Basement Goes from Dreary to Dreamy
Candice Olson turns a dark, dingy basement into a family-friendly room and art studio.
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I started by knocking down some walls to free the laundry room and cluttered storage space, and to reclaim all the natural light I could. I moved the washer and dryer to its own space, and then divided the bulk of the room into two areas: a fun and functional “art zone,” and a bright, yet cozy, family lounge and entertainment area.
Because it’s all about having fun and making a mess, an attractive, easy-clean vinyl flooring set the tone for the kids’ art studio. Neutral-colored cabinetry worked well with the colorful floor. I chose spill-and-splash-friendly plastic laminate countertops – again, neutral-colored so as not to influence any future Picasso’s artwork.
Typically, I might include a sink next to the bar fridge in a family room. But with the potential for so many brushes (and fingers) to be dripping wet paint, keeping the double-tubbed sink in the art zone was a no-brainer. For Amy and the budding young artists, it makes cleanup a breeze.
The lounge area is designed to be a fun, cozy and comfortable place for Rory to curl up on the sofa with the children to read or watch movies from their extensive DVD collection. I selected a muted green carpet to complement the sky-blue walls and the decorative celery, cream and taupe found in the vinyl flooring. The comfy sofa and armchairs were treated to sensationally practical (read: washable!) slipcovers in soft, soothing tones that added color to the room without overpowering any newly created works of art.
Since this space was seriously window-challenged, I decided to create the illusion of natural illumination by installing floor-to-ceiling mirrors, accented by a petite crystal chandelier and flanked by a window treatment of bright, cheery drapes. The result is gigantic faux window that gives the impression the room is even brighter, warmer and more inviting than it already is!
Whimsical vinyl transfers – stylized floating words splashed on doors and on the obtrusive support column anchored in the middle of the basement – add color and a sense of fun to the room.
After adding some final touches, including a display of some of the children’s framed masterpieces, the art studio/family lounge was complete. With a little creative vision and artistic flair, what began as a dark, unappealing space had become a welcoming and inspiring room where family and friends can be creative, or just enjoy spending time together. Now that’s divine!
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