An unfinished basement offers a world of opportunities in a home, ranging in cost and in value add. With so many homes featuring both a formal sitting area and a larger great room with a casual living room off of the kitchen, a lower-level family room, in the traditional sense, becomes a bit redundant. As is often the case in many homes, the basement in my best friend’s house sat unfinished for a number of years, but certainly not unused – similar to our own home, those cement floors make a pretty perfect mini sticks arena!
However, they were keen to finish the space, and over the last year, she and her husband worked away at creating a series of zones in the basement that would cater to the changing needs of their family. They knew that they would eventually like to convert the “arena” to a cozy, yet stylish space where they could watch movies as a family or entertain friends, but the kids weren’t ready to give up the large, open space where they played hockey each night (and truth be told, neither were their parents). They also wanted a room where the kids could play with their enviable Lego collection without having to clean it up each night, and ideally, they had hoped to add a bedroom and bathroom, providing a separate living space for guests.
Once they had formalized their wish list for the space, the plans became clear and they were able to begin framing the walls. They decided to leave two spaces unfinished, allowing for storage and laundry, with a large room that would continue to serve as a wide-open play area for the kids, but would eventually be converted to a family room. Knowing the end goal for the room, they built a bar and fireplace into their plans. The basement would also feature a three piece bath and separate space that would serve as a Lego room in the immediate future, but could easily be converted to a guest room.
After putting a gorgeous coat of Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray on the walls (with a couple of accents in Stonington and Smokestack thrown in for good measure), they were ready to move on to the floors. Being the owner of a hardwood flooring company, this was the easy part! That said, hardwood is not the best option for a basement so they went with a gorgeous laminate that came with the added bonus of durability (necessary when you consider the amount of hockey sticks smashing into the floor)!
With the walls and floors complete, they were ready to move on to the really fun part – designing the bar! They both had some great ideas for the space and once combined, the result was perfect! The bar top is a white quartz, which continues down the side for a waterfall effect, with a feature wall and gorgeous custom panels on the front of the bar that perfectly complement the floors and give the space a really cozy feel.
Behind the bar, a sink and bar fridge, along with some cabinets for storage add valuable functionality to the basement. The ledge along the back wall provides the opportunity to display either glassware or bottles, with the mirror giving the illusion of more space.
The tile used in the bar was then carried into the bathroom, with a gorgeous walk-in shower.
And remember that Lego collection? Well now these kids have a room where they can build and imagine to their heart’s content and if/when needed, their parents can close the door!
To finish off the main area, they added a wall mounted fireplace with a stone surround and beautiful reclaimed wood mantle.
Every decision made when designing this space factored in the current needs of the family, as well as the future potential uses. As the kids get older (and too tall for mini sticks), they will be able to easily convert this into a more traditional family room, and potentially, can add another bedroom to their home. But for now, the kids are continuing to enjoy a wide open space to play, while mom and dad can sit back and pour themselves a drink.