A Second Chance: From Raw Basement to Family Room
An unfinished basement goes from cold and empty to warm and cozy
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.
1. Removed a wall to dig out under-porch crawl space and make it part of the new family room. A steel beam provides support in its place.
2. Dug out the existing floor except in the mechanicals area to achieve a 7-foot finished ceiling height.
3. Kept the original locations for the water heater and boiler, shutting them away behind doors.
4. Created a storage closet to hold extra household goods, from cases of wine to bulk-size paper towels.
5. Squeezed in a full bath measuring 5 by 5 feet.
6. Moved the laundry to the far end of the space, tucking the washer and dryer under a counter, adding a sink, and installing a space-saving ironing-board cabinet.
7. Built in cherry cabinetry by Wood-Mode to maximize storage for the TV, stereo, DVDs, CDs, and books.