We're doing what everyone says you shouldn't do: get pregnant AND renovate your house all at the same time. It wasn't exactly the timing that we might have preferred; it's just the way it all worked out. All I wanted was for the unfinished basement of our house to be fully finished by the time we had a baby. Which then turned into: well, why don't we spruce up the kitchen too, while we're at it. Which went right to: heck, let's shoot the moon and totally reconfigure our kitchen by knocking out walls, opening up the kitchen to the dining room, moving the powder room, and making the 3-season porch part of the kitchen like we really want to do.
So, here we are, a couple of weeks into The Great Renovation. We've started with the basement, which really doesn't disrupt our lives too much. It made us finally clean all the junk out of the basement, which had become a semi-permanent waystation for Goodwill and the dump. The basement detritus broke nicely into the Rule of Thirds: one third we kept, one third went to Goodwill, and one third went to the dump. The third that we kept is currently stacked to the ceiling in our study, enabling us to still have semi-normal use of that space, with just a few double-jointed moves necessary to access the hard drive and printer.
Here are some "before" photos of the basement.
The fireplace is not staying. (1) It's ugly; (2) it is occupying the future home of the flat screen HDTV; and (3) it's not even safe to use, as it was installed on a plywood platform by some home improvement genius.
Yeah, I never realized how Blair Witch Project creepy the basement really is until I looked at these photos.
Ooh, look: Destruction! The first thing that had to be done was to jackhammer up all of the existing concrete and dig down about 4 inches. The concrete was very old, thin, and cracked, and the floor was uneven, so it was necessary to start over.
The workers found what we think was the old coal chute. It was a terra-cotta and brick channel under the cement floor (see the terra cotta bits above). It may date back to the original house construction when people had coal-fired "boilers" in the basements.