August 13, 2022

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A Basement Transform Boosts a Petite Footprint

An energetic household scratches a grasp tub and Queens basement transform off their to-do record

Photographs courtesy of Dixon Initiatives

  • Householders: Gordon and Tracy posted their Queens basement transform on Sweeten
  • The place: Sunnyside neighborhood, Queens, New York
  • Major renovation: Transform two loos and rework the basement right into a twin dwelling and utility/cupboard space in a 1,200-square-foot single-family house
  • Sweeten common contractor
  • Sweeten’s position: Sweeten matches householders with vetted common contractors for residential renovation initiatives, providing information, help, and as much as $50,000 in job-related monetary safety—at no cost.

Visitor weblog put up by Sweeten home-owner Gordon

A brand new begin for an previous house

Our house, a brick townhouse within the Sunnyside Backyard Historic District, was inbuilt 1925 in one of many first deliberate communities impressed by the English Backyard Motion in the US. This enclave within the borough of Queens was initially developed to advertise inexperienced house and neighborhood whereas offering reasonably priced housing to working-class of us. Tracy, a monetary analyst, and I, a trainer, had been dwelling within the neighborhood for a while once we bought the home, a former rental that hadn’t been improved for the reason that early ‘90s. We had a variety of concepts for updating it.

Basement renovation before
bathroom during

SWEETEN Gordon-BasementBathroom-Earlier than-05

SWEETEN Gordon-BasementBathroom-Throughout-06

We felt fortunate to discover a three-story house of roughly 1,200 sq. ft, or 400 sq. ft per flooring. The townhouse had three bedrooms and two loos, and that was greater than sufficient for the 2 of us, our cats, Laurel and Juniper, and our canine, Ballou. We wished to gut-renovate each baths and overhaul our underutilized basement. If we might squeeze in most operate on each stage, the home would really feel extra fashionable and larger.

green sofa and pink poufee and cushions in an office space with white open shelves and white desk after renovationAfter picture of basement remodel

Transforming a landmarked townhouse

We had renovated the kitchen simply after shopping for the home 4 years in the past. The job, a mixture of DIY initiatives and subcontractor commissions, was profitable however laborious. We had been recovered and able to deal with the subsequent part, however understood that the problem of the work would exceed our personal skills, as would the crimson tape. As a result of we personal a landmarked constructing, we must safe not solely the anticipated Division of Buildings paperwork but additionally get hold of Landmarks Preservation Fee (LPC) permits and approvals on all work impacting the constructing’s exterior. We knew our common contractor would assume a lot of this burden, which made us really feel extra snug diving in.

We dreamed of a refined concrete flooring however settled for giant, matte concrete-effect tiles as an alternative.


basement stairs, TV

basement storage, laundry room

Giving new life to the basement

Of the entire renovation, the basement could be the bigger piece, the objective was to extend the home’s usable house. Earlier than we began, the basement was a big, unlevel room. Because of the previous house’s strategy of settling, there was a two-inch distinction in flooring peak from the partitions to the room’s heart. It had an outdated toilet and poorly deliberate utility areas. A earlier proprietor had put in an awkwardly positioned cupboard and sink in the midst of the large room, and the washer and dryer subsequent to the 40-year-old boiler, making laundry day a sweaty affair. The basement toilet was darkish and dank. We wished to recreate the basement as a examine, gaming/film house, music heart, and cat sanctuary with storage, laundry, and a hospitable second toilet. 

washer and dryer basement

A Queens basement transform to be livable

We began within the downstairs, the place we first needed to stage the ground. We dreamed of a refined concrete flooring however settled for giant, matte concrete-effect tiles as an alternative. The price and problem of doing a poured flooring simply didn’t make it sensible, and we had been finally proud of an alternate that gave the room an analogous really feel at a decrease price. After dropping two inches of headspace within the leveling of the ground, our Sweeten contractor advised elevating the ceiling by exposing and portray the heating pipe—straightforward, since they had been changing the room’s drywall, anyway. A brand new basement door, window, and vents for the toilet and boiler room had been put in. 

Subsequent, they subdivided the house, creating a brand new dwelling space, a storage room, and an expanded toilet. LPC approvals, needed for the brand new exterior basement door and window, in addition to toilet and laundry venting, went via easily.

bathroom image after remodel(Above) “After” basement toilet

concrete bathroom sink

That leads me to the renovation’s second and equally vital half: the toilet remodels. The basement tub would get an entire intestine job to take away a creepy stall bathe, and an enlargement to make room for a freestanding bathtub. The windowless downstairs toilet wanted to be brilliant and clear. We went for a spare look, selecting massive wall tiles, a customized concrete sink, and a wall-hung rest room, along with the gorgeous bathtub.  

A bath-turned-shower for the grasp tub

Our upstairs tub would even be gutted and refreshed, with a glass-walled bathe changing the previous tub-and-shower setup. We couldn’t make the 30-square-foot room greater, however we might up its storage and performance. Upstairs, we went for a contemporary rest room and a compact, wall-mount sink, together with a recessed drugs cupboard, and toothbrush area of interest. We put in rectangular wall tiles vertically for a playful impact. Each baths acquired recessed lighting. 

black hexagon bathroom floor tile, clear shower doors(Above) “After” upstairs toilet

When it was lastly time to complete the basement, we had been excited to have the ability to set up the shelving system ourselves; the contractor made it straightforward by mounting wooden blocking between the wall studs. We wished built-ins, however the wall-shelving was less expensive and appears nice. We offset impartial surfaces with books, wooden accents, and colourful velvet furnishings. One takeaway we agree on: Don’t low cost out on {hardware}; the distinction exhibits because it wears.

The one draw back, ultimately, was that the worth of the venture got here in rather more than we anticipated after we needed to exchange the boiler and a rotted drainpipe. As soon as we finalized the duty record, although, our Sweeten contractor caught to the funds. Doubling our dwelling house has had such an influence on our day by day life. We don’t have a single remorse!

Thanks, Gordon and Tracy, for sharing your Queens basement and tub transform with us! 

Renovation Supplies

BATHROOM RESOURCES (BASEMENT): Flooring tiles in Intuition Darkish, wall tiles in Intuition Talc: TileBar. Litze {hardware} and bathe fixtures in nickel/teak: Brizo. Oberto tub: Maax. Customized sink/vainness: Stogs Concrete Design. Mirror: West Elm. Toto rest room: Home equipment Connection Washlet. 1-light wall sconce: Hinsdale. 

BASEMENT RESOURCES: Paint on basement door in Off-Black: Farrow & Ball. Flooring: TileBar. Miele washer/dryer: Home equipment Connection. Paint in Robust White: Farrow & Ball. Laundry cabinetry: Customized. Wooden countertop: Ikea.

BATHROOM RESOURCES (UPSTAIRS): Flooring tiles in Black Matte Hex Mosaic: Roca Tile. Wall tiles in Bayou White: TileBar. Litze bathe fixtures in polished chrome: Brizo. Bathe glass doorways: customized. Teorema sink: Nameek’s. Kohler San Souci Touchless rest room: Home equipment Connection.  Lighting: Rejuvenation. Kohler vanity mirror/drugs cupboard: Home equipment Connection. 

Cristiana and her husband rework a dated basement of their 1918 Colonial Craftsman home. Right here’s their transform.

Sweeten handpicks the perfect common contractors to match every venture’s location, funds, scope, and elegance. Comply with the weblog, Sweeten Tales, for renovation concepts and inspiration and while you’re able to renovate, begin your renovation on Sweeten.