Family-Friendly Hangout Space
Looking at this light and bright basement with loft-like flair, it’s almost impossible to believe it’s the same space seen in the “before” photos. This project was a true metamorphosis. The family craved a bright and open space for playing games, movie nights, lounging and entertaining. They also wanted to include a bedroom and full bathroom.
We’ve seen a lot of bad “before” situations, but this one was one of the most challenging. The existing basement was, in a word, terrifying. With a growing family, our clients needed it to become a fully functioning space in their home (one that would not give them nightmares!) Thought it was hard to see, the basement had great potential.
Exposed Brick Inspires Loft-Like Flair
We worked with our clients to embrace some of what was there. One existing element we used to our advantage was the existing exposed brick throughout the space. It was a true design asset that inspired the overall style. The brick adds warmth, color, patina and interesting texture throughout the basement. Ashley McCaul was the interior designer on the project. She paired the brick with bright white walls and ceilings to make it stand out. This contrast reminded us of New York City loft or gallery style, so we all went with it!
Painting exposed pipes white and leaving them within sight fit the inspiration and allowed for higher ceilings. We wrapped structural posts in columns that match the custom millwork we added to the walls. Many buckets of white paint were emptied to brighten the space — coupled with a multitude of recessed ceiling lights, the space has an art gallery-like brightness. Wood and brick accents add texture, warmth and patina throughout the loft-like basement.
In addition to loft-like flair, the layout of the basement also has the open plan of a loft. We zoned the main open space into a media area, Foosball area, extra workspace area (so needed in 2020!) and kitchenette/bar area. With the TV lounge area nestled in on the right, there was plenty of room leftover for Foosball. It’s lucky that this basement was not fully subterranean — this meant we were able to add windows that were larger than the average basement window. We placed the work area under one of the larger windows so that it could enjoy a view of the garden. Our design also carved out separate bedroom and full bathroom spaces.
Working around 1930s plumbing, radiators, and asbestos-clad pipes was a challenge, but planning for all of these in our schedule was a big step in overcoming the unknown on this project. And we allowed these items to help us determine the layout. Also, bringing light into the basement was a challenge. Finally, we completed this project during the pandemic, so we followed our strict COVID-19 protocols to keep the family and the team safe and healthy.
Kitchenette and Bar
Another nice window adds natural light to the kitchenette and bar area while providing a pretty view. This area includes a utility sink, fridge, microwave, cabinets and countertop space. A slice of exposed brick, a wood countertop and a funky utility sink with a vintage look all suit the loft inspiration. Bright white cabinetry maintains a light and airy feeling. Wood-like luxury vinyl tile flooring and wood accents like the countertops add warmth, texture and interest.
The bathroom’s footprint was quite compact. We used a clear frameless shower enclosure, a wall-mounted toilet, white tile and a large mirror make the space feel larger.
We played off the existing exposed brick area’s dimensions, adding a slim 18-inch vanity and a mirror. The vanity has subtle wood details on the finger pulls and feet. The wood-framed mirror throws a few curves into the space. The oversized subway tile in the shower nods to the home’s vintage in an updated way.
In the bedroom, we wrapped the bottom half of the walls in drywall to lend a cozy cohesive feel. Wood ledge details provide space for reading glasses and other objects, while adding warmth to the space.
Results of the Basement Renovation
In spite of its scary original look, embracing what was there led to a unique design that we could not be more proud of. It led to a bit of an oxymoron, a basement with loft-like flair! We love a challenge like this one. The family has a beautiful and welcoming new space that was badly needed in 2020 — they can enjoy special time together down here, and it also provides individual family members with a respite to get away and get work or remote schooling done.