Though television producer Rosie Rockel was a first-time homeowner when she renovated her South London apartment, she was able to approach the project with some useful background experience. Rosie’s entertainment industry job has her working on the show Grand Designs, a British home improvement series that highlights impressive, elaborate architecture. Perhaps that’s why she was so confident in her ability to design the kitchen remodel on her own. “I had a very clear picture of exactly what I wanted it to look like,” Rosie says.
The main aims were to bring light into this room of her flat, which is situated in the semisubterranean basement of a massive Victorian mansion, and connect it with the private garden. To achieve this, Rosie submitted multiple rounds of inventive blueprints to the local planning authority, but strict conservation laws only permitted her to construct a standard, conservatory-like extension with a glass roof. Though this building style was not her first choice, it actually allowed her to accomplish both her goals. Sunshine flows in amply, illuminating the once-dingy area and offering an ideal environment to grow Rosie’s bevy of potted plants. The indoor and outdoor foliage live together harmoniously, fusing the spaces to create a lush, verdant haven in the middle of a buzzing neighborhood.
Location: Though the address is technically on the bustling Brixton Road, the house is set back as a refuge from the action. “When you come off the street, which is really busy and hectic and polluted, and there’s this very quiet, high-walled, green garden out the back, it really does feel like a little oasis,” Rosie says.
The before: Prior to the renovation, the kitchen and living room were combined in a cramped, gloomy box. With just a single barred window, the area was so dark that Rosie needed to keep all the lights on during the day. The finishes were also rather cheap.
The inspiration: “The building itself is Victorian, but because it’s a basement flat, there are no original features—no cornicing, no historical fireplaces. If I had had those things, I probably would’ve gone for a more classical look, but I thought it would be quite nice to go for something that had echoes of modernism. I wanted it to have a slight midcentury feel, but also be quite contemporary.”
Square footage: 4 square meters (approximately 43 square feet)
Budget: £70,000 (approximately $89,700)
Cabinetry: Pluck Custom Birch Plywood Cabinets with Ruskin Blossom Laminate and London Plane Veneer Fronts and Pill-Shaped Recessed
Basements, sadly, are subject to a number of negative stereotypes ie they are dark, dreary, damp and humid. Well, you can take care of the dark, dreariness with a few well thought out design flourishes, but the damp and humid part is a little more challenging. Waterproofing is imperative if you are going to use your basement as any type of occupied space.
The process of waterproofing involves a combination of sealing and finding drainage solutions. If you start too late, you will also have to include water damage restoration in this process. When properly protected from water, your basement can function just like any other part of your house.
Understanding Water Leakage
The first step towards any recovery is admitting you have a problem, and a water leakage problem is no different. Usually leakage is caused by a number of different factors. As your home ages, your basement begins to settle and form tiny cracks and fissures in the walls and floors. These tiny openings can let water into the space. Basement walls and floors are made out of concrete, which is a porous material. Also, most basements are built below the water table so the ground water causes hydrostatic pressure, which pushes on the basement walls and can soak through the pores and cracks in the concrete. Other leakage may also occur at the footers where the walls and floors meet. This is usually because the hydrostatic pressure is pushing on the basement walls with more force than it is pushing on the floors. This causes the walls to start cracking slightly at the footer, and it allows water in to the basement.
Devising a Plan
In order to devise a game plan for fixing your leaky basement, it is helpful to understand the basics of water seepage. Cracks in the floors, walls, and joints must be sealed as soon as they are visible. You can also seal the entire interior of your basement (walls and floors) to prevent water from being wicked to the inside space. Slightly more drastic measures can also be taken. You can install French drains, sump pumps, and drainage systems that are on the exterior, interior, or below the slab. All of these systems help reduce the hydrostatic pressure on the basement walls, which cause the majority of basement leakage.
Call in a Basement Waterproofing Contractor
When it comes to waterproofing your basement, you are better off letting the pros handle the job. You might be tempted to tackle the project yourself, but note that fewer then 20% of homeowners are successful at waterproofing their own basements. With odds like these, it is wise to call in a professional basement waterproofing contractor. This professional will have the skills necessary to identify the source of the seepage, and determine the best way for addressing the problem. Hiring a professional before trying it yourself will end up saving you time and money in the long run. A dry basement is a pleasant basement, so save …