Rustic, Modern Multipurpose Basement

Candice Olson transforms an unfinished basement with reclaimed wood, a rustic limestone fireplace, modern furniture and workout equipment.


Before, Alex and Sofie's huge, unfinished basement was in desperate need of attention

Rising NHL star Alex Steen and his wife, Sofie, recently moved into a big home in the suburbs with their infant son and two dogs. With a hectic hockey schedule, busy home life and frequent trips to their native Sweden, the couple didn't have much time to decorate their new house. They managed to get things organized upstairs but had a huge, unfinished basement that was in desperate need of attention. While I can't say I know much about pucks or power plays, I did know I couldn't "pass" on the opportunity to redesign this space.

The couple wanted their basement to work on three different levels: as a relaxing family room; as a workout area for Alex; and as a space where Alex could hold meetings for his charity, the Amadeus Steen Foundation (created in his brother's memory to enhance young lives). Oh, and they wanted all of these areas to coexist in a "warm, yet modern" atmosphere that had absolutely nothing to do with hockey!



By combining rustic materials and elements with modern furnishings and fixtures, this once uninspired room was transformed into an all-star basement.

I kicked things off by working on the nuts and bolts of the project – putting up drywall, building walls and running wires. Once the basics were in place, I painted the walls in a neutral tone and put down rustic, elegant dark wood flooring with a hand-chiseled effect.

Next, I did some serious planning. I decided the best way to create the multi-functional room was to create three distinct areas in the open space: a lounge zone, a TV and media zone and a workout zone.

I designed the lounge area to be a room in which Alex and Sofie could entertain guests or hold charity meetings. The focal point of this area is a dramatic, vertical gas fireplace that boasts rustic limestone cladding and is flanked by 4-foot sconces.

The room only has two small windows, so to create the illusion of space I added floor to ceiling layered drapes in contemporary floral and light silk. I then installed two oversized pewter-coloured chaise lounges and a rustic wood coffee table. As a finishing touch, I put in high-tech LED lighting in the walls leading from the lounge into the adjacent TV/media room.

The TV and media area is all about kicking back and relaxing. In this room I put in a big tan sectional, a wood coffee table and a huge wall-hung television for the family to enjoy.

To give the room a real "wow" factor, I used materials that speak to the couple's Swedish heritage and created a very cool wood installation. Taking fallen timber from a nearby woodlot, I cut each log into six-inch pieces, glued them into two big recessed cabinets, and hung them vertically on the wall behind the couch. Between these two cabinets, I put up beautiful, nubby grass cloth wallpaper backed with silver foil.

I then got to work on the adjoining workout space, which I divided off from the TV room with gorgeous French doors. For added pizzazz, I installed two very cool, glassed-in waterfalls to act as see-through room dividers.

In this workout room I put in state-of-the-art equipment, including a bike, treadmill and weight set for Alex to use during the off season — or whenever he needs to let off steam.

After a few finishing touches, this three-part basement was complete. By combining rustic materials and elements with modern furnishings and fixtures, this once uninspired room was transformed into an all-star basement that is stylish, comfortable and worlds away from the stresses of the hockey rink. How divine!

Next Up

Basement Renovation Transforms a Cold Space Into a Warm Family Room

See the before and after photos from another amazing Candice Olson basement makeover, and get tips on how to turn your home's lowest level into a welcoming place to gather.

Cozy, Neutral Basement Makeover

Designer Candice Olson makes room for a rock band, family game night and a wet bar in this earthy, contemporary basement.

Basement Finishing Costs

How much does it cost to finish a basement? Use this guide to find out, then decide which route is best for your home and budget.

Basement Remodel Honors the Past With a Midcentury-Modern Twist

Retired decorator Ruth Shacter breathes new life into the basement built by her late husband.

Multifunctional Family Basement

Designer Bryan Sebring transformed a basement into an amazing retreat complete with a wine-tasting area, workout space and theater room.

House Plans with Basements

Take the first step in creating the basement of your dreams with this guide for house plans with basements.

Installing a Drop Ceiling in a Basement Laundry

Steve Watson and crew demonstrate how to make a semi-finished basement laundry room more presentable by installing a drop ceiling.

Basement Layouts and Plans

Refinish your basement and create a gorgeous living space with these tips for designing a basement layout.

Basement Storage Tips

Create a useful space instead of a cluttered and chaotic dump zone of your house.

Basement Waterproofing Products and Systems

Waterproofing a basement requires not only the right approach, but choosing the products that will do the job. Learn more about basement waterproofing products with this guide.

100+ Photos to Inspire

Browse beautiful photos of entryways, offices, basements, bars and more.


Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.