Often last on the list for a makeover, basements rarely get any serious love. That was certainly the case for the basement of Michele Rowland, a real-estate agent, and her husband, Derek Lamont. In 2016, the couple bought their charming, 1920s classic Tudor home in Oshawa, Ontario, a 45 minutes’ drive east of Toronto. They spent two years renovating the upper floors before finally shifting their gaze lower — and what they saw wasn’t pretty. “By this point, we had run out of steam,” says Michele.
The basement consisted of a hallway beside the stairwell that led to a small sitting room and a charmless and dated three-piece bath. Half of it was unfinished storage space, including a laundry area. Still, they had grand visions of transforming the 600-square-foot lower level into a “pretty but practical office” for Michele’s four-person team.
A key consideration was making the basement feel like the rest of the house, which is where designer Christine Elliott came in. “We addressed how the team worked day to day, and what they needed at their fingertips,” says Christine. There had to be storage, a pleasant spot to eat lunch and meet with clients, a new bathroom and a private office for Michele. In the end, Michele is thrilled with the total transformation. “A friend said, ‘When you’re done with the office, I’m turning it into my apartment.’”
Scroll down to see the dramatic before and after of this basement makeover!