Soon to Be One of Their Favorite Rooms

Westlake Lower Level Before

When my clients asked me about finishing their lower level, I immediately saw a space that will become one of their favorite rooms—and one of their best investments. So, how do we proceed?

First, I need to know how it will be used. Entertainment center, bar, kitchen area, upgraded laundry room, game room, workshop, wine cellar—all are possible. If you want your children to be at home, nothing is a bigger draw than a well-accoutered family room. If you want the younger ones out of your hair, they will gratefully retreat downstairs, giving you quiet and peace of mind.

With all lower levels, the elephant in the room is water, as in the possibility of damage. Is it totally under control? Even in a well-protected basement, dampness can be an issue, which for me rules out wood floors. This is no hardship, with stone, ceramic, vinyl flooring or carpeting available. With natural light scarce or non-existent, extra effort goes into creating a lighting design that is at once bright and easy on the eyes. Walls can be sheet rocked or, if they’re brick, left exposed, and ceilings, when they’re as high as in the photo above, can be sheet rocked as well. Large exposed ducts can be painted for a more industrial feel.

The blank sheet of paper aspect of redoing a lower level is both a challenge and opportunity. It can fulfill a wide array of needs, but requires an intelligent, balanced floor plan to make the variety of uses cohere. I like working on these projects because they present an interesting interior design puzzle to be solved.

This room will be transformed from rough and ready workshop/storage area, to the most comfortable, versatile and enjoyable room in the house. More to come…

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