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SquishyBall 05-07-2013 12:57 PM

Basement - floorplan, Rendering... Ideas?
Here's what we've been working on... The original basement was finished (poorly) with a long narrow space along one side and one small bedroom tucked in the corner. The space was hardly used. We've now built out a second room in the basement (won't call it a bedroom due to no egress yet), raised all the ductwork, reframed everything, planned for a bathroom in the current closet, opened up under the stairs, and are planning for what to do w the family room space now.

The function of the space is to be a warm place for playing games (board games, video games), using the computer, or watching TV. We have 4 young kids so this will be the kid family room.

It'll have basic amenities like 5.1 surround wired to the 4 corners (not going 7.2 or more as it's not a huge space). Ethernet wired everywhere, HDMI thru the walls to connect to our main TV area on the first floor.

The tiny closet in the main room is where our water comes in, so that has to be sealed off from general view. It's in a terrible spot. We've considered a few options including not framing it but hiding it in a floor-to-ceiling cabinet that might endcap our built-in, or even putting a direct vent peninsula fireplace out into the center of the room, splitting it into two. Another option is a direct vent corner fireplace under the stairs.

We've also considered completely reversing the stairs, but that messes up our upper floor stairs. Have gone back and forth on 4 cans vs 6 cans in the family room area (3x2 vs 2x2). Lots of ideas but now need to finalize some thoughts. Any ideas? What would you do? Any innovative things you'd build in if you were creating a hi-tech playroom?

GBrackins 05-07-2013 05:24 PM

I have to ask the question ....... is there another way out of the basement other than the interior stairs that go up to the first floor?

SquishyBall 05-07-2013 09:18 PM

Yes, one window meets the egress requirements of openable space and height. It is about 8 sq ft and easily removable - easier than most modern windows I'd say. The window well is shy of 9 sq ft. Not sure why some previous owner did this since it would have been trivial to make it slightly larger.

GBrackins 05-07-2013 10:02 PM

depending on when it was done there might not have been the current codes in effect. glad to hear you have another way out with the kids playing down there.

SquishyBall 05-09-2013 07:40 AM

Alright so I've done a bit more work in my modeler, mainly trying to get the cabinets to look nice. How these are planned now will determine where outlets need to be installed so this has to be just right. Any suggestions?

GBrackins 05-09-2013 08:04 AM

models looks good, is that Sketchup?

SquishyBall 05-09-2013 12:18 PM

Thanks-- It's Chief Architect. Played w Sketchup a few times but never got the hang of it.

Beepster 05-09-2013 04:21 PM

Does a bathroom going where the closet currently is "work"? IE, where is the main drain that you have to tie into? Nearby or on the other side of the basement? How about venting, are you going to be able to vent the bathroom easily in that location?


SquishyBall 05-10-2013 07:38 AM

Yeah, I think it would work. In the floorplan above, the top of the image is the street side. The main drain to the 2nd floor is in the bottom left corner of the closet / bath. It then proceeds under the house toward the street. So it's in a good position -- I can drain down, no ejectors necessary. Most likely for this year we will finish everything but the bathroom (or just drywall it as a closet), leaving that for next year if we decide to do it.

For now, the focus is on the Family Room space... how to lay out the cabinets, lighting, framing the stairs, and so on. Like the over-the-cabinet lighting... I want to be able to illuminate behind the crowns for a movie theater effect... Not sure if I should hard wire outlets on a 120V dimmer up there or plan for low voltage. There are so many options with LED and they're all expensive.

sigspaces 05-10-2013 10:54 AM

Hi-Tech basement family room
Glad to see you are using Chief Architect. I have used it in my design/build business for at least 10 years. It is great especially for overhead views as you have shown.

As for the water intake closet make sure you have it ventilated. But, do enclose it. As for the corner bedroom at top left of your overhead it does not conform to code. You need an egress window for each room.

Which brings me to the next question. Have you talked with a building inspector yet? I hope you are planning to get a permit. While they may be a pain in the butt sometimes an inspector can save you a ton of money especially if you are planning to do something that doesn't comply. They are especially helpful to D-I-Fers.

As for reversing the stairs I would have to see the first floor before I made a comment. But, I always try to bring the stairs into the main living space. Landing into a wall is not very friendly or enticing. I would probably redo the floor plan to accommodate the stair redirection.

Finally, check with the inspector regarding a direct vent gas fireplace. I haven't been able to get such a design element passed in this area.

Good luck!

SquishyBall 05-10-2013 12:02 PM


Originally Posted by sigspaces (Post 1176416)
Finally, check with the inspector regarding a direct vent gas fireplace. I haven't been able to get such a design element passed in this area.

Wow - What area? That's really unfortunate that such an innovative, safer, cleaner technology would be disallowed across the board. Especially for anyone with asthma or other breathing issues, the separation of the combustion air from breathing air is such a huge benefit. Not to mention the sealed glass, inaccessible flame, and so on.

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