Photo Gallery: Editors’ Basement Renos
Stylish makeovers for hardworking spaces.
When updating the basement kitchen, House & Home editor-in-chief Suzanne Dimma placed upper cabinets directly beneath an immovable bulkhead. Using Ikea components, a frame was built to sit proud of the uppers and wrap around both ends of the counter, creating a design feature. The combination of all-white cabinets, white Staron counters and backsplash and near-invisible hardware enhances the openness of the space, while a black faucet provides contrast.
To combat boring basement drywall and create depth and character, editor-in-chief Suzanne Dimma added white-painted wood panelling from Brenlo. A low foundation shelf was cleverly turned into a built-in bench with the addition of seat cushions and throw pillows.
Senior design editor Sally Armstrong can’t imagine how she ever did without the bright, multifunctional family room that she included in her reno plans. “Now, the kids lounge down here to watch movies and play video games with their friends.” The polished concrete floor is indestructible, adds modern edge and is equipped with radiant heating for comfort.
A handsaw was used to rout grooves into doors for a custom look in Suzanne Dimma’s basement. Pivot hinges allow the doors to open fully when needed. A floating white oak shelf layered with black and white photos creates a welcoming vignette at the bottom of the stairs.
House & Home senior editor Meg Crossley had no use for a second kitchen in her basement, so she had the cabinets, plumbing and wiring removed. In its place, she created a calm nook with a vintage gateleg table that can double as a desk. She painted the walls white to make the ceiling seem higher and added framed inexpensive art prints, which she bought on Etsy. The floors are laminate in an elm finish to create cohesion with the upstairs.
Part of the reason Suzanne Dimma converted her basement rental suite was because she and husband Arriz needed a spacious home office. A solid stretch of durable Staron countertop from Ikea created a seamless work surface. Old-school filing cabinets framed by powder-coated steel supports serve as dividers and help conceal plugs and cords. The slender frames of the Japanese-designed white oak office chairs suit the Scandi-modern design of the space.
The kids’ activity area is used almost every day by Sally Armstrong’s daughters, Annie (left) and Holly. The table and chairs were Sally’s old dining set; she gave them a playful twist with colour-blocked white and hot pink paint. An inexpensive Ikea bookshelf and trolley hold craft supplies.
Suzanne Dimma lined up a white oak vanity and lower shelf perfectly with the basement bulkhead, creating a framed effect. Simple hardware dowels stand in for towel hooks, and textural woven baskets hide the plumbing. To create flow with the rest of the house, Suzanne took a single black sconce from another room and added a black-painted mirror to punctuate the glossy subway-tiled wall.
With no window, Meg Crossley installed panel moulding and an inexpensive washstand from a big-box store, painting both to match. Hits of black anchor the space visually and keep it from feeling too pretty.
Suzanne Dimma moved vents when renovating her basement to fit a stacked washer and dryer. This left more room for floor-to-ceiling cabinets that keep laundry essentials and other household items out of sight.
Meg Crossley turned this unfinished basement laundry room into a laundry oasis. Improper venting meant the washer and dryer had to be moved to the opposite wall, where they’re now hidden by bi-fold doors. Meg also added a convenient sink with a kitchen-worthy faucet, an upper shelf and lower cabinets for extra storage. A contractor cut door fronts out of MDF, and then Meg added Shaker trim for a custom look. To give the basement an airy feeling, the space was painted white. Sico‘s Light Sugar (4150-11), an aged white, makes the ceilings seem higher without feeling sterile or cold. The cabinets were painted robin’s egg blue for a country-inspired look.
Two design classics — black hexagonal floor tiles and square white subway tiles — give Sally Armstrong’s laundry room timeless charm, but a strategic pop of acid yellow on the powder room door keeps the effect current. A Corian counter surrounds the washer and dryer and provides a place to fold clothes. Open shelves hold supplies within reach.