My Home Remodel, Part 2: I Work from Home

I have worked from home for probably 15 years of my 20-year career as editor of trade publications. The only change COVID has had on my regular workday is Zoom calls that now require me to comb my hair and wear something a bit more professional than t-shirts and ratty sweaters!

Before: My office with concrete walls and floor.

When I first started working from home—all the way back in 2004—I quickly realized I needed dedicated office space so I could close the door on my day and not be tempted to answer emails all hours of the day and night. (The rise of smartphones has again made this temptation difficult to resist.)  

Therefore, the first item on Bart’s and my home-remodeling agenda was to create a dedicated office space for me. We wanted to maintain our second bedroom on the main floor of our house for guests. Because we had a full, unfinished basement, this was the ideal spot to transform for more living space. I had already created my office in a room of the basement and tried to embrace the raw concrete look. My electrician was a bit taken aback when I asked him to hang a chandelier from the open ceiling.

The Thrasher drainage system.

However, before we could transform our basement we needed to remedy the fact that our basement would flood every time we got a decent rain. I would lie in bed listening to the sump pump and when it would operate at 30-second intervals, I knew the basement was flooding. I’d then frantically run downstairs to move items to higher ground for fear of water damage.

I explained to my husband the damage water was doing to the foundation of our home and soon we were listening to a pitch from Thrasher, a foundation and concrete repair company. We hired the company to waterproof our basement. The quote was not inexpensive but Bart likes to say it’s the best money we’ve spent. In a day and a half, a crew of three created a drainage line in our basement floor and installed a new, quiet sump pump. We then waited until the following spring before doing anymore work to ensure the Thrasher system would actually keep our basement dry, which it did. In Spring 2016, our contractor began framing an office for me, a guest bedroom and a walk-in closet separating the two rooms, which were built on one side of our basement.

My office today.

My new office is beautiful, and I no longer hear our super-quiet sump pump nor ever worry that the basement is flooding. (Thrasher returns annually to test our system.) In fact, we installed engineered hardwood throughout my office, guestroom and the walk-in closet.

Wedding-dress display.

Lastly, during this phase, our HVAC contractor swapped out a forced-air-gas unit with a high-efficiency Amana heat pump, which we located in a central part of our basement to better heat and cool our entire house.

One of my favorite features from this remodeling phase is in our walk-in closet. I had our contractor build a cabinet in which to display my wedding dress. I knew it would just hang in the closet unseen otherwise. I want to buy a mannequin to wear my dress and install a light in the cabinet but I still happily take people through the walk-in closet to show off this cabinet (and my dress!).

In Part 3 about our home-remodeling project, I’ll write about my dream bathroom in the basement. You can also read Part 1, the backstory, here.

About the Author

Christina A. Koch
Christina A. Koch is editorial director and associate publisher of retrofit.

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