Think Like a Designer – Basement Design
A finished basement can expand your overall living space significantly. But these large open concept spaces can be tricky to layout out both functionally and aesthetically. Approaching your basement project like it is an extension of your first floor is a top priority. By connecting it visually and defining comfortable settings, the basement will become a destination spot in your home. Watch our video to learn how to define conversation areas in your open concept basement and create a space perfect for entertaining.
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In addition to this weeks video, I wanted to reprint an article on one of our all-time favorite basement projects. Enjoy!
Chicago Chic: Basement Renovation Built on Pieces of the City’s Past
When interior designer and lifelong Chicago resident Angie Gardeck began a recent remodeling project, she never expected to gain a history lesson in the process. As the design evolved, however, so did her appreciation for the story behind the city’s construction.
The design is one inspired by Chicago’s history and, quite literally, constructed from pieces of the city’s past. Mixed media from a bygone era add character to the room: brick, wood, metal and glass.
Reclaimed Chicago-made bricks lay the foundation for the room’s design, lending a weathered and worn look to select wall spaces.
Called “Chicago pinks,” in their heyday due to their characteristic color, the Chicago-produced bricks were incorporated into most structures built in the area from the 1850s to the 1940s, including designs by such vanguard architects as Frank Lloyd Wright.
In time, Chicago pinks were so pervasive in the city’s architecture that they came to be known as “Chicago commons.” But since their production ceased in the 1960s in favor of cheaper alternative concrete, the bricks have become anything but common.
In today’s market, where the sole source of the locally produced bricks comes from demolished old brick buildings, supply is dwindling. Demand for the Chicago bricks extends as far as the West Coast.
Set atop the backdrop of reclaimed brick is an entertainment console that is an impressive focal point. Clearly a labor of love, the unique custom cabinet is fashioned from roughhewn wood, repurposed from a barn in nearby Hebron, Ill. The contrast of its rural charm against the industrial brick background is cleverly unified by shelf connectors forged from metal pipe.
On a side wall, metal makes another appearance in the room, this time in the form of an antique black fire door. Stamped with “Chicago”, the salvage shop find provides an artful accent to the space.
In the room’s game area, two Chicago windows—a vertical style characterized by the city’s commercial buildings in the late 1800s— function as artwork, flanking a chalkboard for scorekeeping.
A marriage of urban and rural elements, the recreational space is awash in authentic local architectural components alongside Windy City memorabilia. A dimensional wooden sign painted in a likeness of the Chicago flag, antique Chicago beer bottles and crates, and a framed map of the city add to the distinctive ambiance of the room.
Gardeck’s client, who has happily called Chicago home for nearly 20 years following a lifetime of military moves, treasures the space and finds its connection to the city especially uplifting.
“There truly is no place like home,” says the homeowner. “And in this space, there’s no mistaking that, to me, home means Chicago.”
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