May 2, 2008
i don’t know if it works this way for everyone but when i have a new project, i fixate on it until i feel like i’ve worked through most of the kinks. we’ve been talking about doing a reno since we moved in (almost 3 years ago – ack!). Now that it has moved to the top of the priority list, i have been in the throes of reno obsession for the last few weeks, and have left a trail of battered home magazines in my wake.
After much measuring, we have produced this drawing of our basement (please excuse the coffee splotches). The sticky-out bit at the top is the living room on the main floor and the bottom right corner is an outside set of stairs to the basement door.
Clutching this and my numerous sketches and photos, i trundled off to the city planning department to meet with a lovely guy to discuss all sorts of nasty things like “by-laws” and “building codes” and “restrictions”.
The upshot is that we can raise our house (but not too far!) and add windows at the basement level (but not on the neighbour’s side), but we can’t extend the back of our house out any farther than the existing back wall (at the bottom of the photo to the left). We are allowed to fill in that knocked-out corner where a small and rickety porch currently resides, but we need to keep a door to the basement.
I am having stairwell issues. Namely, that we have two sets of stairs going to the basement about 10 feet apart from each other (one taking up half the kitchen and the other just outside the back door). I really want to get rid of the stairwell in the kitchen and reclaim that space for useful things like cabinets. But how to do this? Stairs take up a honking amount of space. If we fill in the corner (main and basement floors), we would gain a grand total of 100 square feet, which is half of what i was hoping for. Is this even worth it?
I am stumped. We are stumped. what to do…