So here is a view looking down the stairs from the kitchen:
On the right is the door to the basement and on the left is the door to the green room.
Here you can see the inside of the door to the green room:
Whether to make it a family room or not depended on a few things. One was whether the wall around the door frame was structural (so we would be able to knock the wall out) and the other was whether the weird little ledge around the room was part of the foundation.
First up we pulled up the wood shelf that was on top of the ledge:
It was, in fact, part of the foundation, so we were stuck with that, but we were able to take the wood shelf off and that made the ledge only a few inches deep. We can deal with that. As to the wall, we ripped it open to see if the wall was structural or not, and it turns out it wasn't, so we had both options open. A quick call to Mim, who is very good about these sorts of things, and we decided that it would be better, real-estate-wise, to have a family room there than a bedroom, since we're going to build another bedroom into the basement.
We only intended to open up that wall and the ledge and start making decisions and brainstorming, but Scott felt like he was on a roll, so he just kept going on the demolition! We also decided that we should put off buying flooring for a while and do this room instead, since it would cost much less and we could continue saving our money for a while and paying off the Home Depot card.
Scott knocked out the closet, making the room much bigger, and knocking out the wall with the door made the room seem much bigger as well, and made it flow up the stairs into the kitchen/living room. It was a very nice effect.
Here's the funny thing: as you know, our house was apparently built by half-trained monkeys. Every time we rip something open we make a bet about how many things are not to code, or just weird, or dangerous. This time, I bet 3 and Scott bet 4. But every time we pulled something out, something else was wrong, until we started keeping track of how many, just because it was funny!
Here's one, for example:
This is one place where the "electricians" cut a ton of extra Romex and instead of trimming off the extra and doing it properly, they TAPED IT TOGETHER and then just stuffed it into the wall. Scott actually got very angry about that one, because not only is it not to code, but it's downright dangerous and it could have started a fire. Lame.
Here's another one:
We found this series of holes inside the closet, and we were trying to figure out what in the world they were...and Scott figured it out and just about fell over laughing. The people who built this room apparently didn't know how to find studs, so their method was to pound in nails all along the wall until one stuck, and that meant they found the stud! Holy stupidity, Batman!
Anyway, there were so many things: things not to code, things made of the wrong materials, things that didn't make sense and several things that were just absolute WTF were they thinking things. Scott started making notches in one of the walls:
Yep. We got to 16 before we just stopped counting. When ripping it all open, and taking a look at what had been done, it became painfully obvious that the room has originally been a den and someone had turned it into a bedroom, but this someone definitely wasn't a contractor, or even a monkey. It was definitely some sort of slime mold, because WOW it was weird.
So here's part of the mess: