I have to admit that I love starting basement renovations. They are usually a blank canvas with an endless array of possibilities. It is easy for me to see the potential the moment I walk down the stairs.
How do I see through the storage boxes, spider webs or old 1950s décor?
I don’t judge a book by its cover and I have no intention of starting with basements. I look at the bones!
> Where are the windows, plumbing, electrical panel and systems?
> Are the windows large enough for a bedroom?
> Where are the stairs in relation to the rest of the space?
> How many different rooms can you incorporate?
> Is there room for a large open space?
> How tall are the ceilings?
> Has the main floor been renovated?
It is an exciting time when a household can develop or renovate their basement. The wish list is usually long and wants to incorporate as much new technology and trends as possible. This space often becomes a place of quiet, privacy and fun all rolled into one.
Before you dive into a basement renovation, I wanted to share my top 5 tips for you.
1- Choose a contractor that can handle the permitting process for you. You want it done right and in full compliance with the city. Protect your investment and do it right the first time.
2- Choose a contractor that isn’t just a ‘doer’ but rather an ideas person. As I mentioned, a basement is a blank canvas with much potential. This renovation should add to the value of your home and not take away. You can get very creative with the budget, ideas and space utilization when you work with a contractor that is looking out for your best interest.
3- Create a wish list of wants and must haves. It is also wise to create a list of what you don’t want. I don’t know how many homeowners I have worked with that knew exactly what they didn’t want. This made the process easy because often times, a list of ‘don’t wants’ provides the greatest clarity to a contractor.
4- Be flexible with finishes or hardware or flooring or with the layout of the overall space. Sometimes the location of services will dictate the location of walls and a bathroom.
5- Ask yourself this question: are you done with any or all renovations on the main floor?” Before a basement is renovated, there is a window of opportunity to address any needs or wants for the main floor or even outside. A simple question of, “did you want to run a gas line to the outside or kitchen?” or “do you want in floor heating?” usually opens a homeowners eyes to think bigger. Let’s address this now rather than after the renovation is complete. It just makes sense.
The fall is quickly approaching here in Calgary and I always make the suggestion to start your basement renovation before the snow falls. The additional space is best used in the middle of winter when you can cuddle up on your new leather recliners and watch a movie in your new in-home theatre.