Planning Exterior and Interior Lighting, Storage Solutions, and Interior Decorating

Project: Basement Finishing and Family Space, Episode 12, Part 2

Bob is in Melrose, where landscape lighting is installed in the front and back yards using 12/2 wire in a continuous lead from the last light fixture all the way to the hub connecting solid-stem brass fixtures and 20-watt bulbs throughout the grounds. The yard is on a single circuit but could be wired as zones to turn lights on when it's dark, or to break up controls between the front, back, and side yards. The exterior is completely rewired for lighting and outlets while the inside gets radio-frequency-controlled lighting complete with scenes for different areas of the home. The children's room is reorganized with a double desk, toy storage, drawers, and bookshelves. The basement is completely finished with basement drainage, waterproofing, new subfloors, easy-stick carpet tiles, media-room recliners, audio and video systems, finished storage, a second bath with a macerating toilet and pump, laundry, and a small desk area. The entire basement is finished with a basement system that provides walls, trim, doors, and ceiling for a polished, sound-deadening new family room. The new furnace, central air, air purification, and on-demand hot water system are tucked behind finished walls where they function quietly to keep the entire house comfortable.

Part 1: Installing Exterior Lighting
Part 2: Planning Exterior and Interior Lighting, Storage Solutions, and Interior Decorating
There are many options for lighting fixtures when lighting the exterior of an old home. It is important to find something that is complementary to the age and style of the home. The two lighting fixtures on the home's porch ceiling are from Bellacor and feature clear glass domes that are appropriate for a house built in the 1920s. The house features elements of Dutch Colonial, American Colonial, gambrel, and arts and crafts styles. Some of the lights around the back of the house reflect the arts and crafts style. The interior of this home, like most of the homes built in the 1920s, had very little storage space. Chloe Durant of California Closets reviews some of the changes made to the house to improve the storage space. Before the renovation, the boys' room featured lots of little containers for toys which made the room feel cluttered. In an effort to expand toy storage space and add space for work, a two-section desk was installed. Bookshelves and drawer space were included with the desk. Some bookshelves include baskets for toy storage. A door was removed from a pre-existing closet, the interior was painted, and display shelves were installed. A bunk bed from was put in the children's room, which helped open up more space. The master bedroom was also furnished with products bought online. This 1920s-era house had almost no exterior lighting and not even a place to plug in the Christmas lights. Electrician John Schiavone installed new lighting outlets for the exterior and interior of the home. The lighting fixtures and table lamps in the living room are all operated by wireless control. Ben Wilson Jr. of Lutron/Keyes North Atlantic reviews the features of this system. The control unit has five settings for the homeowner to set, which will control various lights in the house. The system seeks out and uses wireless frequencies that are not currently in use and will not impede the use of other wireless devices in the area. Each room of the house is equipped with a dimmer switch that for manual operation. The house has a lot of architectural character from the nice dark woodwork. The selection of new furniture for the house reflects this character. All of the new furnishings were purchased online and the only two objects still remaining in the room are the grandmother's piano and an Indian armoire. The accent cushions for the couch use the same colors and floral patterns found in the Indian armoire. The furnishings were bought from and the rug was from BelleRug. The oriental-style rug really unifies the room. Adult space has been reclaimed with the addition of the space for the family's children.
Part 3: Touring the Completed Basement Remodel
Bob Vila helps a young family with an old house create family and recreational space for their active kids. Projects include replacement window installation, innovative plumbing solutions, and smart storage to make indoor and outdoor spaces ideal for this growing family.

Also from Basement Finishing and Family Space

  • Episode 1 - Removing Unwanted Junk and Combatting Basement Moisture


    <p>In Melrose, MA, a family with two young sons needs extra room and looks to Bob and his team to repurpose their damp basement for expanded living space. Homeowner Sarah Monzon shows Bob the backyard of the 1921 gambrel with a stone retaining wall they created to manage the slope for the kids&rsquo; play yard. She explains how the exterior has water intrusion and moisture buildup problems. Inside, Cyrus Beasley rips out the under-stair closet and assesses the stair support required while the plumber disconnects the old soapstone sink. The Monzons then clear out years of junk and demolition waste before calling 1-800-Got-Junk to stack, sort, and dispose of everything to donation centers, recycling sites, and the dump for a set price. Larry Janesky of Basement Systems reviews the exterior drainage problems of the home with Bob and then explains how they will reduce moisture on the inside. The crew breaks up the concrete floor to create an interior drainage trench, applies Clean Walls to isolate the stone walls and send moisture runoff to the drainage trench and sump, installs Thermal Dry radiant barrier behind finished walls to prevent moisture transfer, and creates a hole for the sump.</p>
  • Episode 2 - Basement Waterproofing, New Plumbing, and On-Demand Hot Water


    <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>221</o:Words> <o:Characters>1265</o:Characters> <o:Company>Blue Iceberg LLC</o:Company> <o:Lines>10</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>2</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>1553</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG /> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting /> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables /> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx /> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]-->Bob and Larry Janesky of Basement Systems review the work being done to cut a drainage trench in the concrete around the perimeter of the basement floor. Water will be channeled through the trench to a sump &ndash; dug at the lowest spot in the basement &ndash; where it can be pumped out of the home. <span>&nbsp;</span>A triple safe power pump protects the home even if there is a loss of power.<span>&nbsp; </span>Bob reviews the work done on the existing plumbing once all the waterproofing and flood-prevention measures are put in place in the basement. Al Leone of Leone Plumbing Corp. first cut the pipes into sections for easy removal and demonstrates some of the specialized work he does to install the pipe, including using oakum, a joint runner, and poured hot lead to form a joint seal. Old brass water pipes are replaced with PEX tubing, creating more headroom in the basement and the sink and laundry lines can be easily relocated.<span>&nbsp; </span>Bob talks with Dan Driscoll of Rinnai about the new on-demand water heater being installed. The heater is a whole-house system sized for a three-bathroom household, laundry, and cleaning. An on-demand, tankless water heater saves basement space <span>&nbsp;</span>and is energy efficient because it does not store hot water. Driscoll opens up the water heater to show how the system works. Once the water is turned on, sensors detect the amount of water being used and the temperature of the incoming cold water. The on-demand system is about 40% more efficient than gas-fueled tank water heaters and 70% more efficient than electric tank water heaters.</p> <!--EndFragment--> <!--EndFragment--> <p>&nbsp;</p>
  • Episode 3 - Moving the Oil Tank for New Heating, Cooling, and Air Filtration


    <p>Bob is in Melrose where John Ambrosino of Total Temperature Control installs the new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Because of clearance issues, the unit is installed horizontally and tied to the joists with steel rods. Ambrosino explains how the unit pulls air in for exchange, to be heated or cooled, then pushes it through a fan and into the ducts for circulation. The 16 SEER unit is very big for maximum efficiency, quiet operation, and up to 45 percent savings over current energy costs. Mark Hagan shows Bob the Trane CleanEffects whole-house three-stage air-cleaning system that cleans the air of 99.98 percent of particulates, filtering first for large particles, then charging the small particles and capturing them in a collection filter for healthy indoor air. Don Adams of Bond-Tite Tank Service shows Bob how they move the oil tank, reattach it, set it in a trough to catch leaks and drips, and apply Tank-Guard to isolate condensing water and prevent tank corrosion. Bob talks to Howard Brickman about how to control squeaking floors either by drawing the wood floor tight against the subfloor with screws, connecting blocking to the joists and subfloor from below, or shimming the space between the subfloor and joists.</p>
  • Episode 4 - Basement Finishing System and Custom Windows

  • Episode 5 - Exterior Upgrades for 1921 Gambrel

  • Episode 6 - Hardscaping, Removing Rot, and Fighting Insect Damage

  • Episode 7 - New Backyard Fence and Basement Half-Bath

  • Episode 8 - Basement Carpet, Storage, and Closet Design

  • Episode 9 - Low-Maintenance Landscaping, Gutters, and Pantry

  • Episode 10 - Stucco Painting, Exterior Repairs, Shutters, and High-End Decking

  • Episode 11 - Basement Moisture-Proofing, Home Audio, Blinds, and Appliances

Hi, I'm Bob Vila.

Welcome to the show here in Melrose. It's our final visit at the project where we've taken a basement area and turned it into a fabulous family room, and of course the project grew from there . So we are going to show you other parts of the house where we have have made some serious improvements including the bedrooms, the backyard, we'll be looking at all sorts of lighting, lots of neat stuff to show you.
Stick around, it's good to have you with us. Although Our project here began really just as an expansion and remodel of the downstairs basement space of this little house. It soon expanded to include all sorts of areas that either needed repair or offered opportunities for improvement.

So I'm standing at the front of the house where we did some serious hardscape and landscape improvements. Putting in a retainer wall to create a sense of separation from the sidewalk and the street, putting in all sorts of beautiful shrubs and bushes.

And then around the sides and the back of the house, a beautiful white cedar fence, including a potting shed and storage areas, so that the tiny backyard in the house can be further developed, where in fact we put in a beautiful area of pea stone and another area of new grass, something the little kids won't be able to destroy very easily.

And, now everything is complete, including the outdoor lighting.

What you do is you start with the right bulb size. The bulb is, in this case, a 20 watt astro bright, has a 10,000 hour lamp life . Similar to an LED light, it lasts a long time, but more user friendly than a halogen because if you touch this particular bulb with your fingers, it won't blow up as, as a halogen will because of the oil on your fingers. That will then touch the light source and cause a problem.

From there you go to the stem and the fixture, which is a solid brass fixture made by Uniques. Comes with a lifetime warranty, so you're guaranteed that it's gonna last forever and in any condition.

From there, you have got a great wire lead, cause the 25ft wire lead is pre-done, so you minimize the amount of connection which is your biggest breaking point in the lighting system.

With that, at the end of that wire lead, you take your 12-2 wire, in this case, and bring it to your main source, which then be your hub.

So, in this case, with this installation, as far as transformer power goe , we're going to be using 840 watt trans-meric from. There's 22 light fixtures in this property.

Every fixture in this case is a twenty watt bulb, so we have more than enough transformer power to do this property.

What you could do, because we have a front yard, a backyard and a side yard, is you could designate the different sections and have different transformers, so you may want the front yard to stay on, maybe till twelve 'o' clock at night, maybe perhaps the backyard only goes on a switch so, then now you have options.

The style you are depending on the usage could then have it be on with the switch or have it be on a photocell timer, such as the front. Photocell means that when it turns dark, it turns on.

A timer can turn it off whatever time you' ve predisposed it to do.

So what have we learned as far as insulation goes, no matter what the size of the project is, whether its a 10 light job or a 200 light project that you have to be able to go in order to make things work very consistently.

So as you dig your trenches and you lay your lights out. What you want to do is when you pull your wire leads, which is our main line through the transmitter to our set of lights.

Three, four, five lights whatever a set it is. You wanna pull it all the way to the end. Pull your leads all the way back, that way, as far as is concerned with me owning a lighting company and being consistent, and having all our employees working at once, is as you start at the end and you finish, you can work your way back and everyone works their way back together.

So as you're wiring the lights it's putting the wire leads on it, hubbing them up, you start back filling, setting your lights and you all finish together right back at the transmitter where you then power up the lights and then you are done.

So in that sense everything's done perfectly together. You have lots of options when you are choosing lighting fixtures for remodeling an old house, and you want to make sure you find something that's sympathetic.

These are chosen from Bellacor selections.

The two you see on the porch ceiling which with their clear glass domes really are appropriate for a house built back in the 1920's with kind of an eclectic mixture of styles.

There's a little bit a Dutch Colonial here mixed in with just regular American Colonial. Gambrel in arts and crafts. In fact, some of the lighting fixtures that we'll see around the back of the house, really do reflect that arts and crafts style.

But remember, houses in the 20's, people were very happy just to have electricity, never mind all the other amenities that we have today . And that applies for the interiors too. Most of the interiors of this house had very little storage room and the closets, in fact, were quite small.

So again we've had the opportunity to embellish and expand on the whole area of closets and storage.

When I came to see the boys room There was a lot of little containers for toy storage and it felt a little bit cluttered. I asked Sarah what she would like to see incorporated in this design and she said she would like to have easy toy storage as well as a desk area.

The first suggestion I gave her with the design was one desk. She suggested two separate spaces, for sanity for the boys. I've included some pencil drawers, as well as a big drawer for art storage.

Some toy storage on bookshelves over here, with baskets for stuffed animals, balls, baseball mitts. Bookcase that boys can easily reach down low. Extra things to store up high .

And we don't, when we are in someone's house we don't always have to come up with a system. We try to use what's existing. This is a perfect instance. With the closet I suggested taking the door off. Painting inside. Sarah's using some storage space items that she had before. We're using every nook and cranny. And what we have left is nicely clean design for boys to grow and play.

Next we added a great new bunk bed from and suddenly we had lot of space for homework and chilling out.

All this online dot-com shopping spread to the master bedroom as well. So, besides having hardly any closet space, this little 1921 house basically had almost no exterior lighting and not even a place to plug in the Christmas lights.

Our electrician John Charvoni changed all that, as well as adding some great fixtures to the inside of the house, which has really undergone a big face lift.

Now in the living room itself we're going to talk about all the changes in a minute, but the light fixtures, the table lamps are all under a control that's wireless.

in an old house like this you don't want to have to run from table lamp to table lamp turning switches off all the time when it's night time.

So we learned how this one radio control can help, not only turn them on and off, but also create different moods.


The massive control unit is the heart of the Lutron Radio RAW system.

Here, we program five buttons to accommodate the homeowner's lifestyle.

Here we have the welcome scene.

And this controls the exterior light pole.

The other one is , the third one is the TV. And this button, for when they're watching TV, you don't want every light on in the house so, I have some of the lights to turn off, and some we didn't.

The brain of the Lutron Radio roster.

This is known as the RS signal repeater, which seeks out a signal not being used by wireless devices such as wireless phones or baby monitors.

It seeks out this signal to secure it, so that it's only used by the Lutron radio raw system.

The massive control box is not the only way to control all the lighting. In each room there's a wall demo switch which will allow you to turn it on or off or in between.

I especially like the dimmer features. But anyway, the house has some architectural character. It's got lots of nice dark woodwork. And the homeowners in taking back this space, now that they've got kid space downstairs, took that into account in their selections of new furniture. And of course everything's been done online.

The only things that remain in their old living room are grandmother's piano and an Indian armoir from which they have really taken the color scheme and even floral motive which they've found is the accent cushions.

Now, the other cool thing is that busy parents with young kids don't have too much much time to go to department stores and furniture stores and so this was all done online. for the furnishings and Bell rug for the beautiful oriental rug, indian rug, that we see on the floor here which really unifies the room, and wool rugs, oriental patterns, no matter what you say, they're always, they're always in keeping with especially New England houses like this.

And then of course, all the accent lighting, and all the little features that make it a warm room, but the main thing is that now we have adult space reclaimed and next we are going to look at the new kids space. And our new family room is one-hundred percent done and furnished and looks terrific.

And I thought it would be most fun to invite Sara Monsun who is our homeowner and who has been the GC on the project to give us the tour. Now Sara, let's reminisce a bit about what was here when you started?

It was a cave. That's what I liked to call it. There were two families who lived here before us. The house is 85 years old. Do the math. Everybody was doing their laundry, for years and years, in the basement, and before there were washing machines they had a pitted soap stone sink that they worked with.

Scrub -a-dub.

Yeah, and so obviously, when we moved in with all of our old stuff and stacked it all to the ceiling joists, it was not really great place to be. My husband still tired valiantly to use it as a music studio. The kids would come down here and we'd kind of let them play, but it wasn't ideal.

And it was such good space, that we were looking for the opportunity to make it into something livable.

Right. There was a lot of preliminary work that had to be done before we could get moving. Finishing the walls.

Well you decided to be your own general contractor?


Would you do that again?

No. Well actually I might out of necessity.


I mean I basically did it cause we didn't have a budget for that.


So, there was a tremendous learning curve. I actually got a lot of help from my local inpsectional services department here in Melrose. They where terrific and not condescending.

To a first time homeowner general contractor who was exploring this whole thing. You know, with only a surface knowledge of what was going on and trying to decide what had to happen when.

The proper way to do it. I can't stress enough that if a homeowner is going to do this sort of thing themselves, they explore what's safe and what's not and they get permits because if you do work without a permit and then something happens. Yeah, insured.

You're not insured, exactly.

You're stuck, your house is in jeopardy.

So let's talk about some of the basics that went on down here before we talk about all the beautiful particulars.

Yes. Well, you know this house was crisscrossed with heating ducts and the floors were concrete. It was just a rat slab down here.


We had water on the floor when it rained this past year. And it was the first time ever, but I said there is a first time for everything. It's just going to keep happening.


So, we had to have basement systems come in, and do a perimeter drain. Which was great. That was the first step.


We had to move a whole bunch of plumbing from the ceiling to make room for all this head height that we needed.

Right, because it is not exactly a deep cellar.

Right. And then we decided to move some ducts, and that turned into replacing the entire H VAC system. With a new system that's now over there in the mechanical space. Central air, which, I gotta tell you, it's a life-changing event.


And an air filter that won't quit. It's fabulous.

Well the the biggest thing down here was really one of the smallest spaces. We were able to put in a second bathroom thanks

Thanks to the technology of Saniflo.

Which uses macerating pumps to allow us to locate the bathroom and the laundry room, all away over on the other side of the basement.

And so once we got all the mechanicals in place, we called Owen' s Corning Basement Finishing Systems in. And they did an amazing amount of work in just ten days. They had walls up here, that we then did not have to finish.

Yeah. That's the thing with that kind of a system. It's instant gratification, once you put it up together, you're done. And if you need to get behind the walls?

You can pull this stuff right off, if you need to.

You can pull the mouldings off and get back there. Yeah.

We actually had to do this little bump-out because we had a plumbing stack and a water meter in here. We had, we actually have our new water heater behind that wall. We have hidden all sorts things behind here, including the old field stone foundation walls, which I didn't know how we were going to finish this.

Right, yeah.

So it's a great solution.

You even, it's a Rinnai Tankless water heaters, so that's one of the reasons it fits behind the wall.


And then you've got a whole new entertainment center.

This is just other-worldly for me, but.

Basically, what we have here, on top of the Bose system that went in last week, which is an audio controller. We have a video controller from S1. It's the S1 Digital Media Center.

And I have the ability here to go through and look at my pictures. You know, I can put, download them from my camera and stick them on here. These are demo pictures right now but, you know, I can use it as wall paper if I want to.

Yes, it's almost like a giant screensaver that you can.

Right. So we can have a family slide show here.

Right. Exactly.

So, I can also back out of this, and I can watch live TV. Or I can record TV by using the guide to search for any program that I want to record, and scheduling it to record. It takes inputs from a lot of different sources and it has a probe It will control the cable box, and change the channel every time I need it to record a program. Ok. It'll store videos. It will store all kinds of movies.

If I wanted to store my DVDs on here, I could and sort them and search for them by title. I'm just really psyched to sit down and be able to watch it finally.


We've got these great new chairs to sit on from Bellow. This is a newly developed system.

Well, this is like you'd see in any, you know, real media center, home theater kind of set up. They're very comfortable.

Yeah. And they recline. If I move this for you, you can push yourself right back.

Oh, I'd rather not. It's alright. But then, the other thing that you had to deal with was the floor. We had a slab.


That was just a kind of irregular old concrete floor.

And as we learned, you want to keep the wood off the floor in a basement.

Right, so we did not put down any kind of a plywood under lament. We went with a different system that's made out of plastic.

This is a plastic tile that interlocks, and screws down onto the concrete and has a webbing underneath that lets any water that might get up in the slab, or get spilled from a broken appliance, God forbid, it'll run away from the flooring surface and never get the carpet wet.

And eventually get to the perimeter drainage.


And then the other big thing was that you still needed more storage 'cause...


You gave up the raw basement space for storage and that's where all of these...

Well. We decided to use slide-lock cabinets throughout this basement, and they were especially great in the workshop area, where we regained some storage. And used their great wall system for hanging tools. These are really easy to install and they come in lots of different sizes.

You know, we can keep a refrigerator in here if we really wanted to, but my husband, the musician, is finding a lot of great new space for his instruments, and he's been using this as a rehearsal space. He's really going to love this.

And we love the fact that there are two and a half inches of fiberglass between him and the neighbors. He's really going to love this.

Yes, so you have a got a pretty contained you can pretty well sound attenuated space.


And even if the kids are upstairs or, you know you have company upstairs you're still in a situation where you don't have to worry about.


The noise and you provided a corner back here.

This is his little office space.

So, he'll have a space to work instead of having to be all over the dining room table, as we are now.


I like that you've, you know, picked out accents for for the space, because it's a very neutral space.

And you've picked out accents that correlate with other things you've brought in here.

Yeah, the lamp core.


Well you can choose a million different things from their website, but the lampshades have a design that kind of relates to the flooring product that you put in.

Which is not a wall-to-wall carpet .

This is.

Yeah, no, this is from Binvitech.

This is a cut piece right here, but these are tiles of carpet that stick down with a tacky backing.

And I did this myself in the night, cause you can just turn them around and make different sorts of patterns with it and they all interlock.

So you can choose which pattern you want to make and just lay them out like tiles, but you don't have to use any adhesive, which is terrific.


We've got these great Sumo bean bags as well. They're enormous and the kids love to lounge on them, or play on them. And we even found a great fish tank that is only 4 inches deep, this Aqua Vista saved us space, even on the stairwell.

So, kids aren't home from school yet?


But, you're ready for them when they get here.

I will be.

Congratulations, I think you've done a great job of your own general contractor.

Thank you, Bob.

The family room has come up...

And we're out of time and out of project here, but next week we're starting a whole new story. Creating a, an in-law suite for an elderly parent.

Till then I'm Bob Vila. Thanks for joining us.



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