lower level of this Pewaukee home features multiple gathering
spaces for entertaining, socializing and watching television.
lowly lower level. It can be the most difficult part of a house to
decorate. It may be dark and sometimes damp — and it tends to become
the dumping ground for old furniture and other items. But the right
design can make these spaces as beautiful and important as any other
spot in the home. Here are four stunning lower level redesigns that
elevate the basement experience.
had several ideas in mind for the redesign of her Pewaukee home’s
lower level, embracing earthy colors, organic birch tree artwork and
sleek contemporary furnishings. "I took those elements and gave
them to Heather Scott (of Heather Scott Design Inc.). She drew up some
specs and we began the redesign," Phelps says.
The result has a
Northeastern coastal feeling. The colors are grays, cream, neutrals
with dark cherry wood cabinetry and dark laminate floors. "It’s
very clean but edgy. The trickiest part was the bar, which has backlit
interchangeable front panels," Scott says.
branches appear throughout the room in the form of a lighted sculpture
and bathroom light fixtures. "The organic look of the birch trees
is my favorite part. My husband’s favorite is the bar," Phelps
says. The family can gather to play games or to entertain at the bar
area with its twin televisions for sports viewing. There is also a
workout area and entire wall of closets for storage.
space planning and getting the design right, giving the client
everything they want," Scott says.
wall mural created from a photo of a Schlitz Palm Garden lends a
vintage feel to the luxurious lower level lounge in the
Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse. The room was designed by
Libby Castro of LP/w Design Studios and showcases the homeowner’s
collection of Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. memorabilia.
the beer that made Milwaukee famous adorns the lower level lounge of
the 2012 Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse in Milwaukee. The space,
which features a life-size photo of a Schlitz palm garden, takes one
back to Milwaukee’s glory days as a brewing capital. Homeowner Andy
Nunemaker has a wide array of items from the legendary brewery.
"I started my collection when I was in college," he says.
"The biggest piece I have is the original neon Schlitz sign from
Castro of LP/w Design Studios, Milwaukee, faced a challenge in taking
on the 100-plus-year-old space. "The basement was pretty
dilapidated, but it was fun doing things from the ground up. We used
recycled vinyl tile made to look like leather on the floors.
Leather-look material covers the ceilings as well," she explains.
The contemporary furnishings are in stark contrast to the
turn-of-the-century collector’s items. "We put in some
contemporary Eames chairs in brown leather, along with some dark
tables," she says.
highlight different pieces from the homeowner’s collection, we
created some niche areas, and a vault to house some of the items. We
tried to emphasize the Georgian architecture of the house by creating
pilasters and other beautiful details," she says.
beams and a live-edge bar were created to replicate the feel of
a Montana resort where the family stayed. The walls are
decorated with favorite photos from family vacations.
The Happ family
of Mequon loves the American West and wanted to use that influence to
create a place with elements that the entire family could enjoy.
"We love the idea of a Western farmhouse," Kathy Happ says.
"We tried to use a mix of old and new materials, including the
floor, which is reclaimed Kentucky horse fencing," she says.
Development, Mequon, designed the space, taking down one wall and
adding a game room with pingpong and pool tables for the Happs’
teenage son. Their two college-age daughters have an area for getting
together with friends and watching movies when they are at home.
The adults weren’t
left out of the equation. A kitchen/bar area features zinc countertops
and a live-edge bar, very distinctive elements of the space. "We
saw some things we really loved at a resort in Montana and we asked
our builder to try to duplicate some of them. They did an excellent
job with the bar, which is a big pine plank with a raw edge,"
Happ says. "We just love everything."
lighting in the bar top adds to the sophisticated feel of this
Mequon home’s lower level.
With a blended
family that includes seven children, Bonnie Hammond and her husband,
Kelsey Starks, wanted to make their Mequon home’s lower level into a
gathering place. Highland Development, Mequon, worked with the
homeowners to design a beach-themed space that imparts a restful and
theme was carried out in a variety of ways. Large mirrors are framed
in a shell motif, pendant lights look like sea urchins suspended from
the ceiling, a large saltwater fish tank flanks a wall near the bar,
and items that look like deep sea diving relics are found throughout.
On the walls are murals of the New York City skyline and the Irish
coast — another tribute to living near the water. "They are
some of our favorite places," Hammond says.
Milwaukee, was called in to construct built-in cabinetry and shelves
in the entertainment and bar area. "The bar top is designed with
LED lighting underneath. Rope lighting can be changed if we want a
different color," Hammond says. The redesign also includes a
music studio for Starks, who is a producer, and a large closet.
"We spend so much time downstairs now. They did a fantastic
job," Hammond says.