Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

2011 Resolutions | #4 – Renovate My Basement

Remodel in Progress

Image by housechick via Flickr

I have been meaning to talk about the power of goal setting and some methods for setting and achieving goals on this blog.  As a way of addressing this topic, I am going to talk about my four resolutions for 2011 this week.

The resolutions I have explored over the last few days have all been bout personal development – both physical and intellectual.  For my last resolution in 2011, I have elected to embark upon a journey that will benefit my family both financially and in terms of bettering our quality of life.  As most readers know, I have twin girls who will be two years old this summer.  My wife and I bought a comfortable three-bedroom, one and a half bath house four years ago.  When we bought it, we had just one dog and no children.  In the past four years, we have added one dog and the twins.  Our once spacious house has since grown a little less empty.  I will rectify that situation in 2011.

My final resolution for 2011 is probably the hardest one for me to accomplish – I will commit to make our house more livable for my family.

Zeroing In On The Goal

How does one make a home more livable for his family?  The first thought is to increase livable area and increase storage.  I cannot afford to put an extension on the house.  I can, however reclaim unused space in the house.  That makes defining my final 2011 resolution very simple:

I will renovate my basement in 2011 in an effort to give my wife and children a large family room.

Baby Steps

This goal, by far, will be the most difficult one for me to accomplish in 2011.  It will involve time and money to complete, not to mention some major planning and a lot of elbow grease.  This task looks very daunting on the surface.  I will need to gut the entire basement, re-run many utilities in order to provide the services I want to in certain locations, purchase numerous supplies and find time in my busy schedule to perform most of the work.  All that being said, the project can be broken down into a few distinct phases:

  1. Pre-Demolition Phase.  This phase will be performed both my wife and it.  Currently our basement is essentially a storage area.  We keep many of our girls’ old toys, bed, car seats and assorted baby items down there.  It also serves as an impromptu pantry and storage area for seasonal decorations (Christmas, Halloween, etc).  We will need to clean out the basement during this phase.  In order to remove many of the items, we will put them up either on eBay or Craigslist if they are sellable.  Otherwise, we will donate what we can to charity and throw away the rest.  The end state of the phase will be a cleaned out basement that will allow work to begin.
  2. Demolition Phase.  Once the basement is cleaned out, I can start demo’ing it.  The previous owners had, at one point, finished off the basement.  An old, stained carpet needs to be ripped up and bad fake wood paneling that needs to be torn down.  I will also rip out the existing bar and tear down all the non-weight bearing walls that are present.  We want to create a ‘clean slate’ at the end of this phase.
  3. Rough Construction Phase.  This phase is where the majority of the hard work comes into play.  We will re-route all the utilities that are required to install a full bath. The electric system in the house will be updated and we will start framing out the basement.  I will also run all the electric, plumbing, speaker wires, and cabling that is required for our layout.  In addition, the high-hat lights will be installed.  After all this work is complete, the drywall will be hung.  This phase will involve both contracted work and work I do myself.  Time and cost will be the determining factor as to whether or not I will do the work myself.  Certain jobs like mudding the drywall will be done by a professional because I want certain areas to look perfect and a professional will do a much better job at this than I will.
  4. Final Construction Phase.  Finally, we will clean up all the loose ends and make the room inhabitable.  We will paint all the walls, put outlet covers on the outlets, install a new rug and decorate the room.  I will most likely do all this work myself including installing all the wood molding.  At this point, the room will be ready and my children’s’ toys can be moved from our den into the family room.

Constant Monitoring and Feedback

Unlike the last three resolution I blogged about, this resolution will be the most difficult to track and monitor.  Obviously, I will be able to track where I am in terms of which phase we are in as described above.  However, scheduling each phase will be difficult.  Initially, I thought that I could accomplish each phase in a three-month timeframe.  This approach would allow the project to be complete at the end of 2011.  However, as you might guess, the Rough Construction Phase will take much longer than the Pre-Demolition Phase.  Therefore, we are going to have to wing this one a little bit.  The best approach I believe for this resolution is to see where we are at and the end of every two-month increment.  If we find that we are falling behind schedule, we will figure out a way to adjust things to get back on track.  As much as I do not want to set myself up for failure, I will not be terribly upset if we do not finish this resolution by the end of the year.  The real goal is to make a major dent in this project by the end of 2011 with the ultimate goal of finishing the room as soon as possible.

That concludes my series on goal setting and achievement.  I hope you enjoyed the series and that it possibly even helped you set your own goals and means of achieving them.  At the end of 2011, I will review these goals and see how well I did in accomplishing them.


2 responses to “2011 Resolutions | #4 – Renovate My Basement

  1. Sam Jacobs 7-January-2011 at 9:25 am

    Good luck Dan. Let me know if I can be of any assistance while I have the time. I’ll have you know, I’ve become sort of a local handyman for some of our friends in the area – mostly helping to hand shelves and heavier pictures, but still it’s something.

  2. Dan 7-January-2011 at 9:47 am

    So you’re installing shelves now? 🙂 Thanks for the offer!

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