Powering the basement and starting the first floor reno

One advantage to living in a space before you make any changes is that you really get the chance to think about things and get input from other people. A big hurdle for the basement, in particular the workshop, is the lack of power. There is only one circuit down there, which, frankly, isn’t enough for all the power tools and lights that need to live in that space. Aaron was resigned to only using one tool at a time, when a conversation with my dad led to the revelation that adding a sub-panel would be remarkably easy.

It required running conduit from the panel in the living room, through the studio and down to the basement through the furnace room. Which worked out really well, because we already needed to reroute some electrical runs in the living room to account for two new windows we want to add.

Let’s take a look. The living room power ran from the panel, over the stairwell door and then down to provide outlets in the space.

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We decided to push all of this higher and add a run of conduit to power the basement subpanel. While this is well within Aaron’s capabilities, in the interest of time, we decided to get a few quotes for the work. The winning bid came out to just a few hundred dollars for labor (we considered parts a wash as we would need them no matter who did the work), which seemed well worth it! Over the span of a few days, the electrician added the new runs and removed the unnecessary conduit.

Before

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After (Don’t worry. We replaced the cover on the panel.)

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Before

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After – The conduit is much higher! It’s touching a portion of the wall that the previous owner decided to paint (well… started painting) black. Because it’s always a good idea to make your ceiling feel lower than it is. (Sarcasm.) Eventually, this will all get painted (predictably) white.

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Before

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After

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Before

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After

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This is a super functional update, but it paved the way for exciting things, like new windows (!!!) and FINALLY tackling the workshop. And maybe you already figured out from the tape that we’re going to add a fireplace! I’ll give you the full low down on the plans for the first floor in the next post.

7 comments

  1. Cassie

    Love watching all your makeover progress! I have been following your blog since almost the beginning of you getting it. I watched your house hunters episode on Netflix last night and felt like I knew you lol. You guys are doing a great job!

  2. Bill Hibbler

    As many others have done, I discovered your episode on Netflix and a Google search led me here. I do marketing and video production and have considered conducting a similar search here in Austin, TX. I don’t have anywhere near Aaron’s skills but I still love the idea. Congrats on the find and the transformation!

    • Heather

      Thanks, Bill, and good luck with your potential search. We obviously have a huge love for strange and repurposed buildings. Aaron is naturally pretty handy, but he’s definitely learned a lot through research on the internet.

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