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Beach-inspired theme transforms ’70s basement decor

By Candice Olson
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Sandy and Sean’s spacious suburban home has it all – pool, hot tub, cabana and an absolutely massive basement perfect for entertaining the whole neighborhood. The ingredients were all there; all we had to do was reveal the true potential of Sandy and Sean’s 1970s basement.

This was one of the biggest projects we had ever tackled, but I knew that in the end it would be spectacular.

As with most basement makeovers, everyone in the household had a request. Sean wanted an entertainment area with a big-screen TV and a game table for poker night. Sandy envisioned a bar area that would allow for effortless entertaining, and a home office space where she could get down to business. The kids were looking for a comfortable place to hang out. Above all, this cavernous space had to be conducive to quality family time.

Beachy color scheme

With three patio doors leading out the pool area, I wanted to connect this basement with the gorgeous backyard outside. I was inspired by a warm, beachy color palette that included natural tones accented by touches of soft blue, sand and creamy white.

The first step when tackling a room this big is to divide your space into workable, distinct zones. You’ve heard me say it before, but this is a really critical step that will inject warmth and functionality into cold, cavernous spaces.

In Sandy and Sean’s basement, I designed five separate zones that flow seamlessly into one another.

Bar area

First, a modern wet bar – complete with two fridges, lots of cabinetry and shelving – is set off by tile made from digitally printed photos transferred onto the tile surface. This amazing technology produces real-life reproductions, and in this case we selected a shabby-chic pattern inspired by shipping crates. Three bar stools in ivory leather with nail-head trim are parked in front of the bar, and just off to the side is a table that stands ready for Sean’s poker buddies.

Television lounge

Next, we move into the TV lounge, where a huge, 8-by-10-foot leather sectional, again finished in nail-head trim, faces a big-screen wall-mounted TV. A media console underneath holds other equipment, and a couple of cowhide benches are tucked under the console, ready to be pulled out to provide seating for large groups.

Conversation nook

Between the TV area and the center patio doors is an intimate conversation nook, furnished with two pale linen loveseats. A gorgeous three-tiered lighting fixture is the focal point here, instantly delivering a touch of romance and intimacy.

Beside the room’s third patio door, we installed a gas fireplace with a porcelain tile surround. Three custom-made round arm chairs envelop you as you sit down in front of the fire to read or share a glass of wine.

Home office

And just off to the side is Sandy’s home office – a clean and functional space incorporating loads of storage and a view of the pool. An added bonus: One of the office bookcases conveniently hides the ultimate design buster – a 5-inch-wide support post that we uncovered during the demolition.

This was a monster project that transformed a massive, cold and outdated space into a warm and welcoming beach-inspired retreat. Perfect for entertaining and equally suited for quiet family evenings at home, this basement delivers the goods when it comes to modern family comforts.

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