BILD 2022 Renovation & Custom Home Awards
The client was looking for a cozy gathering hub in the basement. A place that sparks inspiration and allows for creativity to flow. The existing condition, being a dark storage / mechanical space with short ceilings (6’10”) was un-inviting and far from what the client needed. Considering the layout of the space which is a long and narrow rectangle (14′ width by 42′ length), we had to come up with a solution to not only accommodate the client’s budget and needs but also create an inviting space that didn’t feel claustrophobic.
The most important renovation solution was underpinning the basement to provide a height of 8’8″. This was the most challenging aspect due to access to the site. From the outside, the front of the building is along Dundas St W which is the main corridor for streetcars. The back of the building leads to an alleyway with limited turning radius capacity. This meant no access to large machinery.
After the underpinning was done and the space was opened up, key design elements were used to create usable spaces based on the client’s needs. They include a unique stairway to the basement, a large 2-level podium in the centre for a cozy gathering spot, a custom library, a kitchen bar with an island that ties into the podium, a home theatre space, and a private noise-cancelling office room.
The new height of the basement which is now 2 feet more than the previous height is a significant aspect of the renovation. We wanted to create the height with minimal disruption to the rest of the home. This meant underpinning the existing foundation by removing the existing concrete slab, excavating the earth, and underpinning section by section. Once we excavated, we realized the soil in the area was extremely sandy. This meant having the engineer re-design the footing detail. Finally, without disrupting the main floor, we managed to renovate the basement from an unusable space to a usable one.
Having a basement with a variety of amenities such as a kitchen, home theatre, and a noise-cancelling office that can accommodate guests means the basement is independent of the rest of the home. This not only provides comfort for the guests but also provides privacy for the host. Especially now with a new lifestyle of “work-from-home”, as the owner of his own marketing firm, our client greatly needs a place to gather with his team without disrupting the rest of the home. The once dark and claustrophobic basement can now accommodate the feeling of inspiration and creativity.