Starting A Major Project - Introduction

Mick MickMarch 28, 2007

Hello! My name is Micki. I am in the beginning phases of my first major home remodeling project. I have what is called a "recreation area." It isn't a basement. I have a split foyer home, so the room is above ground. One side is the partially finished (about 10%) recreation area. The other side is the garage.

So, I am starting the task of getting quotes for drywall and framing. I am going to serve as the general contractor. I am a project manager by trade, so I *think* that this will be fun!

I have figured out the purposes of this area. First, I need a storage and laundry room. Second, I need some place to entertain, watch television, and workout. Finally, I have a treadmill that will have to stay there.

The only issue that I have is the tiny budget. The space is like 200 square feet. I want to get everything - drywall, framing, electrical, flooring, and ceiling for about $3000. I am perfectly able to do some of the stuff (painting, installing crown molding), but a lot of it I am going to have to contract out.

I have a book on "basements", a budget with 10% contingency, my preliminary drawings of what I want, and a project plan. I look forward to sharing my experience and learning from you all! :)

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Hi Micki.
I commend you for GC'ng your own "recreation area" project. I hired a contractor for mine, but love the results none the less.

Also, theres another book "Taunton's Build like a Pro: Expert Advice from Start to Finish". I felt it was a good read even though someone else did the work. Lots of helpful advice and illustrations. Maybe the local library may have a copy?

Anyway. Good luck with your project and be sure to keep us posted on your progress.

Here is a link that might be useful: Build like a Pro: Expert Advice from Start to Finish

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 12:03PM
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Mick Mick

Thanks Jasper for the recommendation. I am going to stop by Borders tonight to see if I can find it!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 1:42PM
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The budget would be workable if you did most of the work yourself. Materials alone will eat up most of it. Do you have some sort of drawing that covers this project? A material list?. Doors, windows, lighting, insulation, studs, sheetrock, molding, flooring, etc..
Draw a plan and spec out the materials. Then see how much you have for labor.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 12:08AM
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Mick Mick

I do have a drawing. But I haven't spec'ed out the materials. But I can definitely do that.

Thanks for the recommendation.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 9:42AM
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As you already know, 200 sq. ft. is not a large area. With a Garden Style space, undoubtedly one wall is mostly windows. You will want to get full advantage of the room for your needs. Plan carefully, even the thickness of a wall takes a lot of room. Consider placing masking tape on the floor to "walk around" your features as you plan them to get a "feel" of the finished area.

My first suggestion is to make a drawing, to scale, of the space. To get what you want, this is a necessary first step whether you DIY the project, or hire it completed. You mention wanting a laundry. Is it already there, or will it be necessary to bring in fresh water and sewer lines? Where is easiest access if they must be installed? Do you want a laundry tub? Will the appliances stack or be side-by-side? You will need to allow sufficient space to hold and access them. By-pass, bi-fold or pocket doors might be the best solution to minimize interference between the spaces.

Storeroom - What will you have to store? Will it fit onto shelves or too bulky. How about window seats to store some things? That lets you get double duty from valuable cubic space.

Your electronics and furniture. Best consider their placement now so that sufficient electrical power and cable wires can be routed.

Lighting - will you want cannisters or are you using table/floor lamps? Want the outlets operated by switches on a wall or will you walk through a dark room to find a lamp to turn on?

Don't rush the planning. You will never regret effort you put into thinking now. I've posted a copy of the plan for our basement that can be viewed from the link at "My Page". Hope this is helpful. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 2:08PM
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Mick Mick


Holy smokes! My plan does NOT look like yours. Are you using a software product to create that? Thank you for providing an example of your drawing. I think that would be a lot easier to communicate with the contractors. Plus it would help me look like I at least know what the heck I am talking about.

The laundry area exists in the "furnace/water heater room". I wanted to enclose all of the walls in drywall, paint, possibly add a couple of cabinets and add a louvered door.

The closet would go in the laundry room. I wanted it to hold miscellaneous items like the stuff that I get from my monthly runs to Costco. Toilet paper, anyone?

I wanted to do a mixture of canister and floor lighting. I will admit that lighting is not my strong suit and I will have to spend additional time on that.

It is becoming apparently clear to me that I am not ready to move on this. I will take a little more time to finish the planning.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 2:25PM
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Good, I wanted to cause you to plan. The tighter a budget, the more necessary the plan becomes. I designed and finished our basement in entirety - spent 5 winters on it. At my pace, on my budget.

But, because I am handy, I have been called upon by many friends to "fix" their nightmares. They start, get carried away and end up patching things (like electricity) dangerously. I have found it unbelievable what some have done, then asked me to help correct. So much cheaper and faster to do it right in the beginning.

For your furnace room, use 5/8" firecode drywall. And yes, you will need a louvered door for the furnace/water heater to operate properly. Since your water heater is on the same level as the to-be-finished space, consider having a pan installed below it. This way when it springs a leak, and it will someday, the water can be directed to a drain rather than absorbed by your carpeting and drywall. Use pressure treated 2 x 4's for the wall sill plate.

Your plan need not look like ours. Graph paper is just fine. Yes, I used a graphic design program so I could make changes without an eraser. Someone told me years ago that if you can draw something, you can build it too. Framing a basement is easy - only basic tools necessary. Insulation and dry wall are too. Consider doing them yourself to control the budget. Hire the electrical if you are uncomfortable. Hope this is helpful.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 5:26PM
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Neat-I have the same book, think I got it from Home Depot.
Many good tips in it.
Highly recommended.

FYI, I'm on Season 2, doing finishing plaster and the dreadful drywall sanding this coming week.
Casework is on order.

I agreed, when on a tight budget, it's essential to layout your room completely in regard to HVAC, electrical, plumbing & to visualize the furniture placement afterward.
Go out & measure the actual furniture piece(s) if you have to.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 3:32PM
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