The Attic Renovation: The Finished Product

The Attic Renovation: The Finished Product

Finishing the attic, with the exception of building the dormer and upgrading the heating system,, was probably within my abilities as a do-it-yourselfer. Certainly, I have done insulation, electrical and drywall in the past with good results. The project was slowed down mainly due to money and the longer it was delayed, the more frustrated I got. It was necessary to hire the first contractor to build the dormer. The insulation and drywall work he did for us was a bonus. The cost to me out of pocket was not too much more than what another company had quoted a year before for just roughing in the dormer.  Having the work finished by the other contractors in 2009 was a no-brainer. It only took them a couple of days to finish all the trim, hang the doors, install the bamboo floor and repaint.

The bamboo floors were installed the same way as hardwood (nail-down, not floating). The only stipulation is that the bamboo must run perpindicular to the floor joists. I chose bamboo for two reasons: it was something a little different and it is environmentally friendly. It can also be refinished the same as hardwood. I do, however, question its durability, Our floor seems to dent and scratch easily, and the damage doesn’t blend in with the character of the bamboo as well as it does with traditional oak floors.. The trim is painted MDF moldings which allowed for simple miter cuts in the corners– any minor gaps could be filled with caulking. The closets are finished with wire shelving which I installed myself (the instructions are very clear and idiot-proof).

After living in the house for six years, we were finally able to live upstairs. My daughter had a sleeping area set up in the livingroom. Now she has her own bedroom (and it is huge!) We also have a nice guest room for when we have out-of-town guests staying with us. My father-in-law can go upstairs and watch NASCAR while everyone else watches non-NASCAR programming on the main television in the family room. Best of all, there is ample storage for toys, games and puzzles– things that were cluttering up the main floor for years because we had no place to put them.

Project Completed in 2009

The Attic Renovation

The Basement Renovation: The finished product

The Basement Renovation: The finished product

It took roughly six years from start to finish, give or take months of procrastination and other distractions. The end result, though, was worth the stress. The house is less than 900 square feet, so having a large open-concept family room in the basement is a huge bonus. There is no wasted space down here. Even the fruit cellar has been converted into a finished storage room.

While I originally envisioned this space as a large party room with a bar and pool table, life changes. The largest portion of the family room can be set up as a cozy seating area. A home theater system can be placed at either end. The bar area is also a decent size in its own right. A fridge is plugged in the corner to provide convenient cold beverages to visitors, or to us when we are working in the home office.

The home office is small, but at 12 feet x 8 feet, it has the same square footage as our smallest bedroom upstairs. There is enough room for 2 large book shelves, one small book shelf, two file cabinets and our computer. It’s cozy, but since we don’t use it for business, it is more than adequate. And with a lock-set on the door, we can control access to the room when our daughter is older.

The suspended ceiling is higher than the one that was originally there, and with recessed lights (on dimmers), there is plenty of headroom and light. Compared to the old dark wood paneling, the cool green walls are fresh and light and make the space feel larger. This is definitely not the cave-like basement typical of so many homes from its era. I am very pleased with the final product, and I do believe that I have earned some bragging rights!


The transformation of the basement is dramatic when pictures of the progress are compared.

View from front of house

While the camera angle is different, it is easy to see the difference painted drywall makes over the dark paneling. Despite the fact that the new partition walls divide a larger portion of the basement, the room looks bigger.

From the clutter of construction to finished

The Stages of the Home Office

Project completed: March 2003. This was when I drove the final nail into the final piece of trim. It was also at the same time that we entertained an offer on the house after putting it on the market in order to buy our next home. However, by that time we had been using the basement– especially the computer room– for about 15 months.

The Basement Renovation

Basement Floor Plan
Hiding Stuff
Accommodating a Window
Installing Doors
The Stairway Transition
Finishing under the Stairs
The Laundry Room
The Pantry

The Finished Product