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Basement bedroom layout access dilemma

December 5, 2018

We are planning to add walls to our basement and create a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom space. However, I can't figure out a good way to make it 3 bedrooms without one of the bedrooms being a "walk through" room or extremely small, both of which I want to avoid. The wall exactly in the center is load bearing in a 1950 ranch home. I will include a (rough!) sketch of what the space is like now and what we are trying to achieve. Any ideas would be appreciated! :)

Comments (16)

  • MacKenzie
    I was having a lot of technical difficulties and finally downloaded the app! Much better ;)

    That is the other issue- it's probably hard to tell from my bad sketch, but the space as is has a shower and washer dryer already. It is right by the water line. Soooo, *if* it is possible, I would like to keep the bathroom where it is and avoid the expense of moving all the plumbing. Maybe it isn't ?
  • curlycook
    You just need to create a hallway with doors accessing the two bedrooms. The large bedroom will lose space for the hall, but it would create a nice space for the closet.
  • MacKenzie
    There are windows in all the bedroom spaces. Just working on the layout :)

    So with the hall, we would make a chunk of the big bedroom 7 x 7 or so?
  • Cheryl Smith

    You need egress windows in all bedrooms to actually be called bedrooms. Contact your city to get their current code. For fire safety a fireman needs to be able to access the bedrooms in full gear, it's not just a way out. Our old house basically had the same layout. I'll try drawing up what we did. We had a kitchen by the stairs, 2 bedrooms, bath/laundry and living area. We added the egress windows by cutting the windows that were already there lower. my husband did all the work. The jog in the living room area is the closet for that bedroom. I know these rooms aren't everyone's taste but the all wood bedroom was the only room done in the basement along with the center load bearing wall. That wood was from a local lumber mill and Original to the house. We live in Montana and are collectors. The house was built in 1959.

  • MacKenzie
    I understand the egress window requirements, thanks for the concern. Thanks for the visual! it's very helpful to see that someone has done something similar :)
  • Bruce in Northern Virginia

    So, does that mean that you plan to pull a permit, and that each bedroom will have an egress window that meets code requirements? Its a key safety requirement for basement bedrooms, and I don't think any AJH will allow an exception just because its an existing home.

    Its your house and your decision, but I've never seen a 1950s basement that already had three egress windows. However, anything is possible.


  • MacKenzie
    We are in the planning stages of an extensive basement renovation, we are working with a reputable contractor who is currently completing the main floor renovation. We know what the codes are and have already received multiple quotes for egress windows. There will be egress windows. I didn't ask for help with egress windows, something that we are already on top of and aware of. I asked for ideas for the layout
  • MacKenzie
    I am not trying to sound curt- I totally understand that they are an important safety feature. I would not put my kids in a space without them. But first, *before* we cut egress windows (and our basement has 6 non egress windows, so there is opportunity for egress in almost any bedroom configuration), I have to decide where to actually put the bedrooms
  • Cheryl Smith
    This is a rough drawing of our old house basement. The left back bedroom was already in place along with the central furnace and toilet but it was open to the rest of the space. We had the same problem of dealing with making decent size bedrooms and decided that a jog was the only way to deal with what we had to work with, without moving the furnace. I only mentioned egress because of the age of your house and you just said you had windows. We had the original basement windows just cut down and didn't change their location. We also left the smaller basement windows where the were. It doesn't really feel like a basement at all. Our egress windows are on the south side of the house. We made a common planting garden with landscape timbers incorporating steps instead of using window wells. I wanted to look at something nicer.
  • Cheryl Smith

    egress and view from inside we dug the area deep and just dropped the cement cutout from the windows into that space covered with rock

  • MacKenzie
    Wow, your basement (including all the window spots) looks identical to ours! Are the dimensions similar? (ours is 21 x 36). Is the furnace in the open spot near the stairs?
  • Cheryl Smith

    Not really sure of the dimensions. I know it was 936sf each level. We sold the house a year ago and moved to a 1 level house in a smaller town. Tired of the rat race. We are retired. My husband lived in the house for 34 years and did most everything himself After we got married in 1993. the furnace and water heater are accessible from the bathroom.

  • Cheryl Smith
    The furnace and water heater are right behind the map in the second picture.
  • Lyndee Lee
    Take a hallway from the bathroom toward the other two spaces which would leavd the large room with a 10 foot x 10 foot area and a smaller area that would be about 7 x 8 or so. As mentioned above, that would be a great space for a big closet or you could use that space for a nook for the bed. I could see a built in bunk with a bookcase headboard and lots of floor space in the main area of the room.

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