Updated: Jul 5, 2019
We live in a (non historic) 1874 Farmhouse in our little town. It was one of the first homes in our town and was originally a gist mill. The farm owned all of the land around us, acres of land that crossed over the river on the property and up the winding road. Much of the land was sold off by the three families prior to us. Affectionately dubbed "Cagney Creek" our home consists of our barn, half an acre that has a river passing through it and our sweet little farm house. The barn, the "bones" or structure of the home are the only remaining pieces on the property that are original to her story. We love it dearly, albeit that she sits on a corner on a busy street. When we have looked at other houses on quieter streets, I always compare our land, our river and the barn and all else pales in comparison. She is unique, she has a story. She has beautiful high ceilings and light that fills the home from every angle. Born in 1874, Cagney Creek is far from perfect, she had a kitchen fire in 2007 which left a lot of damage. As a result much of the house was gutted, all of the electric, plumbing were replaced which was a huge win for us. The floor plan was redesigned from a lot of small rooms to an open floor plan. Although redesigned with central air, new windows, new insulation and new siding, the previous owners were older, the house was a bit neglected and needed some more work and some TLC. I of course, saw potential! The house itself has a friendly feeling, it is sunny and open, and I of course like the design challenge!
Our basement was a different story. Cold, musty and dark. It had winding cellar stairs that were as steep as they were narrow. Once down there, the basement showed its signs of age. We jokingly considered it a dungeon and prepared the main floor for living areas. Fast forward 2 kids later and we needed space! With no designated play area, our home had kids' toys everywhere! Raise your hand it you can relate!
We knew we needed space and the fastest and easiest use of space was to use our basement. Back in the day, ceilings were root cellars or coal chambers. They weren't designed to be used to live in and our basement definitely reflected that. It had a coal room, low ceilings and a creepy crawl space. Nevertheless, we saw potential.
Read the step by step plans below of how we renovated the basement to a bright and beautiful and USEABLE space for our family.
Need: Office space and Kids play room. Style: Coastal, traditional Issue: Low Ceilings, old.
Execution: 1. Repoint the field stone. 2. Sheet rock, but leave part of the old stone wall exposed. (We knew the back nook would be used for an office and leaving that stone exposed added interest and separation as well as a nod back to the original farmhouse that it is.) 3. Sheet rock old beams and leave exposed (because nailing ceiling sheetrock to them would have lowered the ceiling). 4. Run ash colored oak planks between the beams. (This ended up adding design and a custom feel to the ceiling.) 5. Build out frame and add a window seat that lifts up for storage. 6. Relocate basement door / rebuild stair case. Stain grey. 7. Lay grey porcelain tile flooring. 7. Paint and decorate.
Part of designing a renovation is first realizing the potential. To me, that is using the beauty you have and making it a more usable and livable space!