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A Family-Friendly Basement Renovation

Like most basement renovations, this family-friendly basement renovation presented a slew of challenges. But solving them was fun — in this particular project, it was part puzzle, part connect-the-dots. The biggest issue we faced was planning the program around 13 support posts that could not be moved. Hiding the posts became a challenging game. We wound up finding a way to make those posts get with the program, by incorporating  them into special features. Having to work with these posts wound up inspiring a special custom design. The final result is a fantastic space for the whole family.

a family-friendly basement renovation

Expanding the Space for the Whole Family

Our clients wanted a space to gather with friends and family. And they wanted space for their kids to play where they could keep an eye on them. The program included a large TV den, a playroom with lots of floor space, an exercise area, lots of built-in storage, a wine fridge area and a charming powder room.

Typical Basement Issues: Support Posts Can Be Awkward

Support posts in the basement are crucial to the structural integrity of the entire home and are not to be messed with. Finding ways to move them will skyrocket costs so much that in most cases, people would be better off moving. So we embraced the posts and let them guide us. 

The layout of the space and the placement of the custom built-ins were largely dictated by the locations of 13 support posts. We approached the project with an eye toward customizing the space with special touches that would suit the young family’s lifestyle. At the same time these features camouflage the posts. There are posts hidden in the playhouse structure’s design, and we designed the built-ins around them. Having to work with these posts resulted in a space with loads of charm and a custom look. 

Finished basement playroom with hardwood floors and kid's toys

Backyard Playhouse Style

One of our favorite ways we found to hide posts was with the structure of this darling playhouse space. Bringing some exterior architecture in gave the playhouse a special feel. These include roof shingles, an outdoor-style lantern and a pass-through window complete with a window box.

We used a kid-sized scale for the playhouse, including a lower-than-standard door opening. This makes it feel like a special and comfortable space just for them.

basement play house


Kid-Friendly Play Space

Inside the playhouse there’s a play kitchen. Two bean bag chairs are great for flopping down to read. And a rag rug and pompom strings on the ceiling add lots of cheerful color.

family-friendly basement playroom

Fun Custom Touches for the Whole Family

This color continues on this polka-dot wall, which enlivens the adjacent  play space. And a nice area rug gives the kiddos a soft place to play. This is also a good space for floor exercises. Besides a few custom touches, we kept the walls, doors, ceilings and trim white to keep the space bright. Recessed ceiling lighting helps too. The wood tones in the luxury vinyl tile floors anchor the space with a warmth.

Whether you need work-from-home space, online school space or room to exercise, 2020 has proven that having a flexible space like this can be invaluable.

a family-friendly basement renovation

On this side you can the second entry into the playhouse space as well as storage systems for keeping toys and books corralled. Items like bins and baskets make it easy to neaten up quickly.

The All-Ages Lounge

A family-friendly basement renovation does not mean it’s only about the kids. While the support post conundrum helped us shape some fantastic playroom spaces, it also guided us when laying out a lounge adults will enjoy. For example, we created a recess for tall wine refrigerator with adjacent shelving in order to hide more of the pesky posts with style.

basement family lounge

This TV area is great for sleepovers, family movie nights and adult beverage time.


Family-friendly basement built-ins

Exercise Alcove

Off the lounge the posts inspired us to create a custom built-in shelving system for books and favorite objects. There is space over here for some exercise equipment and floor exercises.

family-friendly basement powder rooms

The Powder Room

It’s such a luxury to have a bathroom in a finished basement. A bright blue vanity cabinet continues the cheerful color theme. Also worth noting: this vanity has a drawer beneath the cabinet doors. This is a handy feature we’ve been recommending to clients more and more lately. It’s a great spot for bathroom supplies or extra towels.

A fun assortment of the homeowners’ art collection composes a colorful mini-gallery wall.

The Staircase

The stairs that lead to the basement are often a missed design opportunity. Not the case here. We used butt boards for wainscoting that stands out thanks to a glossy paint. The dark-stained wood on the treads and railing adds lovely contrast. And a stylish lantern lights things up.

Basement Before

Now that you’ve gotten to know this basement, here’s a peek at how it looked before. It’s kind of hard to believe, isn’t it? Now our clients have a bright and beautiful space for the whole family to use. Thanks to the bright white paint, custom finishes and a thoughtful lighting plan, it’s hard to believe this space is subterranean.