Best Finished Basement Over $30,000
When Paul and Rhonda Keckley bough their 5,000-plus-square-foot Brentwood home three years ago, it wasn’t the first time they bought a house with an unfinished basement.
Their previous home had a basement, but back then they had young children, and finishing a basement wasn’t a priority.
As their boys became teenagers, Josh, 17, and Jordan, 14, a separate space to watch movies, play games, and shoot pool quickly rose to the top of the Keckley’s wish list.
“We wanted our children’s friends to come over here and have a place to hang out,” Rhonda explained. “And Josh needed a soundproof room to practice his drums and bass guitar.”
Less than a year after moving in, Rhonda contracted with David Crane of Crane Builders, LLC of Nashville to finish the 1,700 -square-foot basement into a media/game room, complete with a separate studio, study, and full bath.
Last June at the Southern Building Show in Charlotte, North Carolina, company president David Crane brought home the Chrysalis Award for Remodeling Excellence. It was the category winner for the Best Finished Basement Over $30,000. (The remodeling project also won third place for basements, one of 13 categories in Qualified Remodeler Magazine’s 2001 Master Design Awards).
Although Crane has specialized in custom remodeling of residential homes for more than 10 years in the greater Nashville area, surprisingly, this was the first year Crane, a Williamson County resident, entered either contest.
Sponsored by Professional Remodeler magazine, Crane was judged and selected from more than 600 entries in various categories by staff members from Homestyles.com and Southern Living and Sunset magazines. Each entry was evaluated on overall design, creative use of space and materials and whether the project enhanced the original structure.
“The purpose of the awards is to identify remodeling companies who are the best at what they do,” says award Ken Kanline. “To win a Chrysalis Award in this hotly contested category on the first attempt is a wonderful achievement.”
Here’s how Crane and interior designer Eric Ross of Eric Ross Interiors in Spring Hill and Norwalk Furniture, transformed the raw space.
12 steel posts were the first design obstacle
Before even entering the competition, Crane had to overcome some structural obstacles. Working closely with Ross, who suggested boxing in each post, Crane created fluted columns that visually connect with shallow arches.
While some were used to define the media room from the pool area, a series form a built-in entertainment area that includes a large-screen television and bookshelves with cabinets underneath.
One of the posts had to go. To provide space for a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, sink, ice maker and cabinets, the post was removed and a steel beam was installed over the kitchen area to support the weight of the two floors above.
The homeowners’ only request: “No dropped ceilings or florescent lighting.”
“When Rhonda called and said that they were going to finish their basement, all she said was that she thought there should be finished columns and ‘no dropped ceilings. It also has to be livable,'” Ross recalled.
To hide ductwork, trey ceilings, were cut into the 10-foot-tall ceiling. Ross also strategically placed recessed lighting to wash the walls in a soft glow.
A set of iron sconces on either end of the open space balance the lighting and add architectural detail without becoming focal points. To compliment the upstairs’ millwork, crown molding defines each edge.
White and stained millwork were quickly eliminated.
After carefully considering all his options, Ross suggested using a deep carmel color for the millwork and coating the walls in a shade of café-au-lait. When the Keckleys get ready to sell someday, Ross says the future owner would have the option of turning the space into a Florida room by painting the woodwork white and simply lightening the walls.
Natural stone was the best flooring choice
To determine the type of flooring for the media/game room, Ross paid close attention to how the space would be used. Although the carpet was used in the study and studio, it was quickly eliminated as a possibility for the main room because of the high probability of drink spills.
Ceramic was considered too slick a surface and the potential for a water leak caused Ross to eliminate the choice of hardwoods. Although the cost is significant (but he says about the same for similar ceramic tile when installed), Ross suggested Asian slate to enhance the Old World design created by the columns and arches. A sculpted, bordered rug compliments the media space.
Ross chose bronze chenille to cover a new low, loose back, overstuffed sectional.
“The black wrap intensifies the dimension of the fabric,” he said. He also suggested a brushed steel and glass table because “it cleans up easily.”
An oak pool table with black felt adds to the monochromatic theme. “It’s a very masculine color palette,” Ross added.
Best test is how often the space is used
Jordan and Josh’s friends aren’t the only guests who enjoy the remodeled basement. Paul and Rhonda’s friends and extended families also gravitate to the new-finished space.
“We’ve had as many as 70 people over for a Super Bowl party,” Rhonda said.
And the cost? As in most remodeling projects, the Keckley spent more than they had planned. But in the end, Rhonda says it was worth it.
Josh chimes in, “Now my friends come over in bulk.”