Before & After: A Young Family’s Basement Makeover
In desperate need of a basement makeover, designer Sarah Hartill rescued her home’s lower level to create a space the whole family can enjoy. See how she brought calm and order to her large basement by assigning distinct zones and adding closed storage. Click through and slide to reveal the stunning transformation!
Watch this basement makeover on H&H TV.
With doors leading to the garden (not visible), the bright, sunken back area was the ideal spot for the family lounge. A handsome rosewood console was already a perfect fit in the space, so Sarah simply topped it with a slab of marble to give it a more polished look. By rearranging the homeowners’ existing artwork and pulling in a few pieces from elsewhere in the house, she created a playful gallery wall that also camouflages the TV. A new, tufted leather love seat and chaise lounge set from Ikea makes room for the entire family.
A niche at one end of the den-like space proved the perfect spot for a second fridge. The home’s sump pump was also situated along this wall, so seeing an opportunity for more storage, Sarah added Ikea kitchen cabinets. The lower portion of the tall one conceals the plumbing but keeps it accessible, and the upper half houses seasonal items. She also framed the fridge in panelling and ran it right to the ceiling for a balanced look.
A blank space between the new bar’s built-ins and the walkout to the backyard was an easy place for a pretty vignette. The black bentwood chair with graphic striped upholstery pops against the clean white walls, and abstract artwork adds color and movement. A second rosewood console, this one topped with glass, backs the sectional and displays books and decorative bowls.
Picture rails and hanging boxes serve dual purpose as storage and display, and the boys change up what’s on show almost daily. Part of the Stuva stacking system from Ikea, the row of benches features boxes that can be pulled right out, making both toy access and cleanup easy for kids. The units were screwed together to form safe and functional seating. Fun artwork keeps the mood light, including a pair of green Chuck Taylors worn by both boys.
The walls, pillars and ceiling were all coated in the same fresh white (Farrow & Ball’s All White, 2005), lightening up the basement. Concrete-look porcelain tiles with a Nuheat underfloor heating system were added to the basement during a previous reno. Sarah layered on a 9′ x 11′ rug for graphic pattern.
There was already a home office in the space, but it was less than inspiring. Sarah replaced the ineffectual desks and filing units with a sleek double-length aluminum-trimmed desktop. The expanded surface means two people can work at once without spilling over into each other’s workspaces.
Built-in shelving was already incorporated into a structural column that hides the plumbing stack from an upstairs bathroom. Keeping children’s books on the lower shelves means they’re easy to reach, and proper office organizers tidied up the top shelves.
A Bestå filing unit separating the two workstations includes hanging files that keep bills and documents well organized. The upper pullout shelf holds the printer, which is, naturally, white. The husband’s old-school hand-crank pencil sharpener is a fun vintage piece in the modern space.