Basement of the Week: Clever Details Update a Lounge

A classic 1960s knotty pine basement with a gargantuan wet bar caught this homeowner’s eye years ago and had stuck in his mind as his ideal basement ever since. When it came time to renovate his own basement, his growing tastes and collaboration with the designers in Princeton Design Collaborative resulted in a brand new, modern updated room, paneled in beautiful maple veneer with a sufficient wet bar that doesn’t overpower. Check out the details which make everything work.

Basement at a Glance
Location: Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Size: 535 square feet

Princeton Design Collaborative

“The greatest challenge in a basement would be making it feel as though it is not a basement,” says architect John Conroy. His solution consists of horizontal bands running throughout the plan, a unique corrugated metal ceiling and clever lighting tricks. Customized furniture and careful attention to detail make all the pieces feel as a cohesive and comfortable complete, with inspiration gleaned from midcentury modern and atomic era style.

One of the most significant challenges at a basement remodel would be the low ceiling, often made lower by ductwork. Conroy relocated the ductwork, which drops as low as 6 feet, 2 inches above the floor, to the sides of the room. Now instead of clunking up the distance, they help define it. He utilized stainless steel fasteners around the ductwork to ensure it is easy to get during ongoing renovations upstairs.

The higher regions of the ceiling are seven feet high and covered in perforated corrugated metal panels. The brand new ceiling reflects mild, brings in a subtle modern industrial component, adds acoustical value and enhances the flat banding motif is effective through the room, all the way down to the striped rug. This attention to horizontal lines gives the illusion of high ceilings.

Princeton Design Collaborative

To light the distance, Conroy opened the stairwell into the rest of the house and placed skylights overhead. Recessed can lights fill in, and the aquarium also has the feel of pure daylight.

Princeton Design Collaborative

Covering or relocating the structural elements in a basement is always a design challenge, however, Conroy determined if you can’t beat ’em, combine ’em. The columns on the right are structural, and also those on the left are faux. The nonstructural posts are PVC piping coated in a matching hammered-finish Rust-Oleum paint. They add architectural language and a rhythm into the distance, and their metal finished look matches the metallic ceiling.

Hairpin thighs on the furniture drama off the metallic finishes. Their paper clip–such as lines are a nod to midcentury modern and atomic era style.

Princeton Design Collaborative

The panels of plain sliced maple are routine pattern matched, meaning the veneer provider took each of the wood from one shrub and scattering the panels in the order they were removed from the tree in order that they could be placed so. So the grains match from panel to panel, boosting the banding. Conroy wrote a Mondrian-esque article and mixed in a bit of birdseye maple for subtle contrast.

The trees used for the veneer were sustainably harvested, and the plywood financing is sustainable too.

Princeton Design Collaborative

Conroy expanded and aligned an existing window within the TV. It sits partially below grade at a window well, so he picked for stained glass by Anderson Windows to hide the opinion.

Princeton Design Collaborative made the cabinets, built-in couch, side tables, coffee table, sofa table and dining table. “We wanted to create the coffee table a causal focal point,” Conroy says. It’s also high functioning and includes shelves for publications, a magazine rack and a large drawer for throw blankets.

The door covering the media equipment is a corrugated translucent ceiling sample. A 12-inch square of glass on the coffee table is also a sample. Conroy also utilized glass samples for the bar shelving and topped side tables with marble samples.

Princeton Design Collaborative

In the years since the customer saw his inspiration rec area with all the gigantic bar, he recognized a well-designed and effective bar would suffice nicely. A sink, an 18-inch paneled refrigerator and a lot of room for glassware fulfill his fun needs.

Princeton Design Collaborative

The lighted market behind on the left gives another window effect. The frosted glass onto the pillar in the end of the bar lightens things up.

Floors, countertops: slate

Princeton Design Collaborative

Rather than a closed-off staircase being opened, this light-filled entrance is available to the primary level of the house. Several views of the stairs here reveal how it’s daylighted; the best left indicates the skylight overhead, the bottom left indicates a second frosted glass detail within the paneling.

Princeton Design Collaborative

In addition to the 535-square-foot entertaining area, the basement comprises a bathroom with a shower together with a laundry area, sofa bed plus workshop.

Your turn: Perhaps you have converted your basement into a living room? We would love to find out what you did. Please inform us about it in the Remarks!

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