Rustic, Modern Multipurpose Basement
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!
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!