Archive for September, 2010

If you have an unfinished (or a poorly finished) basement in your home and have wondered about what that space could be used for, here’s a quick list of things that might spur you on.

1. Home addition without the addition!

Recover all the space that is currently taken up by the dresser that you got at Goodwill when you were 20, the hundreds of cardboard boxes, and that old treadmill that you found for free on the Craig’s List!  You need space not stuff!  With the junk out of the way, you can reclaim all of that square footage that you paid for when you bought your house WITHOUT paying for an addition.

2.Address neglected systems in your house.

Psychedelic-spaghetti in your electrical panel?  Mysterious leaky pipes?  And what IS that smell anyway?  When you decide to finish your basement, it is also the right time to address many of the ancient or failing systems in your home.  A modern electrical panel adds capacity, safety, and tidiness to your newly improved house.  Updating plumbing supply and waste systems can give you cleaner water, trouble-free sewers, prevent basement floods, and save you money on your water bill.  Adding wall framing means insulating and drying in the space, and putting another layer of protection between your life and the soil just beyond those concrete walls.  And if you have delayed a seismic retrofit, the basement renovation will likely make the decision for you-not a bad thing if you live in an earthquake-prone area like Seattle.

3. Potential new bathroom or expanded laundry room!

Only have one bathroom?  Need a place to wash the dogs or outdoor gear?  A basement bath can be much more than a powder room.  In the basement a bathroom can become an extension of the laundry room with a big open shower, utility sink, folding table and storage.  take the pressure off of your cracked 95 year-old laundry sink and the top of your dryer and make a space that works FOR you and not against you.

4. Add a bedroom!

New teenager?  Mother-in-law in town? Put them in THEIR place: their very own basement bedroom.  An extra bedroom makes having guests or a larger family even easier.  No more tip-toeing through the living room while your guests sleep, with a bedroom your basement, your life just got simpler and your house just got more valuable.

5. Recreation room or home theater!

Is that 42″ flat-panel in the living room looking small these days?  Can you now afford something with a bit more oomph?  Basements are ideal places for home theaters or rec rooms.  They can be made to be highly sound insulated, very dark, and can have as many built-in gizmos and toys as your wallet can handle.  Some people even build in theater-style seating levels so that every one has always has the best seat in the house (your house!)

6. Create a home business or shop!

Basements are great creative spaces that can also make you money.  If you have always wanted to set up a home business or can’t afford the monthly payments of a stand-alone office, converting your basement into your own corporate HQ can really streamline  your balance sheet.  If you build things for pleasure or business, a basement shop is a fantastic spot to create your own products and your own cash flow.

7. Who needs a gym membership?!

Sick of the gym guilt?  Need to save some dough?  Convert part of your new basement space into your very own training room or yoga studio and put your mind and body at ease.  In your basement home-gym you can work out before dawn or after bedtime and not disturb the kids.  You can work out rocking out to Eye of the Tiger while not having to leave home.  With a dedicated space for your exercise, you may find the motivation to go the distance with your fitness goals.

8. Music space!

Do you have a budding musician in the family? (Translation: Are you tired of hearing your kid bang on that new drum set?)  Have you always wanted a studio-quality rehearsal space in which you can fine-tune your creativity?  The basement’s potential for isolating sound means that it’s a great opportunity to design and build your very own dedicated music studio.  Whether you are rehearsing, recording, or rocking out, having a well insulated and sound-proofed room can be a blessing for aspiring and professional musicians alike.  Not to mention your 8 year-old drummer…

9. Create your own home bar or man-cave!

A great night out can be had right at home if you have the space to make it happen.  Entertain your buddies at home, and save the cab fare.  Stock your lair with a keggerator, dartboard, pool or ping-pong table  and make your house the new local night-spot!

10. Creative play-space for children!

Last, but not least, basements are fantastic places for kids to be kids.  Let their spirits run wild with creative spaces and places that can be designed around their small size and enormous imaginations!  They can have places to color, to dress-up, snuggle, and hide.  Your kids’ play area can have interesting spots designed in so that they can make their activities happen on their own scale: forts, ropes, tiny doors, playhouses, cozy caves, swings, even a pirate ship.  Whatever they can dream up, can be made to order in your new basement playroom.  And you won’t have to do that scramble to pick up the toys in your living room whem mom says she’s “in the neighborhood.”

This year seems to be the Year of the Basement and Gaspar’s Construction is working on many great basement remodelsContact us and we’ll help you carve out just the right space for what you need.


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One morning, just after installing the gas line, our project Superintendent arrived finding our helpful homeowner hooking up his newly delivered barbeque.  He politely reminded him that the deck surface was going to be applied at 9:00.  Then he and our strapping subcontractors helped him carry his new man-toy off to the shed while recommending that he might coordinate the rest of the deliveries with the completion of the project.

Ipe steps, landing and cap on Cable handrails


To read the entire story and other featured projects, check out the Project Spotlight page.

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A quaint staple of the American landscape has made its way into our homes; the sliding barn door.  In it’s classic form it is a simple way of enclosing a large opening with minimal hardware and maximum efficiency.  Its contemporary residential cousins have modified the format, kept all of the charm, and in some cases elevated it to an art form.

In homes today, a sliding “barn” door adds character with its elegantly simple hardware and saves space by eliminating the area needed to accommodate a swinging door.  In its interior application they are a beautiful way to close down a room, partition space, or just hide a mess.  The exterior application of these doors can be a great alternative to French doors to get big, wide openings to the outdoors or a nostalgic replacement for the standard roll-up garage door.

At their most elevated, they can almost disappear.  With streamlined stainless hardware applied to panels of glass, the stately barn door is left behind and replaced by crisp, modern sophistication.

There are many styles of barn door hardware, but they casually break into 3 main categories: flat track, round track, & box track.  These three styles can be used with door panels of many different materials, from classic door style to metal fire doors to shoji screens and sheets of glass.

While these doors are beautiful and fantastic, there are things to consider before you recycle all of your hinges. For interior doors one thing to note is that these doors simply make more noise than swing doors, so if you want to secretly shut the door on your sleeping infant, just remember that there will be some rumbling as the door rolls along its track.  For exterior doors one must remember that these doors were originally for closing down unheated, or informally heated barns and storehouses.  When applied to a contemporary residence, these doors must be significantly customized in order achieve modern levels of weather proofing and energy retention which adds a good deal of cost.

If you like what you see and you accept the quirks, consider adding a barn door to your next home improvement project!   The Gaspar’s Construction and Handyman teams are trained and ready to help with doors of all kinds, from barn doors to doggy doors.

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