We redesigned and renovated a basement to create an energy-efficient kitchen and living space (with lots of extra features).

Client Story

One of our favorite “Cafe Offices” is at the Haley House Bakery Cafe. We frequent it for meetings, design sessions, and of course for the best lunch in Roxbury. We became regular faces in the cafe and kept running into Bing Broderick, the Executive Director.

Bing knew that we were designers and builders who have a great passion for energy conscious renovations. When Bing decided to make some energy improvements to his 3 unit rowhouse in Dorchester he knew some familiar local faces who would be up to the challenge. The first thing we did was assess issues with building performance, and livability.

Making a Small Space Flow

During our thorough design process, we worked with Bing to determine that the ultimate goal was to transform the basement of the 19th-century rowhouse into a light-filled garden-level kitchen, dining and living space with a contemporary country feel. We knew we would super-insulate the space, weatherproof the floor, update the mechanical systems for the building, and improve ventilation for the basement. The space was only 650 sqft, so removing the old oil tank, boiler and the domestic hot water tank, and replacing them with a high efficiency on-demand gas water heater (that we could fit in one small closet) saved over 120 sq ft.


We started by gutting the space down to brick walls and dirt floor. From there, we insulated and poured a new finished concrete slab. We framed new interior perimeter walls 12 inches thick with cellulose, installed a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system and all new electric and plumbing. We also installed high performance windows and doors, replaced the stairs, and installed all new appliances…

Custom-Fit Details

We installed a new contemporary kitchen with custom concrete countertops and a new bathroom with a full tiled shower. We created custom shelving for CD’s and records, cookbooks, and a great collection of mugs proudly on display in the kitchen. In the end this revived garden level is a place for Bing and his partner Bob, to live their “Pleasant” lives.