We are lucky enough to have a basement under the ground floor which is a luxury of space not afforded to most in NYC. A number of people have commented it’s large enough to be its own rental but since we are project hobbyists and frequent DIYers we opted for more space over more money.
There were 5 things we needed to get out of the basement renovation:
- A functional machine room for all of Scott’s DIY equipment
- A storage section for big box store shopping and collectables etc that don’t need to be on display
- A larger storage space for renovation materials and holiday decorations
- A server closet for the network and compute resources
- A home gym for my regular workouts
Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the 1970s mancave that existed here before hand but imagine poorly done DIY with concrete blocks and peeling vinyl. Delightful.
We needed to start with flattening out the walls and creating the storage spaces. We paid contractors to do the walls, lighting and wiring – anything that required certification in NYC. Then we moved onto the DIY work, thankfully Scott is good at woodwork because it saved me about 10K on the quote for us to do the remaining finishings ourselves.
Then we started with laying the floor. Conveniently this was upcycled wood flooring that we took from the ground floor renovation when we updated the floors on the ground level. This made the renovation of this room extremely cheap, we only needed to buy moulding and underfloor lining to get the room to a beautiful finish.
Once the flooring was done we were able to do the moulding.
Here you can see the moulting in progress around the storage doors and floor joins.
Then it was time to install storage. This is an excellent IKEA storage set, the entire set up only cost $600 but did require a little bit of fiddly planning of sizing and set joins. I used the IVAR design set and the IKEA planning tool to design this set up.
And here’s a shot after all of the long term storage items were taken out of boxes.
We also added a couple of closets and pantries that we no longer needed after the Kitchen and Pantry renovations. Here you can see my Cosplay outfits bagged and tagged and put into long term storage.
Then it was time to do the home gym. I already owned a really nice elliptical but I needed storage for drinks and fitness gear and I wanted to start building strength workouts into my routine. This is where my bargain hunting really got into play!
I spent some time during the Black Friday sales targeting items for this renovation. I managed to get the multiway weight set for only $340 and the TV was a Costco bargain at $130. Add a $100 dorm fridge, an $80 IKEA storage unit and a $50 floor routine mat and you’re looking at a beautiful home gym for about the price of an annual gym membership in NYC.
Of course the other thing we needed for a couple of tech nerds was a server closet. Here you can see my Rosewill mini rack (12U) with the network router and refurbished Dell Poweredge 720. We installed one of the old monitors using a monitor arm on the back of the rack and installed some wood to allow for at server keyboard usage during set up. If you’re interested in the tech specs for the server you can find them on Dell.com. This was another bargain hunting steal I found on eBay – an old colo data center refurb $300 for a really nice Xeon compute server still set up with 8 4T drives. Probably not for your average home tech nerd but given that managing cloud machines is what I do this is hardly an issue for us; cleaned out all the drives and installed Ubuntu Server and we’re away :o) I can’t say that I really trust the reliability of hard drives that have been sitting in a DC though so I’m going to replace the next time I find a steal and update to 8 – 12T drives depending on price point.
Of course it wouldn’t be a nerd house without approximately 1000 cables so we took the set up of the server closet as an opportunity to clean out all the tech junk in the house. Sent a lot of old cables for unsupported tech to e-waste and bought a cheap drawer unit for the remaining useful items.
There’s also a machine room behind the storage area that contains the water heater and DIY machinery but it’s still a little chaotic so I’ll post pictures of it next time we do a Spring Clean.