Home & Garden

Long, narrow basement gets multipurpose makeover

Roslyn and David are busy people with some serious hobbies. Roslyn is an A-1 cook, and David is a dedicated do-it-yourselfer who knows his way around a toolbox.

Nine years ago, David started to renovate the basement, and it’s never been the same since! This long and narrow space needs to function as David’s home office and as entertainment central. The multifunctional room was crammed full of office supplies and personal mementos, and the space was crying out for an organizational cure.

We started from the top down, tearing out David’s botched drywall job and replacing it with a gorgeous, easy-to-install suspended panel ceiling system. It snaps into place in moments and looks like a million bucks, especially when we added new recessed lighting to replace fixtures that were shorting out.

David and Roslyn wanted their basement to be functional, but they also wanted it to be for entertainment. The key to achieving this dual purpose was dividing the bowling alley-shaped room into different zones. There’s the office zone, which is hard-working and functional. Then there’s a sort of dividing line between work and pleasure, marked by a bar area that is complete with a counter, bar stools and an elegant pendant light fixture. Finally, at the far end of the room there is a comfortable and welcoming lounge area.

David had previously removed an old wood stove from the basement, and the couple wanted to have a fireplace. We installed a new gas insert that is elevated and surrounded by a beautiful hammered stone veneer. It is visible from every corner of the room and serves as the focal point of this space, drawing the eye while conveying a warm invitation to relax after a busy day.

The lack of storage was a big problem. The solution was custom built-in cabinetry, which flanks the TV and fireplace. Plenty of shelving provides room to display photos, travel souvenirs and books. Floor-length drapes cover the basement’s small windows, creating the illusion of full windows beyond. A comfortable armchair with a reading light helps the transition from lounge to office, and as we move toward the desk we find all kinds of storage solutions. Upper and lower cabinetry, filing drawers and shelving surround the spacious desk surface – and we even made room for a small bar fridge at the end of the counter. As an unexpected touch, we hung subtle paisley wallpaper around the desk area to create visual interest, while further marking the dividing line between this room’s zones.

David and Roslyn travel often, so they have a lot of luggage, which is kept in the large storage space adjacent to the basement family room. We installed an innovative sliding door to hide the storage room, with a pin-board surface. We displayed the couple’s travel photos here, but since it’s adjacent to the desk, David could also use it for work-related materials. We even enlarged scenic photos from David and Roslyn’s vacations and hung them beside the bar area to help foster that transition from work to play.

And, finally, for the flooring we selected a gray engineered wood flooring system that contrasts nicely with the ceiling and walls. It’s also durable, and will resist any basement dampness.

After a nine-year wait, David and Roslyn finally have a professionally finished basement. Storage solutions abound, and everything has its place. Our light and airy color palette makes the space seem much bigger, and with personal touches like travel photos and souvenirs, we’ve really made this space feel like home. David may still have other DIY projects on the honey-do list, but the basement isn’t one of them.

Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Candice Tells All.”