Britney made her basement blossom with window boxes for her egress windows.
“My parents thought I was crazy when I said I was going to move out and into a basement apartment near my new job,” she admits. “They thought it would be dark and dank – just some smelly basement.”
But Britney lucked out – the husband and wife who rented the apartment, and lived upstairs, had recently renovated it in style; and it was ideal for Britney.
“I love to cook,” she explains. “I’ve been living vegan since I was at college, so fresh food and ingredients are really important to me. When I moved into the new apartment, the owners suggested I get a window box to grow my own herbs and since then, I’ve never looked back.”
To meet building code, Britney’s basement apartment features a window well, serving as a means of egress in the event of a fire. The egress itself is a Garden Step Window Well, which means it has a series stepped planters that Britney quickly filled with herbs and greens.
“There’s plenty of light coming from the top of the window well,” she explains, “and now I get a beautiful green view out of my window!” Even better, she can just open the window to pluck mint, thyme, lavender and the other fresh herbs she grows. “In the summer time, it smells wonderful in here.”
“Plus, because I cook using a lot of veggies and soy, having those fresh herbs to hand makes all the difference in the flavor – and it saves me a lot of money at the farmer’s market.”
And Britney realizes this is only the tip of the iceberg (lettuce.)
“I’ve read that you can get clear plastic tops for your window wells,” she says, “which turns them into greenhouses. I’m thinking next year I might try something more ambitious than just herbs, and plant some tomatoes or even get a lemon tree in here.”
One thing’s for sure – it’s certainly busted the myth that basement apartments are always dark and gloomy.
“As long as they’d got some kind of window well,” Britney admits, “I’d have no problems moving to another basement apartment. It doesn’t matter where you live – even in a basement you can have a garden right outside your window.”