It turns out that the walls I wanted to take down in the basement happened to be load bearing. So we hired a friend to help us out.
Here's how our basement looked prior to demo.
It's dark and gloomy with dated flooring, fixtures, popcorn ceilings, and paint. The basement is also divided into three rooms, two of which (doorways to the left of the photo) served no purpose given there's no windows. And our storage room is adequate that we didn't need additional storage space. So the plan was to open it up and make the basement an open concept space for the kids to enjoy and a space that would grow with them. Think ping pong table or pool table.
Here's that angle again, with the far wall to the left being completely gone.
Having that far wall come down changes the space dramatically.
See, no windows in there. The space already feels less gloomy. And cheers to no more slamming doors as the kids run between the different rooms.
So the large steel beam you can see in the photos took the place of the load bearing wall. For awhile we hesitated if we should open up the rooms because structural work can be daunting and costly, but once you see it like this it's so worth it.
Here's the basement before from the other angle.
Instead of completely removing that wall by the built-ins we decided to simply widen the doorway to 6 feet which required a much smaller wooden beam.
This room will be where crafts, coloring, sewing and homework projects take place. We'll be putting in a hard floor and a pendant light over the work space. We thought a partition to the large room would be helpful in creating a work zone and containing art supplies. Plus, that wall to the left of the stairs is load bearing so we'll keep that in tact, while the wall to the right of the stairs we'll open up and put a railing and spindles.
And again, it's a huge difference. Having access to some natural light is much nicer than a closed off room with fluorescent lighting.
So "beam day" was a big success. The handyman and I have a bit more demo to go, you can see above there's some remaining carpet and drywall that we'll remove. Then, we will work on electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. I'm excited to bring updated lighting to the space, so it's a good thing I married an electrician.