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One Room Challenge: A Coastal Chic Basement Remodel

by - Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Today is the most exciting day, friends! We finally get to share all of our hard work over the last eight weeks and show you our basement remodel. It's One Room Challenge reveal day. Come on in!

If you're new to Rambling Renovators, welcome! My name is Jennifer. I'm an e-Designer and social media strategist and I've been writing this blog since 2007. I live with my husband and daughter in Toronto, Canada in a centre-plan, colonial style house that we've infused with the fresh traditional style we love. We DIY all our renovations and have a fondness for architectural details, built-ins, and classic decor.

A Coastal Chic Basement

basement games table with white pendant and long tableskirt and bistro chairs

I am beyond thrilled with how this basement turned out. While this wasn't an exceptionally complicated renovation, it was time consuming and had many moving parts. And it was a race to the finish... our countertop installation was delayed due to the pandemic and only happened on Monday and as a result we installed and grouted the kitchenette backsplash, floating shelf and one wall of wallpaper less than 24 hours ago!!

But none of that matters now. I'm just happy we got it all done in time so let me walk you through the basement and all of the changes that have happened here.   

The Stairwell and Landing

basement remodel, coastal basement, white basement, basement stairwell

Let's start at the top of the basement stairs. These stairs sit in a narrow corridor between our front entry and kitchen. I knew that I wanted there to be a focal point here in this stairwell, something to draw you in. The Randolph semi-flush mount light and the pair of abstract prints leave this area feeling bright and updated. I love how the light has an opal glass shade and casts light in all directions. We also updated some of the walls with new drywall, added baseboard, and painted all of the basement walls in Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117.

basement remodel, coastal basement, white basement, basement stairs

The basement landing has had a dramatic transformation. Here, you start to get a sense of the coastal style that I've used throughout the basement. The craft room door was repainted in a navy shade in order to better work with the rest of the colours found throughout the basement. We took out the flooring and replaced it with the same laminate flooring we had in the craft room. We also removed the iron railing, replaced the baseboards and door trim, and had a new handrail installed. 

The shiplap on the knee wall was a spontaneous decision. The adjoining rooms both have shiplap so adding it here only made sense. Repeating elements is a big part of this basement design and helps the entire basement feel like a cohesive space. 

basement stairs with shiplap and striped ottomans; basement stair rail painted

One change we haven't made (yet) is updating the carpet on the stairs. The pandemic played havoc with our plans so this change had to wait. The carpet is still in good condition but I anticipate that will be the next update... either refinish the stairs with new treads or install a new carpet.

I've decorated this area very simply so as not to impede traffic flow. The ceramic buoy is one I bought years ago, and I've been waiting for just this moment to install it in the basement. The striped ottomans from Wovenbyrd add playful pattern and tuck in nicely into this corner. They can be easily pulled into the living area for extra seating for guests.

white basement walls with laundry room door decal and matte black handle

We also took the opportunity to make some minor enhancements in this area. We installed a new  bifold door for the storage area (like all our bifolds, the old one kept falling off!) and I made a Laundry room decal on my Cricut machine, to match the one on the craft room door. The matte black handles from Schlage help ground the airy nautical scheme. 

Let's move into the living space.

basement remodel, coastal basement, white basement, basement games table

I'm so excited to show you this room!! The first and most important change we made here was extending the wall on the left. Adding two feet to this wall gave us the opportunity to completely rework the layout and place the furniture in a more functional way. 

What's your idea of a basement? For our family, we envisioned using this space for family movie nights, playing games, and entertaining. We were able to create three zones to meet our needs: the games table, the seating and TV area, and the kitchenette.

The Games Table

This games area is defined by the Viceroy pendant over a small round table. We can sit here and play board games, Chloe can hang out here with her friends, or we can have guests eat down here for large family parties. 

basement remodel, coastal basement, white basement, basement games table

I really wanted to play with the idea of formal vs. casual in this space. I wanted the basement to be fun and relaxing, but also have that refined style and traditional touches that you see throughout the rest of our home, which is why I've clad the table in a floor length tableskirt and paired it with chic striped bistro chairs. I sewed the table skirt myself using Madaket Plaid fabric from Calico and will have a tutorial coming soon.

boat wallpaper, navy blue wallpaper, coastal wallpaper, faux black window frame

Faux Black Frame Windows

One very fun element you might have noticed are the faux black frame windows! I've struggled deciding what basement window coverings to use here and came up with no satisfying solutions. The white windows really stood out (in a bad way!) against the deep blue wallpaper so I knew something needed to be done. And then a week ago, Sean had the idea to make fake windows that were similar to metal and black painted windows that are so popular these days. 

Sadly, he was so quick to implement his idea, that I don't have any progress photos or tutorials to share with you. He simply made the frame out of two sizes of wood, then we got pieces of 1/8" acrylic from my cousin who works for a plastics manufacturer. We put frosted window film on the clear acrylic to help diffuse the light (and hide the ugly vinyl windows behind). Just a note if you are interest in trying this yourself: acrylic sheets can be very expensive so keep that in mind. 

basement remodel, coastal basement, white basement, basement games table

The Antique Kayaks Blueprint wallpaper really makes the coastal motif obvious. I've always been drawn to two different decorating styles, traditional and coastal, and this basement is a way to bring that breezy feeling to our city home.

The navy wallpaper is a bold choice for me but I intentionally wanted to bring more colour down here. I had the wallpaper designer scale the kayaks larger so they would suit the size the room. Since the wallpaper is only on two walls, it doesn't overwhelm the space.

Seating and TV Area

basement tv, hisense roku tv, shiplap fireplace, tile fireplace, fireplace remodel

One of the best decisions we made was to keep and update this fireplace. We didn't demolish the stone... it's all there underneath the new facade!

Shiplap and Tile Fireplace

Once the fireplace technician confirmed we were able to move the existing insert forward safely, Sean built new framing for the shiplap. We also incorporated a concealed chase for the TV wires, but surprisingly, we didn't need to use it at all! We were able to tuck the cable box behind the TV and hold it in place with Velcro. Gorgeous tile from The Tile Shop, a stained wood wrap, and painted hearth help to give the fireplace a modern look.

The TV itself, the Hisense Canada 58" 4K Ultra HD Roku TV, is what movie night dreams are made of. We've only had it up for a few days, but I'm already in love with the Roku system which allows us to access cable TV and all of our subscriptions (Netflix, Apple TV, Prime Video, Disney+, Spotify) in one easy menu.

bemz karlstad sofa cover, basement remodel, coastal basement, white basement

Across from the TV, we've placed our IKEA Karlstad sofa. It looks fresh, new, and more traditional with this skirted slipcover from Bemz in a natural linen colour. (Tip: we've kept the old covers on underneath to give the slipcover a more fitted, tight fit). 

The long lumbar and plaid pillows are ones I've sewn using fabric from Calico, while the leaf pillow and pink stripe pillow are from Spoonflower. Above the sofa, we've hung this large beach print. Its colours echo the colours you see throughout the basement space. The custom bowl by Jill Rosenwald (Coper bowl in Pripet pattern) has become the prettiest pinky peach popcorn bowl.

alamont table lamp, basement remodel, basement layout

To ground this space, I've added in a few touches of black. The ivory and charcoal rug is a modern take on plaid and provides softness underfoot. The Alamont table lamp continues the beachy feel, with textured stripes in grey and beige and a wood base and finial.  I've purposefully displayed the lamp on a shorter table. With the sofa and armchairs, it gives this seating area a low-slung retro vibe.

The Kitchenette

The most exciting new addition to the basement has to be the kitchenette. We took this blank wall and transformed it into a highly functional space with beverage fridge, sink, and ample storage.

Note that the floating shelves hadn't completely set (we installed them about 5 hours before these photos were taken!) so I wasn't able to style the shelves with too many things. I'll definitely restyle and update these photos!

basement kitchenette, wet bar, basement remodel, basement bar, Kitch cabinet doors

basement kitchenette, wet bar, basement remodel, basement bar, Kitch cabinet doors

Making this wet bar happen was no easy feat. First, Sean had to drill through the concrete wall on the left to bring through the plumbing lines from the adjacent laundry room. Next step was to build the IKEA Sektion base cabinets. To really give this kitchenette a custom look, we used doors from Kitch. I selected their 3DL Shaker doors in the colour Mist, a beautiful soft sandy beige colour. For larger, permanent pieces like these cabinets, I tend to opt for neutral colours that I won't tire of easily. The custom grey laminate countertop and grey tiles continue that natural feel.

The beverage fridge was a must have in this kitchenette design. It'll be great for family parties and just convenient for when we're hanging out in the basement.

You'll notice I've repeated the black accents in this area. The Moen Patterson faucet, handles and backplate are sculpturally beautiful and bring interest. I don't hesitate to mix metals so I've used these gorgeous Stanley brass sconces above. The brass details and glass orb shade feel very nautical in a refined, elegant way.

basement kitchenette, wet bar, basement remodel, basement bar

Basements can feel very cold and stark so I've added warmth with wood details throughout the room. The floating shelves, also from Kitch, help define this wall and provide a space for display. I've accessorized them simply with a pair of prints from Minted, dishware, and containers.  

On this bare wall, we've added a simple wooden peg rail. It's a handy spot to display tea towels and an apron.

Looking towards the other end of the room, you get an entirely different view of this space. It used to be cluttered with toys but now is a defined and classic space. I'm a fan of symmetry and clean lines so the way the window, pendant, artwork, and table all line up makes me happy.

Here you see how the spaces tie together. Even though we made the opening smaller, these rooms don't feel any more cramped. Instead, they feel sized just right and flow seamlessly one into the other.

The Basement At Night

One thing to consider when designing a basement space is how it will feel at night. This is especially true if your basement is a main TV watching space. You want the room to feel comfortable, calm, and have ample lighting sources to set the mood.

We're ready for the next games night or movie marathon!

I hope you've enjoyed this tour of our basement. Thank you to all of you who have followed this journey over the last eight weeks. We love to share our DIYs, our design ideas, and are immensely proud of all of the work we did on this space. If I can help you design your home, don't hesitate to reach out!

Lastly, none of this would have been possible without the support of the One Room Challenge, its sponsors, and media sponsor Better Homes & Gardens. Thank you to Linda for including me as a Featured Designer and giving me the opportunity to work with these amazing brands. I hope you will check them out and consider their beautiful quality products for your own home. 

Now please click over and visit the spaces of my fellow Featured Designers. I'm sure they will be gorgeous and inspiring!

Product List:



Sacred Beginning No.1Sacred Beginning No. 2Palm trees printSurfer printBeach Houses printCeramic buoy; Set of 4 Sessions boat photographs (vintage) painted in Swedish Gray chalk paint and Rub n Buff Grecian Gold; Framed boat painting (vintage)

Building Materials:

IKEA Karlstad sofa; Karlstad 3 Seater Sofa Cover in Belgian Linen Blend Unbleached, Regular fit, Long skirt; Swivel arm chairs; Coffee table (wood refinished); Dining table in Antique Denim, Striped bistro chairs; Striped ottomans

Textiles and Decor:
Hisense Canada 58" 4K Ultra HD Roku TVKlein Ivory/Charcoal rugCoper bowl in Pripet design; Plaid tableskirt (sewn); Blue plaid pillow (sewn); Striped lumbar pillow (sewn); Floral lumbar pillow in Tonya Floral Ralph Lauren fabric (no longer available); Grid pillow front and back (sewn); Banana Leaf pillow; Pink stripe pillow; Throw blanket in Celosia Velvet; Blue boxes; Brass planter (vintage); Striped crock (vintage)

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