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Before & After: Family Room

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

When we bought this house, the basement before was a barebones storage area, with these gorgeous styrofoam panels serving as insulation. It was ugly and freezing and no one liked being down here. Except the ghosts. Once the city sewer backed up into it, which was a delight, and we had to put in some kind of drain that will prevent it from ever happening again because I'm telling you, I was scarred. But the ceiling height was decent.

As a family of five, we needed a secondary living space for movies, gaming, and my daughter's trashy reality TV shows, so in 2015 we enlisted a friend to help us turn this area into a bright family room. Our budget wasn’t huge so we decided to simply paint the concrete floor black and make a room-size rug with Flor tiles.

There was enough room above the foundation wall for bookshelves, which my lovely husband custom made for me. Whenever possible we used built-ins to maximize storage space and keep the floor clear.

Notice the tree holding up my house

Since this room doesn’t have any windows, I wanted a splash of bright color. We painted the shelves a rich emerald green, Sherwin Williams Kilkenny.

The old view facing the street.

This area has windows on two sides, so we made it into a bright, sunny guest bedroom. It's separated from the family room by french doors, which we usually keep open to let light in.

It's not a huge bedroom, but we carved out space for built ins whenever possible to eke out extra storage.

Just inside the door, we recessed this area for a dresser and installed a light above it.

Right outside the guest room is a small wall that hides one of the support beams. (Fun fact! Our house was built in 1897, and the support beams are actually trees!) Next to the support beam, we carved out a space for board games and my husband built these beautiful floating shelves. The creepy clown chest was a thrift store find and holds smaller card games and also, nightmares.

This is affectionately known as our Chinese Restaurant wall. Instead of having a large aquarium out in the room, we created a window that gives it a built in look and frees up floor space. It will be easy enough for future owners to close it up if, for some insane reason, they don't like it. The white doors lead to our unfinished storage area.

Facing the back of the house [BEFORE]

We built in the TV and gaming systems to keep things from bumping out into the room, but I really wish we had put an electric fireplace there and now I can't stop thinking about adding one somehow. Behind the weird banana painting is a half bath and a small utility closet.

We weren't able to squeeze a shower into this bathroom, which was super disappointing. I comforted myself with a stunning wallpaper from Anthropologie. The sink is Ikea and I had a piece of mirror cut to fit this vintage frame.

If you're thinking, "This would be an amazing apartment for an adult child to live in after college rent-free!" then please award yourself a cookie. My son agrees!


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