Final Basement Renovation Design

After much deliberation we did eventually decide on a design for our basement renovation. It’s the easiest design option in as much as we don’t have to change any of the existing walls and all we have to do is add three walls and box in the ceiling. It should also meet all of what we feel we want out of the basement renovation.


The three walls are the short stubby wall just inside the door, the wall with the door leading into the storage / furnace room and then the short 45 degree wall at the end. The 45 degree wall leaves us with a near perfect nook to put a wardrobe or cabinet for storage.

Where we plan to put shelves, photos and bookcases we’ll be putting blocking behind the dry wall. That’ll save having to use those annoying drywall plugs that never seem to be as secure as I would like.

We will also be adding as much soundproofing as possible to the walls and ceiling of the room as the sound environment in the room is very important for the recording of the YWAM Podcast, and other future recording projects. I’ll write more about that later, but we think we’ve come up with a pretty good solution.

Children Sharing Bedrooms

I know that it’s strange for a web-site dedicated to Renovating, but we would rather not have to renovate at the moment with us expecting our third child. We’ve been looking at different options for preparing out house for child number three,  but with a pregnant wife and a tired husband we would love to find a solution other than renovating our house, again …

One that thing that we have discussed a lot is for our kids to share a room. We have an eight-year old boy, a four year old girl and number three (gender to be determined) on the way. If can figure out a way for the kids to share, then we could avoid, or at least put off, renovating our third house in a row.

Setting Up A Room for Siblings to Share

For us to set-up a room for our kids to share would at least require us purchase some new furniture, and decorate the room in a way that would suit both kids.

The first thing we would probably want to consider, given the limited floor space in the bedrooms, is a bunk bed…

Ikea Mydal Bunk Bed

Your basic bunk bed is a great use of space that basically lets two beds fit where one bed would normally fit. Some of the nicer bunk beds actually separate to make two separate bed, but your basic bunk, like the Ikea Mydal Bunk Bend above, is a single frame. At a cost of only $139.00 CAD though it’s a very tempting product.

Loft Bunk Bed

Some of your fancier bunk beds can include everything from a desk, a dresser and a book case in it. A good example of this is the Ponderosa Student Loft Bunk Bed from The Brick Canada. At a cost of $1,199.97 + tax it’s a fair bit more than the Ikea Mydal option, but it includes the desk, bookcase and a dresser.

Another option that pursued when we were in Townsville was to build a loft bed.

altThe loft bed wasn’t as high as a bunk bed, but it still allowed us to use the storage space under it to put a book shelf and a toy box. The kids also liked to use it as a cubby hole by draping their blankets over the edge to cover the front of it.

There is a whole story behind the loft bed that I need to write about someday, but it eventually involved us lowering the bunk to the normal height of a bed after a couple of “incidents”…

Can  our opposite sex children Even share a room?

The main hurdle that we have come up against in considering if our children can share a room is the law. This is something that we certainly were not expecting to be an issue!

In Calgary, Alberta, Canada it is illegal for a child over the age of eight to share a bed-room with a sibling of the opposite sex.

Well, there goes the plan of our eight year son sharing a room with his four year old sister. Besides the fact that one is a morning person and the other a night owl, this certainly throws a spanner in the works …

Should A Baby Share A Bedroom With An Older Sibling?

Since we know that our four year old girl and eight year old boy are not legally allowed to share a room, should we let one of them share a room with the new baby?

I guess when considering this we need to consider our two children. Our daughter is a very light sleeper, and I think sharing with a baby would be very detrimental to her sleep and and therefore health. Our son is very heavy sleeper, but also needs a lot of alone time, which would be hard if he were to share a room.

So I guess that leaves us with the option of the baby sharing a room with us, or renovating the house. Either option will be hard on our sleep as we’ve found before…

Mixed Messages from the Gas Company

I’m so confused …

So we have been trying to work out some different options to prepare our house for child number 3. We have a three bedroom plus office house (I work from home and need the office) and are trying to work out how to best set it up for three kids. There is a large storage / furnace room in the basement that could be separated into two separate rooms, but we are sure how to best use those rooms.

The biggest problem is that of the two external sides of that room one is under a deck and the other is where the gas line comes into the house.

I called the local gas company, ATCO, a few weeks ago and was told that we need 39” between the gas meter and a window, but that we could put a window under the gas line once it came into the house. This week I called again to check it and was told that a window needed to be 36” away from the gas meter and that it could not be under the gas line!

So two different stories from the same office about putting a window near where the gas comes into the house:

  1. 39” away from the meter but the gas line can go over a window
  2. 36” away from the meter but the gas line can not go over a window

So which do I believe? Based on the first option I thought I had actually come up with a solution to make the storage / furnace room into a new bedroom, but that’s not possible if the second option is true!

Proposed New Window Location Depending on Gas Line Regulation

In the idea above the place I thought we could in a window is the big block on the left, with the gas meter the block on the right and the gas line is the green line. This would work if the first person I talked to was correct, but not if the second person I talk to was correct.

I’m so confused …

Preparing the House For Child Number 3!

Have you ever noticed that almost everything in life is geared for a family with only two kids?

  • Place settings come in groups of four
  • The normal sedan will only fit two car seats or booster seats 
  • Many table and outdoor settings come with four chairs
  • Glasses often come in groups of four
  • Your average home only has three bedrooms

I could go on, but suffice it to say that now that we are expecting our third child we are finding that many things in life are setup for families with only two kids.

The house that we are in now actually has a non-conforming bedroom in the basement (window is too small to be conforming). I work from home though, so that bedroom is currently being used as an office / recording studio. So we need to create a new conforming bedroom, or modify the existing bedroom and build a new office.

To be honest we are a bit stumped with how to prepare / renovate the house to accommodate another bedroom and have still have an office, storage room, play room, etc. We are also hesitant to begin renovations after all that we did on the last house and with a baby on the way. During our last pregnancy with our daughter we were out of the house while it was being raised less than a month before she was born. That is not the type of situation that we want to repeat.

Here is the current floor plan for our basement:


The current office is huge for a bedroom for an 8-year old. It’s bigger than our master bedroom! To make it into a conforming bedroom would require us to replace the existing window with one at least double the size, which would mean cutting into the foundations to install the new window.

Putting the bedroom in the existing mechanical / furnace / storage room makes a lot of sense. The problem though is that the existing window is under the deck, which you can’t make conforming unless you remove the deck, so we can’t simply enlarge that window. The gas line comes in the middle of the other external wall, which can’t be within 39” of a window, so we can’t put a window in that wall. So without removing the deck, or moving the gas line, we can’t put a large enough window in that room to make it a conforming bedroom, but it would work as an office.

I wrote about two options that we were looking at when I found out how big the door has to be to our furnace room. If we were to go with one of those options that would leave our son with a massive bedroom, and us with a smaller office.

Our primary needs are:

  • Ample Storage
  • Office large enough for Two People
  • Bedroom for our 8-year old son
  • Laundry Room
  • Family / Play Room
  • Inexpensive option

We will most likely be making the windows in the office larger and making that a bedroom, and then building an office into the other room. I’ve been really taken aback by the quotes by builders so far. We have been quoted over $15,000+ by three different renovation companies, so I’m a bit stumped what to do.

Any suggestions?