Having worked with these clients before, we knew that energy performance and indoor air quality were of paramount importance. We also recognized that the basement was weak spot and were keen to correct its deficiencies.
We removed the basement finishes, filled in two existing windows, covered holes in the rubble foundation with wire mesh to block mouse intrusion, and installed foam insulation along the walls to R-20. We decided against insulating the slab, partly because we didn't have headroom and partly because it didn't seem warranted given the minimal impact it would have on energy use and air quality. We also installed triple-paned windows.
Mechanical equipment consists of a ductless minisplit for heating and cooling, an energy recovery ventilator for balanced ventilation, and a humidistat-controlled dehumidifier for maintaining comfortable humidity levels. The finished space features a kids' hang-out room and a multipurpose space with a pool table, work/project station, and workout equpiment.
Designer Josy Raycroft remedied the bathroom by capturing a small amount of square footage from the daughter's adjacent bedroom and from the chimney that ran between the bedroom and the bathroom. By removing the chimney (which hadn't been in use for over a decade), Josy was able to incorporate a water closet into the bathroom. And by pushing the wall between the bathroom and the bedroom further into the bedroom space, she was able to make room for a double vanity—a feature that has made it possible for two teenagers of the opposite gender to share the space amicably. At the same time, Josy made the daughter's bedroom more functional by doubling the size of the closet and creating a nook for a built-in bookcase. While the bedroom is now smaller, it is less cluttered and the space is better utilized.
These small tweaks in layout have had a big impact on our clients' day-to-day lives. What had felt like tight quarters now feels spacious and functional—not because we added more space but because we reconfigured the space that was already there to function more effectively.