"Moving in Mother-in-Law"


Before: 2 bed, 1 bath bungalow
After: 3 bed, 2 bath bungalow w/ basement suite and remodeled first floor kitchen

Do you have aging parents who can no longer live on their own? Is your teenager growing out of their childhood bedroom? Finish your basement to accommodate an in-law suite or create additional space for family activities and entertainment. The footprint is there and can easily be finished for a bonus living space without the hassles of an addition. If well designed, basements can add to the value of your property. Also included in this design scheme is the option to open up your kitchen into the rear porch to provide modern kitchen amenities and incorporate an eat-in kitchen for your family.

Existing bungalow footprint and spatial use to remain unaltered.

View details of the existing bungalow

          Exterior Alterations 

  • Repair or rebuild the rear porch and convert it to a heated space

  • Add window wells and egress windows to basement bedroom and multipurpose room 


System Upgrades​

Incorporate space for mechanical equipment, utility spaces and storage


  • Add cast iron baseboard radiators in the basement to create a second “zone” from the existing boiler system

  • Radiant (hot water) in-floor heating is the most efficient method for heating and can be cast into slab or installed over existing slab​


  • If water service main was not replaced, the added wet bar and bathroom will most likely require a new larger main

  • Possible increase, see System Upgrades Design


          Interior Alterations


  • Finish to accommodate an in-law suite or additional family living space:

    • 1 bedroom

    • 1 full bathroom

    • Wet bar

    • Multipurpose room

First floor

  • Remodel kitchen:

    • Open up to rear porch to create bigger, more integrated space

    • Convert walk-in pantry into eat-in kitchen with seating area

    • Add counter space by moving stair access to attic

    • New cabinets, appliances and modern amenities

  • Repair or rebuild rear porch and convert it to a heated space for larger, more integrated kitchen space

New staircase to second floor (for future build-out)​​

  • Change access from kitchen to dining room

  • Widen stairs to meet Chicago Building Code requirements

Second floor

  • Attic to remain unfinished

Interior Plans

Interior 3D Renderings

Project Considerations​

Basement Water Issues

  • Consider installing an overhead sewer system with sewage ejector pump

  • To increase durability and help prevent mold growth, consider non-organic materials and finishes:

    • Walls: avoid paper faced or other products with organic materials to prevent mold

    • Floors: use vapor barrier under floor finishes for moisture to dissipate. Ceramic tile or stone is most durable.

    • Less expensive floor options:

      • Carpet tile

      • Vinyl sheet, tile or plank

      • Linoleum sheet or tile

Meet the following Chicago Building Code requirements:

  • Ceiling Heights: 7’ height for at least 50% of living space; areas with ceiling height less than 6’
    shall be no more than 25% of living space

    • Digging out for additional height is an expensive option ($10-20k)

  • Walls: R-19 cavity insulation at the interior of the basement wall

  • R-3 insulation required at hot water pipes and mechanical piping for fluids greater than 105˚F and less than 55˚F

  • Windows: above grade, glazing 8% of floor area, natural ventilation 4% of floor area

  • Floor drain for mechanical equipment

  • Minimum bedroom size: 70ft²

  • Half-hour fire rating at floor/ceiling

  • Wired smoke/carbon monoxide detector at minimum one per floor and within 15' of all sleeping rooms


          Project Cost Estimate​

Finished Basement

Total Square Footage: 1000ft² / Cost per Square Foot: $45


$45k: Base cost + 

$8k: Full bathroom +

$9k: Wet bar +

Note: A wet bar type arrangement with a sink is permitted in a basement but buildings with “multiple cooking facilities are deemed to contain multiple dwelling units” and is not permitted by the Zoning Ordinance for single family homes.  


Rear Porch

Repair or rebuild rear porch and convert it to heated space 



Remodel kitchen to provide modern amenities, eat-in kitchen, and open it up to rear porch



New staircase to second floor 


Digging Out w/ New Concrete Slab

Dig down to 2-3 inches for additional ceiling height and replacement of existing concrete floor slab 

Note: Digging out for additional ceiling height is an expensive option. Budget of $10k - $20k for dig out and new slab does not include cost for the following, which depends on depth: column replacement, foundation footing underpinning, and potential water/sewer line replacement



Possible increase in plumbing service w/ new, larger water main



Add cast iron baseboard radiators in the basement to create a second “zone” from the existing boiler system


$7k: Existing boiler upgrade + 

$4k: 5 radiators



Possible increase in electrical service


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