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basement dig-down Seattle - custom Basement remodel Seattle

basement dig-down & remodel


A growing household needed separate and private space for an older family member. The best solution was to dig down in an existing undeveloped basement to create a suite of rooms with a separate entrance and easy access to the rest of the house, while keeping finishes utilitarian. All that digging came with some unique challenges. Completed 2013.

Architect: Kennan-Meyer Architects

project features


  • Digging out basement for added space and head height
  • Creation of a basement master suite
  • Design with considerations for older resident with limited sight

project photos


Click on the thumbnails to read the story of this basement remodel.
The original concrete stairs to the basement wound precipitously down from the garage. The concrete slab was uneven and ceilings low, with open cinderblock foundations walls visibly leaking moisture. On excavation it became clear few of the foundation walls even had footings, so that was added to the scope of work along with digging down. A large part of the basement required excavation for the new bathroom, and that area had no footings and block walls as well, so retrofitting occurred there also. A new stairwell was created on the exterior of the home to provide private access and egress from the basement bedroom. Dozens of yards of concrete were poured to create a new interior stairwell, a new, lower slab with insulation and a barrier in front of the leaking wall. The finished space is comfortable, warm and functional, with a main living room/bedroom that includes a nook for a computer. The door to the exterior stairwell has integrated blinds for privacy, makes ventilation easy, and brings light into the room. The resident of the new space, who has limited sight, stained the concrete stairs so that the leading edge of the treads are clearly visible. Added lighting in that stairwell ensures that they are safe for her to navigate. A bathroom off the main room includes an easy-to-clean acrylic tub and contemporary vanity, with bright Marmoleum flooring. The finished space has many closets for storage and a bonus room that is used for craft work. The owners also took the opportunity of the remodel to revision the entry to their home with a composite deck that mimics the look of Ipe, and re-pour the concrete entry path. This improvement also makes for a nice space to enjoy the front garden. The remodeled basement is a comfortable and ample space for the retired family member--a suite away from the rest of the family but still close enough to join in and cook when desired. It makes it possible for each generation of the family to live comfortably under the same roof and still have an easy getaway.


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