The Pop Top - The Final Product

Final Product

Because the furnace and water heater were in the center of the room in the basement, and because the stairs would be moved to the center of the west wall, we had to gut most of the lower level. However, we kept the basement bathroom as-is. It had been flipped just before we bought the house, and with the exception of Moroccan floor tile, had simple white finishes everywhere. We closed off that room during construction and the only revision we made was switching out the Moroccan tile for a simple slate. 
We created an office beside the bathroom, a living room with the wet bar, a guest bedroom, a play area, and storage space in the back addition where we put our old fridge, wine racks, and storage shelves for all of our crap:) We also kept the decorative fireplace and brick surround but removed the ugly tile surround and finished it with a wood mantel that matched the wood topper on our stair railings. Finally, to bring more light into the living space, we dug egress windows in the living area as well as in the office, so that it could be used as a sixth bedroom if we ever needed it. 
After counters, the appliances were installed, final plumbing and electrical were completed, a desk nook with shelving was created outside my bedroom, the stair and back porch railings were completed, backsplash was installed, carpet in the basement and the girls’ rooms was laid, mailbox was hung, and the final HVAC was completed. There were still final inspections to complete, but at that point, we’d extended our rental three months beyond the original move-out date and I was done.
I scheduled our move-in on February 15th reasoning that even if things weren’t completed, we didn’t need a C/O to move back in. There were still punch list items to tackle, frameless mirrors to hang and shower glass to install, but those things were easy to live through. All in all, the project took about 15 months to complete. Was it worth it?
It took a long time, cost a lot of money, and required a million decisions. I understand what a luxury this experience has been for our family, and that complaining feels tone-deaf. I know most people will never be able to take on a project like this, even if they wanted to, so in that sense, I feel extremely lucky. Now that I’m back in the house, sitting at my big kitchen island, I’m going to say it WAS worth it.

By the Numbers

  • Months to Complete: 15

  • Months we waited for the primary bathroom tile: 4

  • Times we called Xcel: Too many to count

  • Hours billed by our Designer: 197

  • Money Spent before Construction Started: $29,000 (architect’s plans, designer meetings, testing, gas demo and permits)

  • Hardware Budget: $4,800

  • Decorative Lighting Budget: $5,000

  • Window + Sliding Glass Door Budget: $28,000

  • Appliance Budget: $19,700 (panel ready refrigerator, 36” range, dishwasher, beverage fridge, microwave + hood)

  • Countertop Budget: $10,200

  • Custom Closets Budget: $4,100

  • Percent over Original Budget: 18%

  • Tabs in my Pop Top google spreadsheet: 19

  • Grey hairs grown (Caitlin only Sam’s hair is still perfect): Again, too many to count

Favorite Finishes


We Couldn’t Have Done This Without

Our Pop Top Team

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