teens playing checkers in their basement turned family room
Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
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The Cold-to-Comfy Basement

Sometimes the extra room you've always wanted is right under your feet. Elizabeth Willett, was looking to fulfill several needs in her family's 1927 Tudor-style house when she saw untapped potential in its walk-out basement. "It already had a fireplace and a tiny bath, but it had never really been properly finished," she says. While the ceiling was low, it wasn't too low, and moisture—that bane of basement remodels—wasn't a problem.

Soon Elizabeth and her husband, Chris, were picturing the equivalent of an 830-square-foot addition, minus the new footprint, with a whole host of amenities. They created a family retreat and entertainment space at the bottom of the stairs. Guests can hang a left to check out the wine cellar or plop down on a sofa facing the stone fireplace and a TV. Davis even managed to fit in a full bath, a laundry area, a food pantry, and a home-office space. The rustic-looking family room is now a gathering spot for their daughter and her friends.

See more on how basements can go from cobwebby to comfy in How to Create the Ultimate Basement Bonus Room.
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