Transform your Attic, Basement, Garage, or unused Spare Room

Cindy and Eric talk about helpful ideas to eke out extra square footage without having to drastically change the footprint of your home.

Cindy has been working on turning her garage over because it feels like they just don’t have enough space. All you need is to put up some insulation sheets, a bit of paint and some new lights and you have a new place to hang out in.

The first step: Insulation

Installing insulation sheets is pretty easy. The long strips of fiber are put along the wall by poking it with a long pole and “tucking it in” to the wall. Then to secure it further, use a staple gun to hold it to the wall.

Make sure not to touch or breath in the material because it will make you very itchy! You will want to handle it with gloves, and have a dust mask and a pair of goggles. Make sure you wear long sleeves and even a hat.

What space can you transform?

Are you thinking: can we increase our space by coming up with creative ways to eke out that extra square footage in places we already have… maybe they’re unused?

Do you have a home that is packed with stuff that is starting to overflow? Is storage is a necessity, or maybe you have a couple of kids show up or have somebody coming to live with you for a while. How do you find the space to make creative use of what you already have so that you don’t have to necessarily move?

Maybe there’s a room, that let’s say is a corner, maybe it’s a spare room, maybe it’s a dining room and you aren’t even eating in the dining room, because a lot of us may eat in the kitchen or in front of the TV or wherever, how you turn those unused spaces into a room that you need and that you actually love?

A lot of people go to “the add” and say we could really transform this room, maybe it’s a place where we could create a playroom or a study room for the kids, maybe you have a spare bedroom.

A couple of things to think about when you’re looking up in an attic or down in a spare basement, there is always going to be considerations of insulation. That’s the critical key component to make rooms feel cozy and be a place where you actually want to hang out- it will make a perceptible difference between a comfortable cosy room that you want to be in, versus a damp dark basement that doesn’t have the insulation capability to keep the moisture at bay, which is what makes you cold and comfortable. So before you get into any of these projects, think about whether you’re going to have to amend this roof line, if it’s an attic with insulation and dry wall (which is easy enough). In a basement you may have more issues of water proofing so you’re going to have to have a floor that comes up off up above that cement slab, because you are going to want to keep a dry aspect to that room- because if your standing on a cold wet ground, even if it’s painted it’s not going to feel comfortable. So, insulation and dehumidifiers in the basement are really critical. If you’ve got a below grade basement, for our friends on the east coast or the mid west- you want to make sure your pumps are really working effectively, because a lot of those times those things will flood. If you’ve spent all this money on new carpet and all this great stuff and then a flood shows up, it will be a waste of money.

Design Elements

The Attic:

Most of the time you’re going to have an angled ceiling. If you have an attic where you have a nice open wall space without vents, tubes and wiring then it cab be very easy to transform the room into a livable area. Most of time you’re going to have an angled ceiling, so it’s going to be a lot easier and more cost effective to use the existing slope of the roof as the shape of the room. Go from the highest point you can and then turn it into right angles and a flat ceiling. You want to follow the shape of the roof rather than squaring of the ceiling, as that will make the room just feel smaller. Follow the A frame. All you have to do is sheeth with plywood for your floor and put some insulation in between the new plywood and the existing framing of the roof. Same thing goes for the ceiling- do your floor first, so you have a nice purchased flooring so then you can use the dry wall and stand up on that ceiling. You going to have to pre-wire and light (canned lights are good) the roof. Bring the drywall up to the roofline and make it exactly the same shape as your roof is.

The Basement

Think about the floor and the ceiling height. If you don’t have much height, you may not want to put drywall on the ceiling you may want to keep those open bays because it will seem like it’s a little but taller. Some things to consider before you start. Where is the piping and vents. If you want to make it a finished room you’re going to have to get a sub floor off the slab and drywall the surrounding areas. If you have any pre existing moisture issues then you really want to addresss this first and do it right, or you will run into problems down the line. Make sure that you have a waterproof barrier so that you are not feeling that constant moisture.

Good Luck!

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Listen to the Home Wizards Show – October 5, 2013

Cindy Dole & Eric Stromer – Home Wizards Hour 1 – Easy Halloween centerpieces and decor – Unusual and no-carve-necessary Halloween pumpkins

Cindy Dole & Eric Stromer – Home Wizards Hour 2 – Making the most of unused space – Keeping a healthy home during cold season – Kitchen remodeling mistakes – Plan for tulips in the Spring now!

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