Thursday, July 05, 2018

Rec Room Remodel

Despite the transformation, it still feels a little weird spending time in the Rec Room based on what it was before. Our house is a split level and this room is part of the lower level which is partly below grade. The plus side is that we don't pay property taxes on square footage below grade, the negative is that we don't get much nature light down there. There was a dungeon feel for sure. This fact coupled with six inches less of ceiling height compared to the rest of the house made for some design challenges.

This room was demoed on day one. My friend Nick was visiting the DC area from the middle east and requested to come over and break something. We sent him downstairs with only one instruction... destroy.  I think he enjoyed himself.

As you can see, everything was taken out. The carpet was removed, the wood paneling was removed, the shelves were removed and even the ceiling was ripped down. It was all necessary, I'll explain why. The carpet was showing many years of pet and water staining. This was a no-brainer. I was hoping that the wood paneling was hiding a stud wall but I wouldn't be so lucky. Under closer inspection, the wood paneling was nailed into furring strips and the electric receptacles were recessed into the cinder block. I probably could have gotten away with putting drywall on the existing strips but adding sconces would have been a real pain. And framing up a wall would give me extra insulating power for an already chilly basement.

Replacing the windows wasn't in the original budget but I figured I'd look into it while the wall was open. Apparently Home Depot has been doing their homework because they actively stock windows with the required rough openings for houses in my neighborhood. Every window is basically a custom job so they make a huge order and shelve up windows that they know people in the immediate area will need. Brilliant. Installing replacement windows was far easier than I thought it would be. And cheaper too!

I love it so much, I really should do a whole post on Ceilume.  The existing ceiling had to come down for a number of reasons but the main reason by far was that it gave me an excuse to put these beautiful tiles up. The main advantage is accessibility. Now I have access to plumbing, electric, HVAC, entertainment wiring, and network wiring. All of which I have worked with. I even put in sound deadening insulation so I can watch Game of Thrones without waking the kids. That stuff is great.

I waffled on what to do with the fireplace brick for a very long time. Months I think. There are those that think painting brick is a sin. I didn't go quite that far but paint did factor into the solution. I applied a white wash faux finish and down-lit it with MR12 recessed lights. I applied the finish by brushing on a 50/50 mix of white paint and water. After applying approximately 4 square feet of paint, I took a rag and gently rubbed off the excess. It was a painstaking process but worth it.

We chose 5" carbonized bamboo interlocking planks to lay down the floor. Since it's going over concrete, the boards are floating. If you value your back, don't put down hardwood flooring by yourself.

Now we're getting to the good part. No house is complete without a HD projector and 100" retractable screen ;) And ya gotta have the in-wall speakers. The look is so clean. I've actually wanted to have a home theater set up like this for a long time. It's not in the perfect space by far but it still delivers on the theater experience in a big way. I am pleased with the way it turned out.

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