Working downstairs (Beach House #73)

Because the upper half of the house is coming so close to completion, it’s freeing me up to start working in other areas. I’ve still got to finish up the basement and the back porch before I can consider my job close to done.

Remember how the basement used to look? It was a dungeon that stank of mold. It was really hard to breathe in there. I didn’t permit the girls to go in further than just inside the door, even though it was the only cool place to rest in August.


Doesn’t look all that bad, but… That white door on the left was just propped there to hide a gaping hole.


This is after we got a new header and sill plate put in. To take this photo I was actually standing on top of a giant pile of trash that we removed from in there.

So because of the way the refinancing process works, I’m going to have to temporarily have the laundry room down in the basement instead of the back porch. I’m supposed to build one of the cleanest rooms of the house…. from this??


Challenge accepted. (Reluctantly).

First: to close off the furnace and water heater area to make the basement less deep and dark.


The wall went in very easily! I got it all the way from loose lumber to drywalled in one day.


This cuts the basement depth by about 1/3 and lets the natural light from the window bounce around more easily. Makes it seem brighter even with one less lightbulb.


I still haven’t bought a door to cover up the gaping hole on the left. But I did cut down the only non-smashed-up door remaining from upstairs to become the utilities door.

But because neither the slab nor the joists above it are level – and of course not even parallel with each other, that would be too easy! – I had to plane down every single corner of the door individually, turning it into a sort wonky not-quite-parallelogram.


All that work, and it turns out I miscalculated the upper left-hand corner and it looks crooked! GRRRR! I mean, I know it is all crooked, but the goal was to make it look like it wasn’t by following what was there exactingly. That wonky top is going to bother me forever!

I finally got to install the big ole 60″ shelf unit that I’ve been holding onto for like 8 months now. I think I rescued it from the kitchen originally? It’ll make a nice ledge for laundry soaps, etc. and I love keeping stuff out of the dump.

The paint on the walls is called Drylok and it’s actually a moisture barrier. It should help keep the basement smelling nice and clean. I’m also planning to mount that dehumidifier next to the shelf and have it drain down into the washer drain. I still have to paint the whole wall behind where I was standing to take that photo above, though, and man do I hate painting cinderblock.

Unfortunately the three still-in-good-shape-enough-to-be-refinished kitchen cabinets are covered in mold and will be thrown out after all. I suspect the mold was there from before, since it’s only on their backs and nowhere else, and not on anything else either, but it’s certainly possible that it’s from their unexpectedly long stint in the unfinished basement. In any case they’ve got to go – I’m not doing all this work only to have it STILL smell like mold when I’m done!

There’s a ton of work left to be done, but this is a pretty good start.

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