Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Basement bathroom and bar - idea time...

When we bought this house we loved the way the basement was nicely finished and ready for immediate use. Then we actually used it. There isn't anything really wrong with it, but there isn't anything that's really right either. It is a struggle, but not enough for immediate response, so it has been bumped and rescheduled every time we have approached fixing it.

Our first goal with the basement was to convert our junk closet into a bathroom. Adding a bathroom would eat into the bar area. The bar is too short, so since that space was under construction, we would just redo the bar as well. For some reason, the basement was carpeted in floor-to-floor cream carpet. With kids and entertaining, that carpet is always needing cleaning.

So now we are up to a bathroom, a bar, a floor, and a ceiling. Yup - a ceiling too. An annoyance to me is the way that the drywall ceiling sags between stud bays creating waves across the room. besides, a drop ceiling would be far more practical for accessing mechanicals up there.

We thought we would jump into this project early on. I had our power panel relocated to make room for a proper bathroom. We laid out plans on ACAD and secured a contractor. Then we fixed our pool and went on vacation and did other things and the bathroom had to wait. but here's the plan - and I'm confident it will work.

What is currently a closet-o-junk is slated to become a 4-piece bathroom. By extending the closet outwards another 2 feet to the very edge of the power panel and to the right so it lines up with the bump-out where the picture is hanging, we will have enough space for a tub and shower against the wall where the power panel; is, and a sink at the bar side. Among the junk in the closet is a toilet and sink already purchased for this.

With the end wall of the bar moving, we will need to either revamp the existing bar (which is really a box-o-junk) and add in things like storage for entertaining wares and proper liquor glasses, maybe even a proper wine rack and some kind of hotplate or microwave for snacketizers. One of our challenges today is that the cupboards behind the bar are so close to the serving area that you can't open them while serving someone. Part of me thinks it should be set up as a kitchenette so we could have a rental suite if times ever got tight.

For the new bar, I'd like to build something similar in looks to the traditional plans found on This Old house.

but I also really like the storage in this plan from Bob's Plans...

The drawers and wine rack just make sense. But where do we put the appetizer platters and trays? And there is no room to add on a keg fridge and taps. Not to mention that we make about 30 bottles of wine per batch, so we'd need way more wine rack than that. First world problems are nice to have.

I think I'll go with a traditional wooden bar moulding around the bar, but I am liking this as a testbed for playing with concrete countertops for the serving area. In my mind I see a homecast concrete serving area dyed to look like granite with odds and ends embedded for interest. Hmmm. Decisions.

How cool does this concrete countertop look??

Found at http://www.sandiegoremodelblog.com

Here's another concrete counter but with a logo inscribed in it. If only our family had a cool logo.

Found in a google search

One more super-awesome concrete countertop - this one actually in someone's bar...

Another google search find that is unattributed by the search engine :S

For flooring around the bar, we are up in the air. SWMBO wants to go with laminate for the entire basement floor, and at pennies per square foot, and an evening to install, I can't blame her. My vision has tile in the bar area since the bathroom will require tiling anyways. I'd like to go with something dark and natural looking, but that could handle a "mug o' the frothy ale" tumbling onto it without absorbing smell or swelling and peeling. Also it must be easy-clean which rules out the travertine tile we have upstairs.

I can see transitioning to a quality laminate once we get beyond the range of wayward drinks. The existing lighting actually works OK with the existing bar setup, but since everything will move, we may find ourselves rethinking mood and task lighting down there. Also, venting for the bathroom will likely mean a duct of some sort running across the ceiling at the front of the bar. This may make re-using the existing potlights appealing, and adding some ambiance lighting possible.

Right now all the decorations in the bar are tied to the boat. Our trophy plaques are in there along with some sailing pictures and all our flags and pennants we've won at various regattas. If we sell the boat, I'm not sure that I want that stuff out. I don't want to be the guy who sits around talking about what he used to do. I'm not sure what relevant stuff we'll dig up to decorate with, but I'm sure we'll find something.

Well this turned out to be mostly about the bar. That's OK. Maybe later I'll talk about the bathroom. That will be a huge undertaking in its own right!


  1. love a concrete counter top! and I think you've got plenty of time to design a family logo for it...get cracking! ;)

    1. I'll just steal Dave and Morley's family motto from Stuart Maclean's books. If you haven't read his books, I'll arrange for one to arrive on your doorstep. They'd be right up your alley.


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