From video to hammer and nails
I thought you might enjoy a brief writeup of how the Basement Ideas book and CD project came about. Believe it or not, my prior experience was in video, not construction or finishing basements. Construction for me has been purely a "seat of the pants" and "hard won experience" affair. I initially had no formal training or education in the subject, but am fortunately blessed by being able to quickly pick up new skills quite rapidly.
I had been working for several years at a TV station, followed by a stint at a post production company (working on TV or movies after the initial filming is completed), then at a commercial video duplication business where I ran the night shift.
Marriage and a baby makes me Mr. Mom
In 1990 I married a wonderful woman who just happened to be a doctor — one of those people who are always on-call. Seeing as she already had a fulltime job, when a baby came around we decided I'd do the "Mr. Mom" thing for a while. My respect for motherhood went up by several notches, and after about 6 months I was going slightly stir crazy.
Construction was my second love career-wise, even though I didn't know much about it. So with lots of intelligent foresight I jumped right in and started "Dave's Dwellings." You'd be surprised at the number of people who thought "Dwellings" was my last name. In February of 1992 I started by building my own home, then completed various remodeling projects for others, then several room additions in the town I grew up in.
In 1995 I completed my first basement. I really enjoyed it as I liked doing the design and it was similar to new construction. Best of all — I didn't have to fight mud or the unpredictabilities of weather and temperature.
Creating a niche
A short time later a lady who I was doing an estimate for said that I should write a book on finishing basements as there weren't any books or other materials out there on it. This struck me as a great idea so I decided to check it out. At the time I only found 3 publications that had anything to do with basements.
So, I began to write. The first version of "Basement Ideas:Exploring the Underground Frontier" was printed on my color laser printer and bound with report covers from Office Max. I sold it on my then website of DavesDwellings.com just as things were beginning to heat up with the internet.
I had some successes with this and then created a CD version. I also started selling 3D Home Architect — the older version of the design software we sell now, Better Homes & Gardens Home Designer.
BasementIdeas.com the website is born
By 2001, basements were the only construction projects I was doing, and I made sure to document them by taking photos of the various projects for my portfolio. In February, 2001 I launched BasementIdeas.com. I reworked the Basement Ideas book by doubling the number of pages and giving it a fresh new look. I stopped selling the CD, dropped the DavesDwelling.com website and created a second website.
BasementSpaces.com was completed the following year to promote the construction business when I changed the company's name to Basement Spaces, Inc. I hired a graphic designer to create a whole new image for the company, including a logo, the new site and a revision of the "Basement Ideas" book.
BasementIdeas.com was designed to sell the book, and BasementSpaces.com promoted the actual basement construction services I offered. Then things really started to take off.
Becoming a recognized expert
Soon thereafter things really started to happen. In 2003 I was interviewed on both CNN/FNN and CBS TV in Chicago as a local construction expert. The interviews went very well and I received a lot of recognition. Video clips of these interviews will be available to view at the bottom of the page shortly.
Since then, I've been quoted in "Money" magazine, had a really wonderful article written about me in "Extreme How-to" magazine, and was featured in a great article the Chicago Tribune.
I was invited to write the forward to "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Finishing Your Basement" and had many of our basement photos featured in the book.
More recently I supplied 30 photos to a publication produced by the Taunton Press.
Basement finishing jobs have accumulated to over 230 since 1995.
The "Basement Ideas" book is now in its third revision and our new CD and "Basement Explorer" program will give you great ideas as to what can be done with your underground space.
As you weigh the pros and cons of various basement finishing decisions in your mind know this; "There are no set rules. There are no basement police. Let the uninspired have their four walls and ceiling. The more thought and energy you put into designing a great space, the more enjoyable it will be for years to come."
I plan to continue creating products that will aid in basement design and finishing as I have fun and enjoy it. I hope they help you.
Please enjoy the site and feel free to contact me if I can be of service.
Basement Spaces, Inc.