Would appreciate your…

Would appreciate your thoughts (especially if you garden, are handy/crafty, or have a family household) our on basement layout. Click on image to open large PDF version, which you can download, rotate, and see in more detail:

One main question I have is about what's currently marked as the 'Grow Area'. The idea was that this would be a semi-dedicated area for working with plants -- it wouldn't have much natural light, but I could put in a lot of grow lights, and use it for starting seeds, chilling bulbs, etc. But I'm not sure how useful that is. The rest of the basement will have heat, so even if I don't put heat directly in there, will it be cold enough for chilling bulbs, or should I just plan to do that in our unheated garage? (Which is quite large - 2.5 car-size, and we only have 1 car.)

Is it likely to be helpful to have this grow area separate, or should I just give up on it, knock that wall down and let it be part of the main playroom/den area? (Which will mostly have a tv, some couches, maybe some bookshelves if we run out of room upstairs, and spillover toys -- the actual playroom is up on the third floor, next to the kids' rooms.) If we do keep it, is it useful to have it be an area that closes, or is that likely to be kid-safe enough that it can just be open to the rest of the room? And if we do keep it, should we squeeze it down to be smaller, allow for more storage space?

Then there's the craft room -- a room that needs a large stand-at work table (dining table size, roughly), a sewing machine table, a lot of wall storage, and a door that closes and locks, as there will be a lot of dangerous stuff in there (poisonous chemicals, cutting devices, etc.) Is it the right size?

And somewhere down here should be the general tool area -- for saws, drills, etc. I'm not sure whether that should be part of the craft room (since there's already going to be a utility work table there), or off in a grungier part of the basement.

Also, somewhere in here is beer-making supplies and work area for Kevin.

Also, somewhere in here is probably an extra freezer. That section currently marked as laundry is really more laundry-kitchenette, I think. Will probably have a spare microwave down there, for example. The main laundry room is on the second floor, but the house came with two sets of washer/dryer, so we thought we might as well have a second set in the basement.

Also, any other thoughts on whether we're likely to need more storage, etc. would be helpful, especially from those of you with four-person households.

And if we eventually added a bath down there (I agree it's generally desirable, but the budget just might not stretch that far, sadly), we'd basically have to carve it out of the main playroom area, I think. Or I guess it can go in the grow room area instead? But we'd want to decide now, even if we were going to do it later, since it might affect plumbing layouts.

The only thing that I'm sure doesn't change is the utility / storage room in the top left corner. That's where all the mechanicals will be going.

One alternative layout would be to move the craft room to where the grow room currently is. And then open up the rest of the laundry / grow / playroom space. I'm not sure we need all those walls...

And this is a minor point, but not only do we need to have a wall somewhere in the playroom area to hang a large-ish flat-screen TV, but I'd ideally like to have a line of sight from the open craft room door to that tv. Often I'm doing long, tedious, time-consuming tasks that it'd be nice to have the tv for. But that's not a priority -- even just listening to the TV is decent (especially since most of the tasks do require my eyes as well as my hands), and I can always bring a laptop with Hulu in the actual craft room too.

My thoughts are clearly all over the place. Any input would be welcome.

5 thoughts on “Would appreciate your…”

  1. This looks great except for one thing: I don’t know whether you can do anything about this, but I do not like that it seems to be necessary to go through the laundry room to get to the playroom. This could be an invitation to visiting children to play with the washer and dryer. Children of a certain age love experimenting and turning things on, for example.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Yes, that’s the first problem I noticed on this plan, both for safety issues, and because that area is likely to be on the grotty side, so I’m not thrilled about guests walking through there. Must hide the mess!

    But I think the laundry mechanicals need to be where they are (all the mechanicals are going along the north wall for a variety of reasons), so the only way to avoid passing through that area would be to add a hallway and then close off that room. Which means taking space from the craft room, I think. Not sure if that’s worth it. It’d also need to be a hallway with turns, I think, since the door to outside is where it is, which I think would eat up more space.

  3. One comment: Adding additional rooms (by adding walls and doors in an existing basement) can trigger requirements to also add automobile parking spaces (in some cities.)

    Just wanted to be sure you considered this now, instead of discovering the issue when you file the building permit. If you are working with an architect, you have probably already discussed this!

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Wacky! Good to know, but I don’t think it’ll apply to us, because none of this is going to count as finished space, since the ceiling is too low. It’s all marked as ‘uninhabitable’.

  5. Hide the mess behind cabinet doors. Lots and lots of cabinets that go from floor to ceilings! Though little hands like playing with buttons you can get covers or something to prevent them from playing with buttons… As for the grow room, I would not have a separate room for it (unless you can think of multiple uses for the room.) As much as we love plants (and you know we do!) we really don’t do our own growing from seeds. It is too much hassle and we end up getting starters. If you want to do it for teaching purposes you can do something at a smaller scale by a window for the kids. Trust me unless you really love it, you’ll only do it a few times to experiment with it and move on…a dedicated room for it isn’t necessary.

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