Emergency Basement Remodel, Patricia Flanagan

Patricia Flanagan

Emergency Basement Remodel
A few weeks after the city finished a four-month long, heavy construction dig out of the road directly in front of my house, foul-smelling water seeped up through my basement floor. The constant vibrations from the construction resulted in a 14-foot linear crack of my sewer pipe… They claimed no fault for the damage within my house ‘footprint,’ yet the dug up my front lawn (a.k.a. the city’s claimed 25 feet right-of-way) to replace the pipe from the street to my house wall. I was recuperating from foot surgery and my job was coming to an end in a few months, so it definitely was NOT in the current plan to add gut the finished basement and jackhammer up foundation to my Life Sucks and Things are Stressing Me Out List. Homeowners insurance only covered excavation of the pipe downstairs. I turned to my local salvage/recycle warehouse to fully rebuild my basement from the sub-foundation up. Along with four craigslist purchases and four sidewalk freebies, other reused materials were: sewer drain piping; cellar stairs; banisters; storage room shelving components; laundry dump sink; laundry room cabinets; sixteen doors; two sets of kitchen cabinets, kick plating, vinyl coving; stove; range hood, shelf; den cabinets; sofa; microwave, kitchen table, chairs; bathroom mirror; toiletries shelving; sink; various tile; closets shelving; bedframe; refrigerators; window shutter; curtain rods; coat rack; carpet pieces; soundproofing and insulation materials; weather stripping; many-hundred linear feet of millwork and many dozen various duct work, plumbing, electrical, and hardware components.



List of Photos


1.       Basement sewage seepage - thanks Mom for helping…

2.       Basement sewage gutting – gone are all the room’s walls, floor tiling, storage shelving, everything…

3.       Basement sewer line linear crack – OMG, it runs the whole length

4.       Basement raw sewage – g-r-o-s-s!

5.       Basement sewer pipe full excavation – it’s simply overwhelming me



1.       Basement Reuse 1 – new kitchen: cobbled together by two sets of reused kitchen cabinets that were the same type of wood; reused range hood; reused shelf; reused bi-fold doors; craigslist reused stove; trash can found on street; reused toe kick plates, vinyl coving, & kitchen shelving bought & awaiting installation

2.       Basement Reuse 2 – new living room: reused giant doors made into a bi-fold; craigslist sofa

3.       Basement Reuse 3 – new living room: reused kitchen cabinets awaiting reused feet to be screwed on to make a tv/stereo console; mini-fridge-cum-mini-bar found on street

4.       Basement Reuse 4 – new foyer/kitchen: craigslist microwave and apartment fridge;  reused cabinet from one of the kitchen sets; reused doors cut down to various 5’ to 7’ sizes &  doorknob holes spackled up for pocket doors; reused kitchen chairs & table (off to left out of picture)

5.       Basement Reuse 5 – new bathroom: reused door made into pocket door; reused shower & floor tile; reused sink and mirror; reused closet components, window shutter, front door jam & weatherstripping etc. stored and awaiting installation

6.       Basement Reuse 6 – new bathroom: reused floor tile; reused sink, mirror and shelving

7.       Basement Reuse 7 - new bedroom: reused bedframe; reused door made into pocket door; reused closet door; reused front door awaiting installation

8.       Basement Reuse 8 - new laundry room: reused dump sink; reused cabinets; reused coat rack on top awaiting installation; garbage can and laundry baskets found on street; reused doors planed down to make trifold door

9.       Basement Reuse 9 - new storage room: reused door made into pocket door; reused stairs & banisters; reused shelving unit; reused wire shelving baskets; hamper & recycling crate found on street

10.   Lawn Dig up – the city dug up my lawn for cracked pipe on “their owned 25 ft. right-of-way.”  Note the reused house shingles repurposed for barrier to thorny rose bush in garden in order to keep our blind, old dog safe.


…and many-hundred linear feet of reused millwork and many dozen various reused duct work, plumbing, electrical, and hardware components!



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