Remodeling projects are one of our most requested services at Corvus Construction, and one of our recent basement remodels is helping one family generate income from their home. What started as an unfinished basement in a Beacon Hill house built in 1927 became an Airbnb money-maker. Take a look.
The BEFORE photo is what we started with after some partitions were cleared.
The AFTER photo is a look at the space ready to be furnished and posted on Airbnb as a studio rental with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. You can see it’s a dramatic remodel with lots of appeal.
If you have a basement, garage, or over-garage space you’re not utilizing in your home, converting it may be the perfect way to earn recurring income while also playing host to visitors to Seattle. Airbnb is booming and both renters and guests seem to love this hotel-alternative.
Here’s a look at the steps we took to make this unused basement space a beautiful apartment ready to rent on Airbnb. Corvus Construction was hired to convert the space into what’s called an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).
An ADU is essentially a house within a house. Because it’s a separate living space, all of the common walls and ceilings have to be constructed or upgraded to be fire-rated and sound insulated to a specific standard.
To make this happen, we had to cut new egress windows through the existing foundation of the basement to meet the fire code, install a new electrical sub-panel, add a separate heating source for the water and heating for the rental space itself.
The homeowner had plans drawn up for a bedroom, bathroom and a kitchen with a combined living area. The starting space had no infrastructure so we essentially began completely from scratch to make this an attractive living space that would be appealing to Airbnb lodgers.
Because there was an existing furnace unit, we had to set up partition walls just outside of the new ADU space so the renter would not see the appliance or even know it was there. The Corvus team coordinated all the work including plumbing, electrical, framing and finishing.
Here is a look at the space with the rough-in electrical and wall framing completed. You can see it’s a drastic difference from the open space where we started and you can begin to see how the finished ADU space will be laid out.
This is how a stylish studio apartment bathroom starts – with floor demolition! The water main for the house runs under here so we had to go into the subfloor to run lines for the bathroom and kitchen water. From here, the floor has to be put back together and made beautiful.
Above you see where more wall framing was installed and how a new egress window in a basement is born. It’s a lot of work, but well worth it when it turns into an attractive window that lets lots of sunlight into the new space so it doesn’t feel like a basement.
For insulation in the ADU, we recommended rigid foam insulation instead of traditional fiberglass because it’s more energy efficient and offers greater insulation from sound carrying between the primary living space and the Airbnb rental area.
One concern when finishing basements is that the floors aren’t always flat and perfectly level. To combat that, we installed a new “sleeper” plywood floor so that the studio apartment floor would be perfectly level and because it’s suspended off the concrete, the new floor is both warmer and drier.
Above, you see the new bathroom underway. One of the nice things about this rental space is the tub. Often, you see studio apartments equipped with just a shower so a tub is a definite upsell to many Airbnb users. This can make the difference between your property being chosen over another.
Here’s a look at the kitchen area and the entry to the bath. Even though the kitchen is small, the single wall approach allows for an eat-in area and the upscale “Maple Java” shaker style cabinets and quartz counters give it a trendy luxe look.
What makes this rental space more appealing to potential Airbnb renters is not only the tub but the hand-crafted brick-style ceramic tile surround. This is another upgrade that’s affordable but gives the space a higher quality look that can generate more interest from lodgers.
This vanity and sink (mirror not installed yet) is accessible to the main area because it’s positioned just outside the toilet and tub area. This is a common feature you see in many hotels since it allows greater accessibility when more than one guest is staying in the space.
This is the kitchen and separate entry as well as a look at the exterior entrance to the space. This is a big plus when it comes to making yourself renter-friendly on Airbnb. If your lodger can enter and exit the space without having to navigate your primary living area, you’ll attract more renter interest.
Here is a look at the final, ready-for-furnishings combined bedroom and living area. The furnace is now hidden in a wall behind the closet so that it’s accessible to the homeowner when needed yet completely out of sight of any Airbnb lodgers.
You can check out the full gallery of the ADU project below to see how it progressed from start to finish. If you have unused space you’d like to convert into a rentable area, mother-in-law or teen suite, contact Corvus Construction for a free estimate on your project.
We’re family owned, community-centric, and one of the top independent full-service general contractors in the greater Seattle area. Be sure to check us out on Yelp to read independent reviews and see how much our clients love us. Call us at 206.355.4981 and let’s talk about your remodeling project.