This formerly dark basement was kind of a guy cave, heavy on the cave. While the husband still wanted it to serve as his lair, he also wanted it to be a family-friendly spot he could enjoy with his wife, 12-year-old daughter, friends and extended family. “My clients wanted a room that was cool, modern and full of light, where they can hang out, watch movies, play games and entertain,” says interior decorator Arlene Lord. The basement also comprised their guest area, which needed to be more inviting for guests and brought up to code for security. Following is a glance at how Lord used light colors, light and reflective surfaces to brighten this up walk-out basement.
Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A family of 3
Location: Portland, Oregon
Size: Around 1,700 square feet
The basement was a location where the family’s left wing furniture stagnated. “You will find five distinct stripes on the walls, and the space was dark, funky and had an unusual layout,” Lord says.
AFTER: The biggest room in the basement has three windows and a doorway to a terrace outside. Lord made the most of the pure lighting with light paint colors, and supplemented the daylight using a chandelier, recessed lighting and a mixture of table and floor lamps.
Lord made a custom sectional couch and comfortable leather wingback chair for film watching and relaxing. She commissioned photographer Steve Eltinge for its massive piece over the couch; it shows that a flock of birds flying over nearby Cannon Beach.
Sofa fabric: Kravet; side table, floor lamp: Arteriors
A visit to Pratt & Larson to pick out tile for the fireplace surround was rather fortuitous. “We wanted something fluid and organic here; I was pricing tile that turned out to be way too expensive and ran across this gorgeous slab of Calacatta marble,” Lord says. The shop had made a decision to quit carrying rock slabs and’d slashed the costs; Lord picked up this gorgeous slab for a once-in-a lifetime bargain price.
The husband is a techie and played a massive role in designing the wall of press built-ins, alongside the audiovisual pro, the cabinetmaker as well as Lord. Digital components are wired into a vented cabinet under the TV. The four drawers on the left are for bulky toys and games, while the upper drawers shop DVDs and CDs.
Side tables, table lamp: Arteriors; seat: custom made by Lord Designs; carpets: habit; window treatment fabric: Kravet
One piece of leftover furniture that the family has owned for years is that this lovely dining room table, which now serves as a game and puzzle table. The girl has dubbed the custom-designed banquette “The Arlene” after Lord. She likes to sit and watch movies while doing different things.
The Asian art on the walls and the statue are a nod to the 12-year-old’s proficiency in Mandarin, which she’s learned through a college immersion program.
Banquette fabric: Loose Leaf, Candace Olsen for Kravet; chandelier: Kravet; ancestral Asian art: Antiques and Oddities
Walls initially closed off a little room (about 7 by 12 ft) into the right of this staircase. Nobody wanted to invest time in here.
AFTER: Lord knocked down the wall and used the space for a fabulous wet bar. Because this area is nowhere near the pure light, she utilized artificial lighting, metallic reflective flooring tiles, Calacatta marble, white cabinets and a large mirror to maintain the light shifting around.
Painting: Stars Antiques, pub stools: West Elm, bar cart, table lighting: Arteriors; tile: via Pratt & Larson, stopped
She also scored this remnant piece of creamy Calacatta marble for another bargain at Pratt & Larson.
Along with the microwave and sink, you will find built-in refrigerator closets.
The clients have family on the East Coast and desired a guest room for cross-country visitors. In the previous guest room, “a giant, wonky closet [left] hardly left enough room to walk around the bed,” Lord says.
AFTER: Two built-in wardrobes on both sides of the headboard take the place of this closet. Drawers beneath the platform bed provide plenty of storage for linens. Now there’s also enough room to walk around the bed.
As it turned out, the prior guest area was also prohibited as a result of egress issues. Lord added a step concealed as a shelf beneath the window to bring it up to code, then additional floating shelves to help camouflage it.
Without room for nightstands, Lord made the bed to have a shelf behind the top of the headboard for reading lamps, publications and glasses. “I made a heavily tufted headboard to balance out the sleekness of this room,” Lord says.
Throw pillows: West Elm
The clients picked up this series highlighting Portland’s bridges at the Portland Saturday Market.
The husband is in a group, and this is his music room, which was quite dark and disheveled before the redesign. It also serves as an overflow guest room.
AFTER: “I upholstered the mattress to the daybed to give it more of a couch appearance,” Lord says. She also lightened the walls up and additional new window treatments, new carpeting and a brand new desk.
The wooden piece onto the side table is some sort of instrument — anyone want to hazard a guess about what kind or where it is from?
“The bathroom walls had a hideous texture. Smoothing the partitions made the largest impact in here,” Lord says.
AFTER: The metallic tile from the hallway and wet bar room stretch into the restroom, and newly smoothed white walls bounce the light around. The art over the commode also pays homage to Portland’s bridges.