hallway, a low beam encased in a soffit, a shallow nook under the window, a kitchen countertop with a sink, and a stove outlet coming out of the floor nearby. The basement level:
We were told the original owners had a daughter who was mentally disabled so they built the basement to be a mini suite for her to live in. She had her own bathroom, kitchenette, and seating area near the fireplace. The space is completely above ground with two big windows and has a door to the back patio so it would have been a great “apartment.” The original owners lived here for 25 years before they sold the house and moved to Arizona. Unfortunately, they couldn’t convince their daughter to come along and she later committed suicide. : (
The second owners lived here for 10 years and they used the space for mostly storage. When we toured the house the room was packed to the gills with stuff.
We didn’t realize how big the room really was until our final walk through.
Gotta love that retro carpet.
Shallow nook around the window.
Kitchenette with soffit above and stove outlet on the floor.
The hallway for example was much wider than it had looked previously!
Someday we hope to turn it into a multi-functional space we’ll use on a regular basis. I’m a big planner (I know what a surprise right?) so I had started planning out the room’s layout when we bought the house three years ago.
We’re going to have a TV watching area in the center of the room.
A built in desk in the nook under the window with an island on casters right behind it for additional workspace while maintaining flexibility. One side of the island will have an overhang for seating.
The current sink and countertop will be redone and used as a utility sink because we don’t have one anywhere else in the house. The extra wide hallway to the bathroom and unfinished side of the basement will have floor to ceiling built-in storage hidden by sliding doors on either side of the soffit. With an infrared sensor we can hide the TV equipment and DVDs in this storage area.
The mini room where the massive fireplace used to be will be an exercise/future kids space with big sliding barn doors. For now we hope to use it as an exercise room but if we ever have kids we could use this configuration where we use a bookcase down the center for a divider to create a small play area.
The left over area between the patio door and main door will have a glass display case and a deep bench or daybed for reading. If we go with a deep bench we might try to fit a small table with chair in front of it or just design it to work with the height of our card table. A daybed on the other hand could work for a guest bed since we don’t plan to have at guest bedroom in the future.
So I had to come up with a lighting plan for the space and fast! Originally, there were only two ugly semi-flush light fixtures for the whole space. They did not put out nearly enough light so at night the space felt like a dungeon.
We wanted even diffused light that was adjustable depending on what we used the space for. Some task lighting was a must too. The basement has lower ceilings than the main floor so I wanted recessed lighting because it would make the space feel taller. We’re going to put all of the recessed lights on dimmers so we can adjust them for whatever we are using the space for. After talking to my lighting department at work I came up with this layout:
The space will go from 2 fixtures to 12 + task lighting! I put the recessed lights on an 8’ spacing because they are about 8’ off the floor. As a general rule that seems to work pretty well except that it’s a long skinny space and I didn’t want a single row of lights going down the room. How boring would that be? It would make this space look like a commercial corridor. So I took the width of the room, divided it in three, and put a zig-zag pattern of lights going down the room.
This uses less lights than a square grid (two lights per floor joist which run from the top to bottom of this picture) and adds interest.
Once I had that all drawn up I had to figure out which floor joist to start in and if I wanted more lights on the top or bottom line of lights. That was all decided on by where I could squeeze lights in under our master bathroom. That area is congested with plumbing and ductwork so finding a place to lights after the fact was a real treat. I found a way to make it work though by limiting the number of lights we had under that area and using task lights for the desk and sink. In the tightest spot we will need to use a smaller remodel housing to fit in the same floor joist cavity as the toilet waste line.
The exercise/storage room/possible play area will have it’s own light switch.
The desk will have two mini pendants hanging in front of the window for extra light.
The sink area will have four small recessed lights in the soffit above it. Currently, the space has it’s own flush mount light and switch but the light is behind where you stand so it only casts a lot of shadows on the sink. Not a very good design but with the floor tore up above we can see the beam takes up most of the soffit so there isn’t going to be much room to work with there.
The reading area will have two adjustable wall sconces on arms flanking the daybed/bench.
So what do you think? Do you like the new plan? Have your remodeling projects expanded again and again like ours?