Basement Progress: What a stud!

Back in May my dad came for a weekend to help Ross get started with framing the walls for drywall. After the deconstruction, we were left with mostly concrete walls as well as these lovely makeshift frames that served to enclose the unsightly utility room:

I guess when you’re nailing up barn siding for what can only be described as a true “man cave” (complete with a home made bar that took up the majority of the room and outlets in each corner for tv’s), the quality of the construction behind it all isn’t that important. Obviously, these studs were not the standard 16″ apart and weren’t going to work for us and what we have planned for these walls.

We’ve heard that some people like to start with the most challenging walls first so that it only gets easier. The two walls above would have been those. Instead, since this was Ross’s first time building frames, they decided to tackle the less challenging walls first. Plus, it meant getting more done in the time they had, which meant it looked further along than it really was for a while.

The walls above were a good place to begin thinking through the entire project, though. One of the reasons these walls posed a challenge is because of the metal I-beam that runs along the top. Instead of securing the frames to ceiling joists, we were going to have to secure them to the beam. But how? My dad wasn’t really sure the best way to do this either. So, they headed to Home Depot and asked for some advice. The guy they talked to introduced them to metal tracks (as seen in the photos below). He suggested using these instead of constructing all-wood frames. The process of cutting the wood to size and securing them to sections of the tracks would work well for the rest of the room, too. Of course, they’re secured to the concrete floor and ceiling joists with screws, too.

Because of time and the fact that there were still some pipes to cut off and vents to clean up, they stopped here:

We knew my dad would return at some point, so Ross started in on some “smaller” tasks. Like reordering these vents so we could reroute the very ugly one pictured above that goes to our kitchen:

And reconstructing this cold air return to eliminate gaps and allow for more ceiling height:

And taking down that ugly wood frame that supported this vent. Instead we used mesh fabric strips to hoist the vent up:

Here’s that shot from above that shows the same vent with the wooden frame around it:

Much better, right?

We also had someone come to “flip” this section of our gas line so that it fit into the ceiling joists instead of hanging down and blocking the way for our walls. You can see that Ross and my dad still had to cut away at the metal frame a bit because the pipe wasn’t completely out of the way:

When we put up the dry wall, we’ll need to cut around this section again. But, we’ll hide it with some crown molding.

My mom and dad returned for a visit this past weekend and my dad and Ross went to work downstairs again. Here’s the future workout area stripped of extra pipes and ugly duct work:

Here’s the other side of the same area. There will be a closet door with access to storage under the stairs. We’re still figuring out what we’d like to do on the side of the stairs. We like the open look, but we know we can’t keep it completely open for safety reasons. There is a very curious toddler in our midst these days.

The frame just beyond the stairs will serve as a wall to block off the utility room once again. So, one side of the stairs will have a wall, but the other will be open. Although we do not plan to redo the utility room, we do have some ideas of how to use this new wall for some laundry and pantry organization.

At the other end of the house, they worked on framing out the two door ways that will serve as another, wider access point to the utility room and a closet (yay, storage!). The back edge of the tv insert box (see below) will serve as the interior frame for the closet wall. We’re using every inch of space we can!

And just around the corner is the beginnings of our tv/fireplace wall. Now you can see why this wall needs to be structurally sound!

There’s still much to be done before we can say we are done with the frames and ready for the next step: electrical. However, we feel great about the progress that has been made thus far. A HUGE thank you goes to my dad for working so hard for us. We love you and are so glad you know how to do this stuff!

What they’ve accomplished is a far cry from what we started with:

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  1. Wow — very impressive! I know your new space will look great once it’s completed…it’s already looking great. Hardhats off to the carpenters!

  2. I really am enjoying all.

    Everything is so neat and organized. I especially like the windows. What a clever idea. I am looking forward to the next report. Love Nana
    Miss not seeing Analiese this time.

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