The problem

A DIY basement remodeling project started with a botched drywall job, and continued with a not-so-perfect laminate floor installation, but it never quite got finished.

The solution

Designer Candice Olson started from scratch to give the homeowners a combination office space and lounge area.

How it happened

• Olson and crew started from the top down, tearing out the drywall and replacing it with a gorgeous, easy-to-install suspended panel ceiling system. It snaps into place in moments and looks like a million bucks, especially with new recessed lighting (the existing fixtures were shorting out).

• A new gas-insert fireplace is elevated and surrounded by a beautiful hammered stone veneer. It serves as the focal point of this space, drawing the eye while conveying a warm invitation to relax.

• Lack of storage was a big problem in this basement. The solution was custom built-in cabinetry, which flanks the TV and fireplace. Plenty of shelving ensures there is room to display photos, travel souvenirs and books.

• A bar area is complete with counter, bar stools and an elegant pendant light fixture.

• A comfy armchair with a reading light helps the transition from lounge to office.

• Upper and lower cabinetry, filing drawers and shelving surround the spacious desk surface — and there’s room for a small bar fridge at the end of the counter. Subtle paisley wallpaper around the desk area creates visual interest, while further marking the dividing line between this room’s distinct zones.

• Olson enlarged scenic pictures from the homeowners’ vacations and hung them beside the bar area, to help encourage that transition from work to play.

• Floor-length drapes cover the basement’s small windows, creating the illusion of full windows beyond.

• Underfoot, a gray engineered-wood flooring system contrasts nicely with the ceiling and walls. It’s also durable and will resist any basement dampness.

Best trick

The homeowners travel frequently, so they have a lot of luggage, which is kept in the large storage space adjacent to the basement family room. A sliding door hides the storage room, and its pinboard surface is used to display the couple’s travel photos.


Distributed by Tribune Media Services. Interior decorator Candice Olson hosts “Candice Tells All,” which appears on HGTV.