The Basement Renovation: The Floor Plan
A period of several months passed between the time that I took the strapping off the walls and applied the moisture-proofing. During that time, before I started framing the basement walls, I played around with a couple of different floor plans.
The most difficult part of coming up with workable floor plans in any renovation is visualizing the final product. In a large open unfinished space such as a basement, the easiest thing to do is to follow the lead of Les Nessman (WKRP in Cincinnati) and put tape where walls will go. That way you can see how your proposed layout will affect traffic patterns. While I tweaked small details over the five years of working on the basement renovation, the basic layout that I originally developed remained the same.
Moving the furnace and / or the laundry fixtures would have been cost-prohibitive so my plans did have some limitations. However, the hot water tank was a twelve year old rental unit and was due to be replaced so I took the opportunity to have its location changed when the new unit was installed. Even gaining a couple of inches was a huge accomplishment, and it allowed me to have a straight wall in the new computer room.
Despite the fact that I was actually adding more walls and closing off part of the space, the new basement floor plan emphasizes the open space, making the new family room appear much larger than it was originally.
The angled wall to the mechanical room looks good on paper. It also looks really good in its finished state and adds to the openness and airiness of the basement. However, it was a royal pain to frame out in the construction phase, especially given the slope of the floor. A general rule of thumb: anything that adds any character increases the level of difficulty in construction exponentially.
A late change to the plan involved replacing the double laundry tub with a single, thereby gaining more space in the laundry room.