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So close!

We're finally on the home stretch to drywall!  It's been two months since the last update and in that time I...

  • Rewired the old receptacles (and added a few) on the main level
  • Wired all the lights in the basement
  • Ran all the low voltage wires (phone, internet, speaker wire, HDMI, and cable) in the basement and to the main level - most of the cables were just drilled through holes in the hardwood so I re-ran them in the walls and added wall jacks
  • Installed new thermostats in the basement and main level and ran new wire so they can be hooked up the the zone valves on the boiler
  • Finished the plumbing for heat in the basement
  • Hooked up vents for the dryer and bathroom fan

It's been a busy couple months!  I've been extra motivated by the prospect of finishing all the rough-in work and moving on to insulation and drywall - both of which will be hired out.  While I've done a lot of work, most of it has been hidden in walls so there's not a ton of visual difference.  It's actually kind of frustrating to work for several hours and have everything look the same when I'm done.  I miss the days of framing walls when things looked vastly different when I was finished.  Oh well.

There has been one major difference  - LIGHT!  The electrical inspector told me to temporarily hook up the lights so he can see (when he comes... soon) so now it's a whole lot brighter down there!  Previously, there were 7 light fixtures, now there are 38!

Here's what everything looks like as of yesterday.


Along with my returns I left on the stairs, you can see the lights we picked out (plus one more on the first landing (to the left), not pictured).  I wired them to a dimmer in the TV room so if we're watching a movie with the lights dimmed, there's just enough light to see the stairs if someone wants to run up to the kitchen.  We can always turn the overhead stair lights on but they're pretty bright and the light would spill over to the couches.  It's a personal pet peeve of mine and since I'm building the basement myself I get to do what I want :)

From the base of the stairs

Here you can see all the new lights.  The storage room straight ahead is dark because we're putting in a fluorescent fixture but we won't hook that up till after the electrical inspection.

Laundry room

New lights and a new dryer vent that you can't see.  The old one is still hanging from the window :(


The biggest change here is that we got a vanity!  We had big plans to buy an antique dresser and mount a raised bowl sink on top.  Ultimately what our skinny bathroom entrance needed was a skinny sink.  Every dresser we found was at least twice as deep as this sink and it would have made the room feel tiny.  The vanity comes with legs but we haven't put them on yet so it's sitting a little low.  The plan is to paint the base and put on crystal knobs.  Here's our vision for what it could look like.


This week I'm taking a day off work to install the shower and run plumbing to the shower, sink, and toilet.  The sink and toilet won't be fully connected until after drywall but the shower should work, if someone's crazy enough.

Storage Room

I framed out the recessed TV hole a little more but I still need to build the plywood box and run some studs behind it to mount the TV on.  Also, right along the floor I built a box for the kick space heater.  Previously it was mounted to a 2x4 on the ground and the water pipes ran along the floor.  It looked super ghetto and it probably wouldn't have passed inspection so I built around it.  Now the water pipes are safe and I'm not worried about anyone losing a finger in the previously open fan blades!

You can also see to the right of the TV hole some of the low voltage wires I ran.  Here's a better view.

Most of the home theater equipment will go in the storage room behind the TV but we wanted the wii and bluray player (or something similar in the future) to be on a shelf in the living room.  That way we won't have to go into the storage room to put in a movie.  I ran some the necessary wires (plus extra HDMI and CAT5 for the future) through the ceiling and over to where the shelf will be located.  It should be slick and will feel a lot more professional than my old days of running wires along the floor to connect everything.

I also ran speaker wires to the subwoofer and the surround speakers.  I wasn't really finding a good place to mount my surround speakers in our room layout so I decided to sell my speakers and buy some in-ceiling speakers from RBH sound.  That's the same company the rest of my speakers are from so the sound should match right up!


Not much different here!  New lights and you can see the baseboard radiator pretty well.  Also, in the first picture you can see the other kickspace heater to the right of the door.  I mounted this one a little nicer as well but didn't box in the top since it will eventually be built into the bottom of a cabinet.  This room is all done and just waiting for insulation and drywall!

Living room

The lights in this room were a huge transformation.  The 10x30' room had two, TWO, lights before.  I added 16 and it's a WHOLE lot brighter!  I ran the lights on two switches, one of the 6" lights on the inside of the room and one for the 5" lights around the perimeter.  The perimeter lights are the ones hooked up to the stair lights (visible in the first picture), and both switches are dimmable from the TV remote.  I think so far this is my favorite thing in the basement.  I might have gone down at night to play with the dimmers... more than once :)

With any luck we'll be ready for insulation and drywall in a month!  My fingers are crossed that I don't massively fail the electrical inspection.  I'm half expecting to have to change something for the inspector, I just hope I don't have to rewire the entire basement or something ridiculous!  Wish us luck!

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  1. I understand the frustration of not seeing big results after so much work but I love watching your progress. Keep up the great work, I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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