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& 3D drawings


Project Location:
Architectural Design: 
Interior Designer:
Project Coordinator:
Field Manager:
Age Of Structure:
Square Footage Of Project: 
Starting Date:
Completion Date: 

Dan & Jennifer Hecht
Larchmont, Westchester, NY
Sylvain Côté, Absolute Green Homes, Inc
Robert Eckenrode, R.T. Eckenrode Design
Sylvain Côté
Sylvain Côté
Sylvain Côté
July 2010
May 2011


Client's Comments:

"My neighbors are getting ready to finish their basement. The husband didn't want his wife to see your work because he has something more modest in mind and didn't want her to get any ideas.

Everyone was amazed by the natural light (especially because, as you know, there really are no exposed exterior walls). They could not believe how bright it is.

Our guests loved the "stair step" windows, which you suggested.

They admired the finish and detail work and appreciated that it matched the rest of the house. Several people said it looked like the basement had "always been there," which, as you know, is exactly what we were trying to achieve.

Everyone loved the interior staircase and how it flows from the main level. We heard, "It feels like just another floor of the house." Again, that is exactly what we were trying to achieve. It was your idea to open up the stairs, and we love the result.

Several visitors commented on the wood floors. "You can do that in a basement?" As you educated us, the answer is yes.

"Where did you get the cabinets and bookcases?" Amazement at the answer that they were hand built on site.

"Where is the boiler and hot water heater?" Amazement when we open the small closet to reveal the wall hung combination unit that you suggested.

And, perhaps best of all with Memorial Day's 90 degree heat, without any A/C it is the coolest room in the house. It never got above 68 degrees.

No one mentioned the air quality, but that is a complement itself. It is equal to or better than the rest of the house, so it does not call attention to itself (except by comparison to the poor quality and humidity before the renovation, but we never used to let guests down there). Jen and I certainly appreciate the cool, dry and clean air. - Dan, 05.31.11

"I had a poker game downstairs last weekend. Everyone was blown away by the lower level. Apparently it is now the preferred location for our game."   - Dan, 07.29.11


Project Description:

A complete rebuild, including extensive mechanicals replacement.  First, the entire concrete floor slab was jack hammered and discarded. To increase headroom 60 cubic yards of dirt were dug up by hand. Together, roughly 80 yards of concrete and dirt were hauled away in four dumpsters. Concrete foundations repairs became part of the scope of work since footings were barely existed.  Six load-bearing steel posts were replaced over newly poured concrete footings.

A new, much smaller, wall-hung, ultra efficient, condensing, natural gas boiler was installed in lieu of the old boiler. The same tiny, super quiet unit takes care of the domestic hot water as well.  All of the underground plumbing waste lines were replaced. All overhead waste lines, water lines and gas lines were also replaced and/or relocated.  A radiant floor heating system was installed prior to pouring the new insulated concrete slab.

Other mechanical work included replacement and relocation of all of the electric cables and wires, phone lines, cable lines and alarm system wiring.

The scope of work also called for removing the condemned outside exit and replace it with a new French door and three step windows, all four ganged up together in a new location , providing much needed natural light to any basement and a full access to the backyard. In addition, several windows were added. All that glass brought "the outside inside" and made everything much brighter. It also made the backyard so much more inviting.

Finally, new custom stairs and a railing were built and the entire stairwell was opened up. That required the removal of the formal door and wall, which provided another new connection, this time with the upstairs.

This "basement" now features more than an additional 1000 square feet of some of the most valuable, quality living space of the entire home, complete with surround sound through-out, a home theatre area, a kitchenette, and finally a half-bath. There's also a work out area equipped with an additional TV. Finally there's also a [future] wine closet, and three other storage, double-doors closets, one small mechanical closet and another one for the utilities.

I think it is safe to say that this new addition to the home quickly became the family preferred space to spend time together. All that for just a fraction of what it would have cost building a 1000 SF addition. Add to that the fact that heating and cooling a properly designed and built basement also costs a fraction compared to an addition. And finally, a third reason for reclaiming your basement is that the property taxes on a finished basement are less expensive (literally - you are welcome to check with your local building department). That is correct, each square foot of your basement is assessed at half the price of the upstairs area. Or, of an addition for that matter.

Now, why would you leave all that unused space going to waste and build out or up instead?


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