Basement Progress & Mood board


The long awaited basement living room is officially under construction!!! I seriously can’t believe it! We moved into this house 3 years ago and the entire basement was unfinished. Knowing we would need bedrooms for our kids ASAP (our house is unique and only has 2 bedrooms on the main floor), we quickly got to work framing and finishing their bedrooms ourselves, but held off on the living room/rec room space. Now here we are, after living here for 3 years and we are to the design and sheetrock stage!! Because this space is a decent size (approx 1000 sq ft.) I feel like I’m FINALLY getting my opportunity to “build/design my own home.”

We’ve always just purchased existing homes, the last two being homes that are 1 year old (basically a spec home) and have had to change ALLL the finishes from flooring, to paint, to cabinet hardware (remember when I repainted all my kitchen cabinets to same color just to change out the hardware, I’m a little nutty I know, but I LOVE the change). So here is the long awaited plan for the basement including the sources to the things I think we will be using!

DIY Roman Clay Media Wall

DIY Roman Clay feature wall to come on this media wall with Portola paints in the Guru color! Inspiration is from Bre Purposed: Bathroom
Roman clay was love at first sight for me, and the media wall with its inset TV’s was the perfect place to showcase this timeless wall application. Roman clay is basically a plaster that is applied with a putty knife in a variety of directions and when it dries it gives a cloudy dimensional texture that is smooth to the touch. Portola Paint is where I purchased mine from, they offer over 30 color options. For my 20×9 foot wall I used 2.5 gallons and was able to apply 3 coats to the wall. The cost was $175 for the 2.5 gallons, counting shipping. Between each coat I sanded down with 320 grit, except after the final coat. They do offer a sealer or a wax, but it isn’t required. This application is made for interiors, and wall surfaces, not floors. So far, I’m in LOVE with how it’s turning out.

Roman Clay Information
Roman Clay Guru Color
Putty knife
Mud Pan

Photo Credit: @BrePurposed Bathroom

Media Wall

Have you seen Dream Home Makeover, the Studio McGee Netflix show (episode 2, season 1)? One night I made my husband tune in to watch it with me, and as soon as he saw the basement finish with 3 TV’s on a wall, he was DETERMINED to find a way for us to have the same thing in our basement. Is it completely unnecessary to have 3 TV’s…? Asking a women, yes. yes it is. Asking a man, nope! You can’t ever have enough TV’s to watch sports on. With my husband being a high school basketball coach, sports fanatic, and treats March Madness like its a religious holiday, this was one non-negotiable for the space.

The wall will include niches or indentations for the TV which will make the tv flush with the wall. The niches were made by framing out the wall with 2×6 material, and the niche portion was framed with 2×4″ giving the niche approximately a 3″ depth, with approximately 1″ spacing all the way around the TV. We selected specific mounts that pull straight from the wall which will hopefully make the TV install a lot easier. Speaker placement in the room was designed by Tym . Tym offers online theatre and home automation instructions and mock ups for your space. They basically take your blueprints of your space, and tell you EXACTLY where and how many speakers you should have for the best surround sound experience. It even comes with a PDF explaining the prewire process, what type of wire you need, and images showcasing how to do it yourself! If you live in Utah, they offer installation and full home theatre packages.

Basement Flooring

Flooring is one of the BIGGEST design decisions you can make! It’s semi-permanent and will be there for the next 7-15 years so choose wisely! I had an idea of the carpet I thought we were going to go with… and then I brought my husband to the RC Willey STAINMASTER® showroom and he went rogue on me!
So here’s the top choices we are debating between:
1. Scout – Patterned Carpet for our stairs
2. Bungalow – low pile/loop possibility for the family room and bedrooms
3. Urban Escape – soft, patterned loop possibility for family room and bedrooms
3. Deja Vu – probably the softest, low pile with a substantial pattern

For the basement kitchen and dining nook space we are deciding between two laminate options:
1. Smooth and matte with light stripes
2. Rustic texture with whitewash grain

Brick Arch & Beam

We had a steel beam with a load bearing wood post that separated the main living space, so we decided to enclose the post into a wall with an arch opening, and wrap the beam and wall with brick. Currently we have this gorgeous brick throughout our home, and found the almost identical match to it at Old Mill Brick, called Cafe Mocha. It comes in a webb sheet similar to mosaic tile which means instead of installing it brick by brick I can install 12 bricks at a time making the process go by much quicker. Excited to get this brick up!

Brick: Cafe Mocha

Basement Budget Breakdown

Probably the most common question I get when it comes to the basement is how we budgeted for things and what we hired out vs. opted to DIY.
Back in 2014 we finished our 900 sq ft. basement ourselves, only hiring out for HVAC & Sheetrock and here was our budget:

2014 – 900 sq ft.
Framing $700 materials, DIY’d 1 basement living room + 1 bedroom + 1 bathroom
Insulation: $160 materials
Electrical: $300 materials
HVAC: $400
Sheetrock + Mudding: $3000 materials and labor
Paint: $1100 that is with a 40% off discount
Plumbing: $1200 materials (tile, bathroom, plumbing, faucets & fixtures, pedestal sink).
Carpet: $3000 for 88 sq. yards
Doors & Trim: $1075 (baseboards + 3 regular doors, 4 slab doors, 1 storm door)
= Total Cost: $10,935

Now the budget breakdown for our living room space that is approximately the same size. Building supplies have gone up in cost significantly, plus we hired out a lot more than we did in 2014.
2021 – 1000 sq ft.
Framing: $6200 materials + labor
Insulation: $1135 materials + labor
Electrical: $3300 materials + labor (this includes electrical for a kitchen & home audio)
Sheetrock + Mudding: $8200 materials + labor
HVAC: $1200 labor and materials
Plumbing: $1650 (knock out concrete and install rough plumbing for kitchen).
Flooring: TBD
Paint: TBD
= Total Cost: $21,000 labor + materials.

I hope that gives you a general idea of how much it costs to complete a home renovation/finish a basement. We are still accruing costs, but we are also not selecting the least expensive products as we did in our previous home. From the breakdown you can also see the drastic increase of costs when you go from DIYing almost everything, to hiring out a good chunk of the project. Labor is the MOST expensive component, so if you don’t have a set deadline time wise and you are willing to put in the work, you can save yourself thousands.

Basement Kitchen and Banquette Budget and Plans will be included in part 2 (which is coming soon.)

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Suzanne Pangrac
Suzanne Pangrac
3 years ago

How hard was it to be your own “contractor” actually have subs show up on your first basement? We are considering doing that in out kitchen but we are afraid we won’t be able to get subs (hvac, plumbing, electrician) to actually show up and do the work.

Stacey Koo
Stacey Koo
3 years ago

For the electrical, was the $3300 for just the supplies? Did you do the electrical yourself? If not, what was the labor cost for that? Thank you!

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Meet Christine Gummersall, a mother of 4, coach's wife, former Labor and Delivery nurse, and self taught DIYer who decided to take a sledge hammer to her 1950's bathroom over a decade ago and hasn't stopped tackling her honey-do list since.  Folow along as christine breaks down the pretty afters, by showing the whole how to process and empowers you to STOP waiting, and START creating a home you love, with your own two hands! 

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