Basement Design

Last week, our basement flooded. I went downstairs for a workout and at the bottom of the stairs I was greeted by 4” of standing water. I suspected a burst pipe and donned some rubber boots to go turn off the water main, but it ultimately turned out to be a failed sump pump as the ground water kept seeping in. Thank goodness it wasn’t sewage. Thank goodness we had insurance coverage. Once we got all cleaned up and connected with a contractor, I got to work quickly picking finishes and envisioning how to put the basement back together.

We are fortunate to have a finished basement including a full bath, craft room, guest bedroom, living area and a large utility space with floor-to-ceiling shelves and a cedar closet. It’s a nice, big space, but some of the details were dated. It was carpeted, which tends to hold humidity in the summer, and there was an older drop ceiling in the main living area that was starting to show its age. The cleanup crew told us we would need to do a ‘“flood cut” on our drywall, which is cutting the bottom two feet up from the floor, so we’ve decided to also ditch the wainscoting and chair rail that was in the living area and just have drywall.

I put together a design board with the new colors, finishes and overall vibe that the basement will have. One image in particular from Pinterest of a built-in bar with a wine fridge has informed most of the design decisions. We have a similar nook that had a sink and a mini fridge and cabinet beneath. Since we rarely used that sink, we’ll cap off the plumbing and build something similar here complete with a marble top and antique mirrored subway tiles for the backsplash. Here is a list of the main updates we’re making to the space.

  • Tear out drop ceiling, paint joists white and all new LED can and track lighting

  • Tear out carpet and replace with brick-like ceramic tile in a herringbone pattern

  • Tear out stair carpet and paint risers white, add a sisal stair runner

  • Install new bar area with marble remnant countertop, wine fridge, new cabinetry, and sconce lighting

  • Paint everything pale, greigy white with ivory trim

  • All new drywall with wider baseboard

  • New cedar closet and Shaker-style bifold doors

  • New Shaker-style doors to bedroom, craft room and bathroom, and barn doors to close off the living space from the utility space


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