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Renovation Ideas for a New Basement

Dark, dank, and neglected basements are often overlooked as a potential area for family hangouts and additional living space. Working with an experienced contractor, a basement renovation can even help increase the home’s market value. An annual report from Remodeling Magazine showed that the average basement remodel has a 70.3 percent payback on the initial investment. Here are some of the more popular approaches to remodeling the basement.

Build Out a Family Space

The family room can attract family and friends any day or night and serves as a meeting place for holidays, weddings, birthdays, and more. The updated family room design can include a TV room with space for video games, ping pong, darts, and board games, as well as a Wi-Fi hot-zone for working on a laptop while kids do their homework.

Add a Bedroom

Another popular home renovation is a basement bedroom to serve visiting guests or an aging parent or relative. Among other roles, it can be a sanctuary for the family shift worker who needs quiet and privacy during the day. A basement bedroom should be designed around a window for adequate ventilation and should include sufficient closet space. Many homeowners opt to add a bathroom at the same time for increased functionality.

Make a Theater Room

Basement theaters are usually designed in three categories depending on the budget and preferences. The most intensive is a projection room with surround sound, remote control lighting, stadium seating, and leather recliners. A middle ground is a wall-mount TV with a sectional sofa and space for video gaming and entertainment. The most minimal and multi-functional option is a built-in entertainment unit with a large flat screen TV and components to hook up to a digital cable box, Blu-ray player, and gaming console.

Create a Bar

For those cold East Coast winters, homeowners won’t even have to leave the house to pay a visit to their favorite establishment. A home bar is ideal for casual visiting, family gatherings, entertaining, and special occasions. Additions like a mini-fridge, keg with a tap, or wine cellar make it feel even more official. Hanging cabinets for glasses, a washing sink, and plenty of counter space will complete the design.

Our team at WORKS by Jesse DeBenedictis has helped homeowners in the Beverly area transform their basements into multi-functional spaces built for the whole family. Browse our portfolio for more inspiration for your home or fill out our contact form to discuss your thoughts about remodeling your basement.

Kitchen from Hell

If you suspect ghosts in your attic or axe murderers in hockey masks in your basement, then WORKS really cannot help you. But if your problem is the kitchen from hell, our team is ready to help.

How do you know you have the kitchen from hell? It has:

  • Four walls and six doors—one to the back yard, one to the basement, one to the pantry, one to the powder room, one to the living room, and one to another room no one quite knows what to do with—leaving wall space for one cabinet.
  • Wall paper with pink and orange roses, green stripes, and purple bows–or take your choice of wall papers from the two fighting it out in the photo on the right.
  • Cabinet doors made of mismatched plywood.
  • Three layers of linoleum on the floor, topped by the kind that leaves scuff marks every time a shoe touches it.
  • A pass through to the living room exactly big enough for a bag of potato chips and nothing else.
  • Drawers you can only open one at a time because they smack into each other.
  • A do-it-yourself project that has remained not-done for about 8 years.
  • A stove right in the path of traffic, so that anyone who crowds the door catches a hot burner.
  • A refrigerator in an entirely different room.

We’ve seen it all and we know your dream kitchen is something very different. Whether you want to repaint or to rebuild, WORKS by Jesse DeBenedictis is ready to help, in small stages or in one big project. Contact us today.

WORKS Creates an Accessible Bathroom

This renovated, handicapped accessible bathroom is not only functional but beautiful.

From the outside, the home in Beverly, Massachusetts, was perfect: a two-story, two-car garage house in a neighborhood of beautiful homes. But inside, one of the bathrooms was far from meeting the homeowner’s expectations and needs. It was a large but well-worn half-bath that also accommodated the washer and dryer. The homeowner wanted the washer and dryer removed and the half-bath turned into a full accessible bathroom, with shower.

The new bathroom is not only handicapped accessible, but also modern and attractive, which is especially appealing to homeowners who want to age in place or accommodate physical disabilities without sacrificing their life-long sense of style.

On the top left is a photo of the bathroom before WORKS started; on the top right is a photo of what we delivered. As the photos show, the accessible bathroom eliminates any barrier to entering the shower and provides plenty of space for manipulating a wheelchair or other assistive device.

Here are some of the tasks that the WORKS team accomplished to create a bathroom that finally matched the homeowner’s expectations and needs:

  • Patched the wall where the washer and dryer used to be to cover the old vents.
  • Replaced the old, worn tiles with fresh, modern tiles that gave the entire room a lift.
  • Added trim and replaced the trim around the old washer/dryer area to unify the room.
  • Painted the trim and walls.
  • Installed new fixtures, including an updated countertop and faucet for the existing sink cabinet.
  • Installed grab bars and show rod in the new shower.
  • Touched up the paint after the plumber finished working.

As specialists in kitchen and bathroom renovations, WORKS is ready to help homeowners create the rooms they need now and in the future, to keep their homes comfortable, accessible, and functional for years to come. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your renovation.

WORKS Removes Solar Panels

Many homes now have solar panels that were installed in the 1990s or even earlier, during the first rush to combat the 1970s energy crisis with solar. While solar panels can last 30 years, many existing systems are coming close to or exceeding that mark.

The WORKS team prepares to lower a solar panel.

As well as losing efficiency, panels may be damaged by weather events. Homeowners might also want to remove solar panels to update them with more recent, more efficient models; to take them to a new home; or to make repairs or alterations to the roof. But all sources agree: use a professional for removal.

Roofs are tricky to work on at the best of times; handling a 25- to 40-pound solar panel and its electrical wiring builds a major level of risk. Before removing solar panels check with the manufacturer and with your local disposal company to see if there are any special requirements in either handling or disposal.

You may find, on closer examination, that the solar panels are repairable. It is possible to solder cracked glass and restore the panel’s integrity.

When WORKS removed solar panels from a home in Manchester, we were working high up! First, we confirmed that the old, damaged solar panels could not be repaired and did not need any to meet any special requirements for disposal. Then we installed safety harnesses, removed panel brackets, removed fasteners for the panels, roped the panels, and lowered them to the ground.

Finally, we repaired damaged roofing shingles. Removing solar panels usually exposes some damage to the roof from the mounting hardware. The WORKS team has the expertise to not only remove the panels but repair the roof—you don’t have to deal with two contractors, but can leave the entire project to our team.

When it comes to projects involving your roof, from roof repair to skylight repair to solar panel removal, WORKS is ready to give you the professional help you need. Contact us today.

WORKS Addresses Church Renovation

September_First parish_Demo of bathrooms
First, the WORKS team demolished the old bathroom.
September_First parish_Reframe bathrooms
Then the team built an entirely new, more efficient framework.

Their focus this time was on the bathrooms. The men’s room was being used as a storage closet as well as a bathroom; rugs covered the floor in both the men’s and women’s room; the vents didn’t work properly; cracks had appeared in the walls; and the fixtures dated back to when pink Formica countertops were trendy. Although pink countertops have had a small renaissance among lovers of 1950s nostalgia, the church’s bathrooms sorely needed an update.

We gutted and rebuilt the bathrooms from the walls out. Our renovations included fire blocking, new paint, fixtures, and grab bars to help in making the bathrooms handicapped accessible. We supervised electrical and plumbing work. We fixed the duct work by cleaning out weeds and improving the sealing. We installed new subfloors, flooring, and baseboards. We created much needed space and improved access by replacing the swinging door; we built a frame for a pocket door and installed the door.

WORKS has not only successfully completed this church renovation, but has also renovated police stations, libraries, and other community buildings to ensure they remain structurally sound, compliant with building codes, and comfortable. Maintenance of these buildings is often hampered by tight budgets and schedules—the buildings must remain in use even while repairs are taking place.

That’s why the experience of the WORKS team is so important. We know how to finish projects efficiently, with the minimum possible disruption, and with the goal of providing lasting repairs and renovations—to reduce the strain on the budget for years to come. Contact us and let’s talk about your project.