basement family room
Photo: Erik Rank

Valuable Real Estate

In the quest for extra square footage, a dry, unfinished basement is a holy grail. For the cost of some finish work and mechanicals upgrades, you can get a whole new room, sometimes two or three.

For years kitchen designer Karen Berkemeyer used her below-grade space as a laundry room. But the desire for what her home lacked—an informal space for family lounging and TV viewing—caused her to take a second look. "We never had one space where we could all gather and watch a movie," says Berkemeyer. So the basement was transformed into just that, and during the process upgrades were made to the laundry room and storage closet, and a full bath was added, allowing the space to double as a guest suite.
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