Basement of the Week: Fun for All Ages in Connecticut

Faced with a large, unfinished basement and an active pair of daughters, a Connecticut couple asked inside designer Catherine O’Brien of Grande Interiors to make a fun and wholesome area for the whole family to enjoy.

New insulation retains the space warm, even though a moisture seal and dehumidifying system keep it wholesome. But the real attraction is the way this subterranean lair accommodates billiards, a wine cellar, crafts, and a screening room, homework, storage — indoor soccer. C’mon down and check this out stylish subterranean fantasy area.

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their daughters (ages 11 and 13)
Location: Connecticut
Size: 2,300 square feet

Before Photo

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The basement was purely functional but was designed with completing in your mind, with ceilings which measure a generous 81/2 ft high.

“My customer was quite clear that she didn’t wish to come down here a year after completing it and have it smell like a basement,” O’Brien says. “She was quite worried about allergies, mold and moisture, and wished to be certain the area was healthy.”

Added insulation and moisture barriers protect the exterior walls and ceiling, along with a separate basement heating and air-conditioning system (complete with dehumidification unit) defends against moisture, mustiness and mould too.

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The very steep staircase was another safety concern. Part of this remodel involved redoing the steps, which also assisted the program’s flow.

The new staircase stops at a low landing and splits in two directions, with one side resulting in the “grownup” playroom, with a billiards table. Cabinets along one wall provide storage and a countertop. Recessed lights and pale paint help brighten the space.

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The couple had possessed the custom made pool table for years, and its copper and stainless steel beams inspired the area’s warm color palette. An integrated rack stores all of the pool table equipment.

The area has some relaxing areas for audiences, including two wheeled armchairs, a seat and a pub table. There is a very nice flow from room to room across the basement; this huge doorway to the right of this window contributes to the media room.

Armchairs, rug: Global Views; cut-velvet throw pillows: Crate & Barrel; wall paint: Galveston Gray, Benjamin Moore; trim paint: White Dove, Benjamin Moore. (This paint combination was used in the billiards room, living room and hallway.)

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Because the basement gets no natural light, O’Brien set up a big window between the billiards room and the wine cellar.

Laminated hardwood flooring adds warmth underfoot. Even though the floors came with a moisture seal, O’Brien doubled up and added another moisture barrier under them.

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A new wall bends around from the billiards area to this doorway, which leads to the wine cellar. That room has added blown-in insulation and moisture barriers for proper wine storage. (By the way, if the place where the textured background ends sounds odd for you, you’re right. This photo was taken before the group had completed papering, but I actually wanted to show you the curved wall.)

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The copper in the pool table carries through the wine area. The hammered-copper backsplash reflects the light and adds texture. A honed dark granite countertop offers contrast, while a classic wine press adds a rustic touch. The drawer underneath provides a place for stashing wine openers for tastings.

The homeowners are comparatively new wine collectors, however their cellar has room for 950 bottles.

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The glass door provides a view in the wine cellar to the press room. It and the inside window give this little space a more open feeling.

The walls are custom-painted stripes; Benjamin Moore’s Galveston Gray is your base, and there’s a Dolphin glaze on top.

Browse more artful wine chambers

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The press room is all about watching films and having sufficient room for the girls to get their Wii on. The ottomans are extremely versatile: they may be moved easily, they make comfortable footrests, they’ve storage indoors, and the shirts can be flipped around to function as trays.

Table lamps, carpet: Crate & Barrel; side table: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; sofa: Bassett

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A chocolate-brown sofa helps hide stains. The colorful green from the craft area (shown in the background) carries through via pillows, throws and table lamps.

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The girls were quite involved with the art room’s decoration, choosing the carpet, the colors along with the chandelier. (O’Brien admits this great Ikea fixture is a total pain to put together — have you ever done? It actually is a nightmare but totally worth it.) The wall dots were professionally hand painted. O’Brien left lots of room to hang and display the girls’ finished art on designated walls and shelves.

There is another bookcase market out of view; each girl has her own to display trophies, artwork and other memorabilia. The doors on the right are closets, along with the door on the left leads to the storage room.

Play dining table, lamp: Ikea; seats: West Elm; rug: habit; white paint: White Dove, Benjamin Moore; additional paint: custom mixed

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This prep area is at one end of this craft area. Each girl has her own channel complete with desk, drawers and inspiration plank. The desks have laptop hookups and charging channels.

The Caesarstone counter packs all the way around this region in a U shape, extending to a handy cleanup sink behind the desks.

Chairs: Room & Board; desks: habit

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The active adult area, the home gym, may be used for a variety of tasks. It has vinyl floors, space for yoga and stretching, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, a tv, gym equipment and storage area.

Tips for transforming part of your basement into a home gym

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The other side of this split staircase contributes to a space for active play. It was also designed so that it could be included and turned into a guest suite.

For today the girls love to play soccer in this very long area. When their friends join them for slumber parties, this is where everybody rolls their sleeping bags.

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This cozy reading nook across the side of the area has space for two. The deep drawers underneath provide storage, along with the sconces overhead include ambience and reading light.

Wall paint: Squish Squash; trim paint : White Dove, both by Benjamin Moore

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