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The Basement Renovation: Window Workaround

We ran into an interesting problem with our basement floor plan.  The ideal location for the common wall between the computer room and the furnace room bisected an existing window. Positioning the wall so the window was completely in the computer room would have been impossible without moving the furnace. And positioning the wall so the window was completely in the furnace room would have shaved about a foot off of the width of the computer room. The best compromise was to build a box around the window, bringing it fully into the computer room while only encroaching on a corner of the furnace room.

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Window on one side….

The window box was constructed out of wood rather than the metal framing because it had to support the weight of a horizontal piece of drywall. I also wanted the versatility of having shelves on the furnace room side of the structure for additional storage.

bringing a window fully into a room bisected by a wall
Framing to bring the window fully into the computer room.

Once I hung the drywall, the window was entirely in the computer room.  This allows light into the space that needs it, rather than wasting it in the furnace room.

The frame work is in two parts.  The “base” is essentially a free-standing box fastened to the concrete floor with Tap Cons. It’s fastened to the outside wall using screws, brackets and anchors. 

The connection to the wall is not as strong as it could be.  Ideally, I should have attached the wall to the block foundation or a framing stud.  However, with the drywall tying the wood and the steel framing together, the structure seems stable enough.  The top the structure is simply a wall screwed to the top of the base unit and to the ceiling.  This further stabilizes the entire structure.

A Better Way: I should have created an alcove in the computer room by building full-height walls. I could have then framed a half wall across the alcove to create the same look. The overall structure would have been much stronger.

bisected window fully in one room

I sized the box so that it was large enough for easy access to the window, not only for opening and closing but also cleaning.

cubby

The wood block on the ceiling hides the gas pipe which was slightly lower than the finished drywall ceiling.  I hollowed out the block on the table saw to allow clearance for the pipe.

computer room window box
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…Storage on the other

On the furnace room side, I left an opening to create a small built-in cabinet.   I installed a couple of shelves, making this an ideal place to store light bulbs, batteries and furnace filters.  This is a definite case of function over form. However it is in the furnace room and is therefore not normally seen by visitors.

storage cabinet
The cabinet in the furnace room.

I had made a simple plywood door for it, but the door just did not look right with the sloping floor.  Rather than having the bottom shelf so close to the floor, I should have raised it up about 6 inches so it was completely level, and installed a kick plate cut to accommodate the sloping floor.  If the door was at least a couple of inches from the floor, it would have looked a lot better.  That’s why they call it a learning curve, folks!

When I determined the overall size of the structure, I also had to take into consideration the necessary clearance for the furnace, so that the furnace could be easily replaced without having to knock down any walls. It’s always important to think ahead…


The Basement Renovation

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