For 18 weeks I wrote a weekly update on
the progress of our remodel project. At the end the work was really
small items, just working through a punch list and we were starting to
live in the space. Now that everything is in place and we have been
fully using the space for a few weeks I wanted to post a final photo
walk through. The whole family is delighted with the addition and the
new spaces have dramatically changed how we use our space. It’s been
As a comparison before looking at all these pictures, you may want to
look at the pictures from the start of the
project first. Or visit week 4 when it
all looked like a disaster zone.
The back door of the house from the garage hasn’t changed much from the
final photos at the end of the project. All the exterior work was done
well before winter was (supposed to) arrive.
The new location for the grills is great. Before they were under the
windows in the left hand side of the photo and were a little in the way
as you approached the house. Also, having the lights there helps when
you do some evening grilling in the winter.
Take note of the window on the left next to the smaller window. In the
future that will likely get taken out and a door put in. The wood on top
of the mudroom roof is cedar decking and it is ready for use as a
walk-out deck. The railing is 36" and there is a set of outdoor speakers
up there. I think a couple of chairs would work well out there and the
access would be from the hallway upstairs so it could be used by the
One of the nicest changes is the spacious built-in as you enter the
We have plenty of room for everyone’s coats, shoes and all the other
items we want ready access to. I even have a compartment just for my
camera so it can be safe but still easily accessed. At the end of the
mudroom we put a desk and shelving and that is where I spent more
focused computer time, and where I’m writing this blog post from.
I wasn’t sure about this space at first, but I’ve grown to really like
it. The floor is heated in the mudroom which is nice, and I love having
all the windows on the right.
The entry to the office is open, except for when Tyler closes the pocket
Tammy found a small couch that works perfect in this room and is also a
fold-out bed for a visitor, in a pinch.
We also have a very small corner desk in this room which is where Tammy
tends to spend computer time, although she also uses the desk in the
mudroom as well.
The couch was the last item to arrive but it’s already proven to be a
hit. Mazie likes to read books there and it’s got a nice feel to just
relax in a spot that is away from the main traffic areas of the
house. The view through the doorway out to the deck is really nice and
insures we are “connected” to the outdoor spaces.
In the summer I look forward to having all the windows open and being
able to hear the kids as they run around and play as well as keeping a
close eye on the Big Green Egg.
The stairs down to the family room work out really well and even though
it is a high traffic area we rarely get jammed up there.
The cutouts into the kitchen really help it to feel bigger than it
really is. It’s also nice that you can see from the kitchen all the way
into the family room.
The family room was the main focus of the basement work and we love how
it came out. This is as you come down the stairs.
The carpet is super soft and everything came together really nice. The
couch is massive.
We figure as the kids get older you could easily have a ton of kids
hanging out watching a movie, having a sleep over. We went for maximal
comfort and I can say with significant experience now that this is a
great spot to watch a movie. The built-in for the TV came out great as
The drawers on the bottom hold fun stuff for the kids and the cabinets
on the left are plenty big for any gear. The three speakers above are
very discrete, as are the rear channels on the window.
See the subwoofer? There is actually a pretty awesome sub hidden in the
wall underneath the window there. It fires directly into the couch which
insures maximum impact for loud explosions. :-)
This is where we spend most of our time in this room and we are very
pleased with it all. The other side of the family room has a small table
with chairs that works well for a laptop or a relatively small project.
Hidden behind that door is the electric room which houses the digital
nerves for the house. One of the project objectives I wanted to achieve
was to have an older house but have modern infrastructure. I now have
wiring infrastructure that will serve the entire house for the
That entire cabinet swings out for easy maintenance. Check out the
detail on the wiring.
All coaxial and network jacks home run into that one panel. It is a
delight to maintain.
Here is the view going back toward the stairs. You can see here the
distinct level of the new basement floor. This side was lowered 7" in
the remodel and we are really happy that we did it. Half of the family
room has a lower ceiling to accommodate ventilation and lowering the
floor made a huge difference. The landing to the utility and fitness
rooms is the shortest height in the room at about 6' 3".
Turning left on the landing you head into the fitness room.
On this side we left the basement windows as they were with the glass
block and the floor was not lowered. The exercise room ceiling was on
the side of the basement that had no ventilation ducts so the room is
still plenty tall, just short of 7'. We put a little extra lighting in
this room because I like it to be bright when working out. The floor is
cork and looks really nice.
Tammy did a great job (as always) getting the art right. We had a minor
snafu with paint and ended up reverting back to a very neutral look
which was my preference.
The view from the treadmill. The TV is mounted on the wall and there are
in-wall speakers in here as well. An AppleTV provides the content and
the amplifier is in the cabinet for the family room on the other side of
the wall. It is all automatic, so you just turn on the TV and start
playing something. That is important at 6:00 am when you are very much
wishing you were in bed.
Our new fitness room has actually inspired me to get back on this spin
bike and sweat a bit. It’s been really fun and there is a good vibe to
the whole layout.
The basement extended out over our entryway upstairs so that little
alcove was turned into very useful storage space.
It even has a fancy switch to turn the light on and off when you open
I didn’t take any photos of the utility room because, well, it’s a
utility room. Imagine a cramped room with a furnace, water heater,
freezer, utility sink and more stuff than it should have in it. You get
Some things I didn’t cover above:
Since we were sealing off the basement we took the opportunity to
put a doorbell in. The original, wired, doorbell had been removed
some years ago and I really dislike the wireless ones. We now have a
proper chime and lit doorbell buttons on the front and back doors.
We replaced the railings and surround on our front door and it looks
really great. The old surround was rotting out, it was a bad choice
of wood. It now matches the railing in the back.
We all really love the new space. I’m a little surprised how much the
kids love going down there and tumbling around on the carpet. Since the
rest of the house is hardwood it’s a nice option for them to goof around
We also have nothing but good things to say about
Quartersawn, the contractor we
used. Jeff put together a great plan and design, exploring a lot of
options with us. He worked with Tammy directly on the cabinetry and came
up with things that we all loved. Mike was on the job nearly every day
and stayed on top of everything with amazing detail. Weekly meetings
kept things running smoothly and any changes in plans we knew about
right away. I’ve heard horror stories of remodels but have none to share
Looking back on the project we’ve wondered what we would change, if
anything. There are a couple of things.
This would have been a great time for me to do some better lighting
above my espresso area in the kitchen. The electrician could have
easily put another can in and it would have been really helpful.
Once I realized I wanted it, it was way too late.
Also in lighting, we don’t think we did enough lighting in the
stairwell to the family room. We have really nice stair lighting
that is discreet and looks very classy. But some nice lighting in
the ceiling above would have made that space more interesting.
This got pretty long but I thought it would be fun to give a virtual
tour of our new space. Tammy also wrote about the new space on Smaller
Than a Redwood with her take on the new space.
All these photos were taken with my Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L ultra wide
so there is a little skewing in the corners, even after Lightroom
applying lens corrections. I wanted to capture as much of the space as I