Project Description

This rental home was in need of quite a bit of TLC. The new owners wanted to increase the functional square footage of this ranch with an unfinished basement. They also wanted to add necessary updates to make the home attractive to renters and to correct dangerous deficiencies from previous repairs.

Palmer’s Project Goals and Challenges

  • This unfinished lower level presented an economical opportunity to dramatically increase this home’s usable square footage, but there was no way to easily access the space from the home’s interior.
  • The poor-quality workmanship of previous repairs would need to be corrected to ensure that the home was safe and that utilities, HVAC systems and more functioned as they should.
  • The exterior of this home needed a facelift to make it a more attractive option for potential renters.


  • To facilitate access to the lower level, we cut through the existing living room floor and framed in a staircase, reinforcing the adjoining structure to ensure that it was properly supported and creating an attractive banister system to make sure it was safe.
  • We were able to add another bedroom, a full bath and a laundry room in what had been unfinished basement space.
  • To increase the comfort level of future residents, existing lower level garage doors were switched to regular doors, and the entire level was sheet rocked and insulated.
  • While we were cutting through the concrete floor to install a new sewer line, we noticed that the main water line coming in from the street was about to burst after years of corrosion. We replaced it with a new line, straight to the meter box, to prevent what was certain to be a rupture.
  • New heating and air conditioning systems that were more efficient and properly sized for the increased square footage were installed. Much-needed plumbing and electrical updates were done, and smoke detectors were installed to get the home up to code.
  • As we were redoing the basement ceiling, we realized that the handyman who had previously installed a plywood ceiling had actually shot finish nails through the adjacent copper water pipe, which had been incorrectly hung. We re-routed the pipe, replaced damaged sections and hung it correctly; then we redid the ceiling properly.
  • The entire interior of the home – upstairs and downstairs – was painted to give the space a fresh and clean look.
  • Exterior repairs also were completed. Improperly installed flashing was replaced. Finally, new windows and a front refinished door made the home far more energy efficient – not to mention more charming.