This unfinished utility room in the "basement" (technically the crawl space, since it's above ground) has been used messily for storage since we moved in. Now it's time to begin converting it to an office for me, complete with daylight and a garden view.
The previous owners were using the space for a dark room, so the windows are boarded up and rudimentary plumbing affixed to the one plywood wall (the other two are drywalled, the fourth is mostly the pocket door by which the space is accessed). There are two windows behind the plywood, and a third behind the drywall behind the little wall cabinet.
Once I'd emptied out the room, I found evidence of some minor water damage -- a crumbling bit of concrete and stains on the plywood. The windows don't fit the holes properly (and they don't open) so replacing them will be step one. I assume the water that's gotten in has come in through the gaps around the windows, but we'll be taking out all of this plywood to get a good look at the situation before we begin work on the room.
At the end of my first clean-up day, Bob helped me uncover the one window that could be uncovered without dealing with the pipes or the cabinet/drywall. So this is our first look at the room with daylight. What a difference. Now to find a contractor to tackle the structural stuff.
It turns out the water problem stems from the deck being improperly installed, so the first step is resolving that issue and getting the space to be watertight.
So the next steps will be to replace the windows with double-pane, safety-glass something or others -- need to do some window shopping. Drywall the demo'd wall and frame out the windows. And now that I've seen a portion of the ceiling opened up, I talked it over with Brian and we've decided to go ahead and open it all up rather than drywalling it in. So the ceiling will actually be the underside of the subfloor and the floor joists, like beams. Whether that gets painted or what I don't want to decide until I've seen it all exposed, but I think it'll give the space some character and a much greater sense of headroom. Then there's also the question of what to do with the pocket-door wall -- replace it with a better assembly or do something more creative. I'm mulling it over.