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Family Friendly

Hello! In the last post we went through the full first floor decorating plan, putting all of the pieces together from the room by room plans I have been working through for the past few weeks. Today, let's take a look at the plan for decorating the basement! We are planning to use the basement as the primary family room once the renovation is complete so that if someone (like me) wants to be listening to music while she cooks dinner it will not interfere with the people that want to watch TV in the great room. A new option awaits.

Included in the renovation plan is partially opening up the stairs to the basement by removing the wall between the stairs and the entryway. By design, this should make the space downstairs feel more inviting, less dungeon-y and much more part of the overall vibe of the house. This is the link to the renovation plan for the basement if you need a refresher.

Starting off to get us in the groove is the mood board:

In addition to being the primary family room, the basement will also house our home gym, a full bath, and potentially a small work space/office. I joked about having John's office in the storage room instead of our bedroom in the basement renovation post and although I know John is not having any of it, the idea in spirit has really been growing on me. I think it makes a lot of sense to have some type of office/dedicated quiet work space in the house. And based on what the world has been going through these past sixteen months it makes even more sense.

We have a lot of tables to work with in decorating the basement and a few chairs. In our Holland house I labeled the utility/storage room "the land of tables" because we had a lot more tables than places to put them in that house. We have sold and donated some of them since moving here, we still have a fair amount though.

Here's what's on the existing board:

  • Two wicker chairs, last used in our Holland house dining room. We have owned these since 1998 so they have been in every house since my first house.

  • The green sideboard was purchased for the Chevy Chase house for the dining room, used in the Baltimore dining room and then in the back hall of the Grosse Pointe house. It was in the downstairs bedroom in Holland, almost relegated to the "land of tables".

  • The toile chair and ottoman are from my parent's first apartment and together are my older daughter's favorite spot to sit so they have been with us a long time now

  • We bought the media cabinet at Crate and Barrel for our basement in Grosse Pointe and it was in our basement in Holland too

  • The black oval table lived in our basement for years as a project for me to tackle. John and I were out and about in Bethany Beach, Delaware with John's mom and bought it at an antique store there in the early 2000s. It was covered in white paint and collected dust for years until I finally sanded and stained the top and painted the wicker black for it to be put to use at long last in our Holland great room. A labor of love that was promptly damaged by the movers when we went from our rental house in Holland to our brand new house. I digress though...

  • The antique trestle table was also purchased when we lived in Chevy Chase and has been used in kitchens, hallways, offices, and basements in all the years since.

  • The green side table is another project for me. I purchased this table from an antique store when we lived in Baltimore because I could see through the layers of green paint that it was (most likely) faux bamboo and grass cloth underneath. I started working on it in Baltimore and stripped off almost all of the paint from the bamboo and wood top and then stopped when the weather turned too cold to keep working on it. The paint on the bottom grass cloth shelf was extremely hard to strip and the stripping product was very strong and needed full ventilation. Then...we moved and the table was relegated to the basement to be worked on another day. There is still a lot of paint left on the bottom grass cloth shelf. I'm not sure if we'll end up using this table because it may not survive having the rest of the paint removed. I'm a sucker for faux bamboo and grass cloth tables though so I will try again before I give up.

  • We have two ladder shelves and a lot of baskets for storage that have been used for games and toys for years

  • For the gym we have a bike and an elliptical machine and some weights and a bench.

The basement is the one space in this house that we need to buy furniture for. Yay!

The overall decorating scheme for the basement is as follows:

  • Bottom of Stairs:

  1. Pool/ping pong table*

  2. Wicker chairs

  3. Green sideboard

  • Game Shelves Area:

  1. Ladder shelves

  2. Storage baskets

  3. Trestle table as game table/desk

  • Fireplace Area:

  1. Large sectional sofa*

  2. Toile chair and ottoman

  3. Vintage rug*

  4. TV cabinet

  5. Coffee table*

  6. Side table

  7. Table behind sofa

  8. Change out mantel to be reclaimed wood beam*

  • Home Gym

  1. Bike

  2. Elliptical machine

  3. TV, speakers

  4. Bench

  5. Weights

  6. Storage shelving*

  7. Wall of mirrors*

  8. Gym flooring

  • Full Bath

  1. New vanity*

  2. New mirror*

  3. New toilet*

  4. New tub/shower with tile surround*

  5. New flooring*

  • Office space with built in desk*

  • Windows to have plantation shutters*

  • Floors to be covered with wall to wall carpeting*

  • Paint and trim to match upstairs entryway

  • Decorative paneling?*

*NEED these starred items

We have wanted a pool table that can have a ping pong table top for a long time and our basement here has the space for it. I really like the looks of the pool table below because of its muted color palette. I would also put the wicker chairs and the green sideboard in this section of the basement as a place to "hang out" while you're waiting your turn to play.

Next to the pool table area, visually separated by two structural support columns is what I will call the toys and games area - which happens to be what is being used for right now! We have two ladder shelves with all of our board games, puzzles, arts and crafts supplies and a lot of Lego creations on them. Surrounding the shelves are several baskets holding spare Lego parts and Nerf Guns. There is also the trestle table which is where my son did all of his at-home/online schooling this past year. The toys are not played with as much as they used to be. Not by a long shot. As long as they still hold some interest though they will stay. It will be a sad day for me when there are no more toys in use.

This is the sofa that I have my eye on for the area around the fireplace and TV:

This sofa is perfect for the basement. Every seat is a separate component so there is no worry about getting it down the stairs. It is slipcovered in a washable, bleach-able white cotton-linen fabric (and you know how I feel about that!). It has down filling so it is very comfortable. Lastly, it is over nine feet long so definitely big enough for the family to watch a movie together on. I will put the toile chair and ottoman in the space and hopefully the (currently green) side table restored as well. The ceilings are low in the basement so we cannot hang the TV over the fireplace, it will need to sit atop the media cabinet across from the sofa. We still want to replace the mantle over the fireplace regardless though with a reclaimed timber piece. I want to layer a vintage rug on top of the wall to wall carpet in this space and I need to come up with a solution for a coffee table. I love the idea of an old wicker piece or trunk like this:

The gym will be as simple and low budget as possible. We have the equipment and the flooring already. I would love to add in some storage shelving and a wall of mirrors. We are planning to have glass pocket doors separating the gym from the rest of the basement and the mirrored wall would help add light to the space - which has no windows. Our ceiling has a lot of different heights to accommodate pipes and vents and what not so this picture reminded me a bit of what our gym will look like:

For the bathroom, I want it to look light and bright (on a budget). My first choice would have been to put in a tile shower. I have decided though that it doesn't make sense, it will be more economical and practical to replace the tub and tile around that only. The vanity will most likely come from a big box store, my only wish is that it has marble (or some type of natural stone) on top. This is the inspiration picture on the mood board:

I love the idea of having a pattern on the floor tile to add character and playfulness, like the one below. The tub surround would be white subway tiles with some type of black subway tile border included.

This is an idea of a vanity from Wayfair that includes a marble top:

For the main spaces, I would love to do a wall to wall sisal carpet with vintage rugs layered on top to define the separate spaces. Here is the carpet I am loving and a picture of it in use on the company's website:

For the finishing touches, the walls will need to be painted the same color as the walls in the entryway and great room upstairs because there will not be a true separation point for different paints on the main floor and in the basement. We are currently talking about using Swiss Coffee for the walls and Decorator's White for the trim. I would like to put plantation shutters on the windows. The windows are indented further than the walls and are not all the same size. My thought is that if I have plantation shutters made to fill in the full indents it will make everything look like the same size to your eye so it will be more uniform and look more intentional. I am on the fence about also adding a vertical batten strip around the room as a type of "decorative paneling" to further unify the space, sort of like this from my inspiration binder:

Here are the windows currently so you can see what I'm trying to explain about the indentations and size variations.

The last item is to explore is building a desk, essentially a wall to wall board with a depth of at least three feet in the teeny tiny storage room. I have measured. There is enough room to put the antique trestle table in the there as a desk with a chair and still close the door so it should feel positively roomy in there with a built in desk lol.

Here is a mock-up of the furniture layout throughout the basement:

I am feeling very excited to see the plans come together for the lower level and main level of the house! At the same time my impatience is growing too. All in good time, Kerry. Thank you for being here while I work this all through, I appreciate it and would love to hear what you think of things so far!

See you next time when we start looking at the upstairs. First on the list is my older daughters bedroom which will be doubling as a guest room.

Thank you for reading,





Hi, I’m Kerry, a true lover of all things home design.  Thank you for stopping by to check in on the journey.  Please feel free to reach out to me, I love to talk design!

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