Decisions, Decisions….


January 23, 2015 by Decorum DIYer

As Chris and I are chugging along with our basement remodel, we are encountering an impasse.  Although we are attacking this renovation a little out of order (i.e. flooring before walls and ceiling), we do have a general plan.  However, there are a few points of contention regarding the following items/areas:

  1. A happy home for my husband’s guitars and paraphernalia.  He doesn’t want a bona fide studio, but a place to hang out and jam – which amounts to a large corner in the living area of the basement. I’m okay with this, but I need to know what he wants, so that I can plan around it.
  2. The pool table is staying, but can’t agree where to place it. Its current location works, but if it were turned perpendicular and to the left of its current location, we would have space for other seating/activities.
  3. Full bath vs. half bath.  In addition, its exact location.  I want a full bath, as we only have one full bath on the upper level for five people.  Our master bath is only a three-quarter bath and quite tiny.  I want the bathroom to include a window and my husband isn’t sold on having a bathroom on the lower level – even then he doesn’t think it needs a window.
  4. This is the biggest point of contention – I would like a home office.  I have plans to start a business (furniture painting and possibly home staging) and my husband may be able to work from home in the coming years.  He does not feel that a home office is necessary and if it were included in our plans, he thinks it should have the window I have earmarked for the full bath.


None of the above plans jeopardize the work that has gone into the basement thus far (painting cement block walls and installing flooring in the living area).  Rather, with exception of furniture placement for the “rock star corner”, these future plans concern the other half of the basement.  We just can’t come to an agreement.  Below I have our current layout and then my suggested layout.

Here is our current layout:


Please forgive my poor attempt at using Homestyler. Note that there is a wall down the center of image, but for some reason I couldn’t make it viewable.


Here is my proposed plan:



Again, there is a wall down the middle of the floor plan (use your imagination). Therefore the playroom and office are separated by a wall. However, there is also a door (sliding barn door, perhaps?) between the office and the workspace.


I would show you a proposed floor plan for Chris’ ideas, but he really doesn’t have one.  That is part of the problem, he doesn’t know what he wants and he doesn’t understand my need to have a firm plan in place.  What I do know is that he has a few issues with my plan:

  1. He doesn’t think a full bathroom is necessary.  Maybe just a half bath?
  2. He isn’t sold on the need for a home office, but if we had one, he doesn’t like the idea of a windowless one. (I think the window is best suited for the full bathroom.  Besides, that is where the plumbing is currently located.)
  3. He questions my need for a lovely laundry room, especially if we grow old here and eventually move the laundry back to the first floor (where it was when we moved here).  I disagree, since I do most of the laundry.  😉


There are a few things I do know about how I want the basement to feel.  I want it to feel like the upper level: full of light and cozy.  I also want this basement to provide a ton of storage.  I envision wall-to-wall cabinetry along the left wall of the living space to house our television/entertainment components, photographs, books, art supplies, board games, etc….  I also really would like to have a home office.  Sure, it would be windowless and narrow, but I think it could work.  Maybe something like this….


Judith Balis Interiors Interior Designers & Decorators

 Via Houzz


There are a few concerns that I have regarding my plan, too:

  1. Am I using the space effectively?  I realize that I have a wide hallway down the center, but that is to allow large furniture pieces to move easily in and out of the workroom to the exterior basement door.  It is also to allow large appliances, like the washer, dryer, and back-up freezer to be easily changed out; should we need to replace them.
  2. Am I accounting for utilities, such as plumbing and electrical access?  Because it is below grade, we would need a pump or macerator to have a fully functioning bath.  This could be a unit behind the toilet, or buried beneath the flooring (jack-hammering the concrete floor and repairing).
  3. How does this plan work for resale?  I don’t see the point in squeezing out a 5th bedroom, but I think using the space for as many functions as possible makes sense for a four bedroom home, i.e. living area, second full bathroom (we only have one full bathroom upstairs), laundry room, workroom, playroom (which could also be used as storage when the children are older), and a home office.
  4. Am I making a floor plan that flows and that makes sense?  I’ve checked my local codes and basically there are no guidelines with finishing a basement as to interior walls, other than obtaining permits and using professionals for electrical and plumbing work (within reason – changing a light fixture is okay).


I guess what I am asking you is, “What do you think?”.  I feel as though there is a professional that could assist me with this, but what is that profession?  An architect? An interior designer? A structural engineer?  I guess I am just conflicted and need to know if my plans make sense.  Or, alternatively, is there a professional I could hire to whip up a perfect floor plan that meets all of our needs (and agreed to by Chris and me) and which takes into consideration things we may not even be thinking about. Please feel free to give me your suggestions and/or point me in the right direction of what types of professionals oversee these design dilemmas.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


5 thoughts on “Decisions, Decisions….

  1. letty hixon says:

    Does adding a bathroom increase your property taxes? I would definitely add the following:
    Home office
    Laundry room
    Full bathroom
    Bathroom should have a window as you need to “air out” the room.
    I you know a real estate agent in your area ask them what extra rooms seal the deal.

    • Letty, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I’m not just saying that because you are agreeing with me. 😉

      That said, it must be stated that the window in question is not really an operational window. It is an old window that has been sealed (can no longer open) and that is located under the back porch. Although it is not an operational window and it doesn’t have full light – it is still a window with a sliver of natural light. Our plans are to keep the opening and replace it with glass blocks. We do plan to add a vent/heater in the bathroom. Sorry, I should have mentioned that part.

      I do know a few real estate agents. While we don’t plan to sell this house, I want to keep our options open as to resale.

      As to property taxes, I don’t believe that it does change anything, as it is below grade – not factored into the square footage of our home.

  2. Jo says:

    Absolutely get a full bath. Maybe not a tub but a nice shower stall which can come in handy for lots of issues that you don’t want to have happen in your main bathroom. And it’s a small leap from half to whole bath.

    I wouldn’t wall in the office space but perhaps create it out of bookshelves or knee wall with glass above that would seem like a window. Something like this pin: I wouldn’t like a small room with no window but I definitely vote yes to the full bath. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

    • Great points! I do like the pin that you shared. I think for a family of five, with three children whom are 8 and younger, a second full bath is a necessity. A shower/bath combination is what I have in mind. I’ve already planned to use a double door/French door with glass panes for the entrance of the office (essentially the fourth wall – office will basically only be as wide as the door). Perhaps I should add a high transom window on the bath’s hall wall. It would be high enough to preserve privacy, but enough to allow light into the hallway and adjoining office? Thank you again for your ideas!

  3. So many options! I’ll weigh in on the parts I feel I have some stronger opinions and insights on.

    As for the bathroom, I would go for the full bathroom because I think that would add value to your home and because you only have one full bath on the first floor. I don’t think any potential home buyer gawks at having too many bathrooms! I don’t have much experience with basements since we don’t have them in this part of the country but I would think many people use them as some sort of guest space so a full bathroom would be appealing.

    I like the window in the bathroom (even if it doesn’t open). I think adding a second window (I know this was an option on the table) would greatly enhance the space and make more of an impression on a potential home buyer walking through the space.

    I would bring in a general contractor to talk your plans over. Even if you plan to DIY, you could at least get an estimate of how much the different renos would cost and general contractors are great at immediately knowing what can and can’t be done and providing reasonable alternatives. They will also have a good idea of what others in your area are doing so if you’re on the fence about something they can steer you towards what most other people are doing (again, thinking of resale here).

    I hope this helps! I’m horrible at creating purpose for unmarked spaces. You should see our backyard right now…yikes! Good luck, Christine!

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