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Unearth Your Home’s Hidden Treasures

If you were like many families in the Bay Area when the current shelter in place (SIP) order came through, you probably had thoughts about what it is going to be like to hunker down in your home for the majority of your day. While there was time to consider transitioning to this new normal, one can never be fully prepared to experience the concentrated time in the same space. Especially for an unknown period of time.

Possibly like you, in our home we prepared by reasonably buying additional groceries, essentials and pet food and supplies. Our older daughter was already home for a college break and is now home until who knows when; and our high schooler is acclimating to shifting her social life more online. Both girls are adjusting to online classes as they continue with their education. As for Jim, he works mostly from home, so his transition was not as jolting. However, as we enter week two of the SIP, we are beginning to realize how important our physical space is, how it affects the rhythm and harmony of our day, and how the little extra spaces we carved out for ourselves provide us with an added sense of security.

While we lead an active social and family life, we still needed to adjust our existing spaces to work better for spending lengthy periods of time doing activities in close quarters. We rearranged furniture to create exercise or dance party areas in the living room and cleared off tabletop spaces for kids to study on (so they are not lying in their beds 24/7). However, in the face of this SIP we are realizing that one of the best investments we made in our home, and in past homes we’ve had, was to add additional space to our existing footprint.

Happy to Have the Extra Space Created by Basement Dig-Out, New Foundation and Drainage System

There are a number of things you could consider from a construction perspective, from small to large scale solutions and budgets. Upgrading your storage capacity, by constructing shelving or adding cabinetry, is an obvious choice. Remodeling smaller spaces like pantries, laundries and bathrooms can offer opportunities for creating caches for additional essentials. Crawlspaces, which are basically wasted space, can be utilized to build storage platforms as a place to stock tools and supplies, or to move items that are not often used from the main living areas to free up more room upstairs. Finally, the most important feature of our home is our basement dig-out and remodel. Below our living room we excavated the remaining crawlspace and installed new foundations and drainage, creating additional food and supply storage areas with heavy duty shelving, remodeled our laundry room, added an extra bedroom and bathroom, and are beginning to add exercise equipment.

This job would be considered a medium sized project and fulfills the needs for our family. However, we are currently completing a dig-out and basement project that fulfills multiple needs for our client. In the newly created crawlspace we have added a small rental unit consisting of two large rooms plus a bath and new kitchen, with a door that accesses them on the side of the basement. Adjacent to that we have a couple of large rooms that service the upstairs and will become a new family room on one side, with an art room and laundry room on the other side. There are stairs connecting this area to the main house. There is also another space at the back of the house that was an existing basement and garage which we remodeled.

By adding a bath and new windows there we created another unit for the client’s mother, who is elderly and looking to move in. The added income (and reduction in Mom’s rent) will help pay for the work over time, and the doubling of the legal square footage of the home will dramatically increase the value of the property. The layout is shown below (Mom’s unit is titled Library and Utility Room on the plan). There is also additional crawlspace remaining in the front where storage space will be built, and we added a new door to access that area.

Basement Additions and Remodels Often Require Drainage and Foundation Improvements

Jim Gardner Construction specializes in structural repairs and solutions including foundation repair, drainage solutions, retaining walls and the many improvements or additions that may incorporate these construction phases. If you are considering a basement addition we can provide a comprehensive assessment and estimate that includes everything involved in your project. We aim to avoid change orders and unexpected costs by planning it out the right way in the first place. Call us at (510) 655-3409 or submit a estimate request on our website today.

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