House Tour: The Basement

BASEMENT-1“Basement” seems is a cold and unfeeling word, which doesn’t describe this part of this house, in which we spend roughly 70% of our waking hours. It’s like a little chalet, or a lounge, or a den. It’s very much original to the house, with the brick fireplace, built-in bar and wood paneling everywhere (we believe there was a shuffleboard court once [it’s a real thing], but it got carpeted over). This room has also made the most dramatic change (in a house where there has been little, if any, structural change). I wish I would’ve taken progress photos over the years, but luckily I have some (appropriately shitty) photos I took when we had our appraisal done… Over 4 years ago. (Our house birthday was September 9. Woo!).IMG_4012It’s hard to tell from this terrible photo, but the ceiling was once almost a foot lower (over the living area) and we had a teeny window that was never opened. Also, there was that pedestal. It was handy, but when Alan and his dad raised the ceiling they tore it out, and what we’d LOVE to do is to incase it in some sort of natural wood, to give the effect of a tree branch acting as load-bearer. I don’t think we can work it out though, so for now it remains a long metal pole. The house came with all this furniture. We kept the coffee table (in the back) and the futon, and the TV stand for the longest time. In fact, we only upgraded TV units this weekend: BASEMENT-11We’ve had a ton of parties over the years, many of which involve watching the TV (football games, Oscars parties), and having the TV in the corner always worked really well. But, finding a corner-friendly TV unit is almost impossible. It was never a big priority to swap it out. Just wanted to take our time in finding one. Once we got the new egress window put in, and the room started coming together even more, it was something we were thinking about a lot. Eventually I suggested finding a long unit to put flush with the wall, but we’d but the TV on the end and rotate it out. That was a deceptively simple solution. So, where to find such a unit? Why, IKEA of course. It’s our answer to everything. The STOCKHOLM collection is really excellent, and goes perfectly in our house. It’s the same route we used to solve our credenza problem as well. Affordable, stylish furniture. That should be everybody’s right. BASEMENT-2The last twelve months have seen us make the most changes in this room. The side table was our anniversary gift to ourselves from this shop in Duluth. This little couch here is from IKEA (of course, but also, kind of surprising). It doesn’t seem to be available any longer. It was a special limited edition and it had a matching chair too. Mm, those danish angles! We replaced the futon (see above) with this. It’s not exactly the cushiest basement furniture, but it really gave us a more sophisticated style to go with. Up until then, we weren’t quite sure where we should go. A basement living area that is an extension of the upstairs living room, or something a little more overstuffed and “den” like, I guess. I feel like basements tend to get overlooked when it comes to decorating. I feel really lucky that Alan has been so open and adaptive to this style. When we met, I don’t think he knew the first thing about Mid-Century Modern. Now, he is the one finding a lot of this stuff. BASEMENT-12Most especially: this coffee table, which is one of the only non-IKEA products in the room. Whereas I get impatient finding furniture (because I also tend to shop within the confines of my own personal budget, instead of our combined incomes), Alan will dig deep and find some really good pieces. The downside of this table is that it took so long to get to us, and the first table top was all dinged up. But we got a replacement, and it’s stellar! It’s from Bryght (and it’s on sale right now). BASEMENT-14The main couch is a KARLSTAD, which is the same as in our living room (we ultimately decided on it because it came in the same fabric as the smaller couch). BASEMENT-3 BASEMENT-8Alright, let’s move along. BASEMENT-6Now THIS is way more “den”. The dart board came with the house! It meant that we should get a pool table (left corner), which we found for $25 and it’s in fine condition (just not in use at the moment because it’s kind of holding a bunch of stuff). Anyway, this is kind of the “nerd” center of the house. It holds all the board games, and right now Alan’s been going through all his MTG cards. Often there will be game nights in this area. The table used to be in the dining room (it *also* came with the house). Anyway, it’s a little bit rambly shambly right now, but it just wouldn’t be right not to show it. BASEMENT-7BASEMENT-13There she is, our very own bar. Cool stools, right? They came with the house, and they were one of my very favorite things when we moved in. Over the years we’ve accumulated probably far too many souvenir pint glasses; more than we would ever need. Also, an odd collection of mixers and other cocktail ingredients. It’s got so much charm though. The screen printed posters are by Adam Turman and Ross Bruggink, respectively. Two artists actually whose work we have peppered throughout the house. Minnesota has tons of excellent poster makers. BASEMENT-4 BASEMENT-5You can see how this bar is in need of some love. It’s suffered a lot of water damage over the years. We’d also talked about getting taps installed at one point, but deemed it excessive, and now we’re starting to think about kids, so probably not a good idea. This bar is 90% aesthetics and 10% usefulness, really. BASEMENT-10Last but not least, Alan’s little office. It certainly seems unfair that I get a whole room and he just gets a corner of the basement right? Yeah, it does. I’m not even going to try to explain it (EXCEPT that I have so much office-y shit, and I sometimes work from home, so it makes sense? Ehhh…) And look! He has the same chair as me. He craftily ‘built’ that desk out of his old desktop and some hairpin legs he found online. Very cool. It’s possible that at some point he’ll move this operation to the other side of the room, but I like having him there so when I’m sitting on the couch we can still hang a little while I’m watching TV / on my laptop. We’re lazy folk.

Hope you enjoyed! It feels so good to finally make this room known. We have some plans for the bare walls which I will be excited to document the progress of.

About the Author

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Hi! I'm a graphic designer, photographer and female person. I live in Minneapolis with my husband Alan and our baby son Alexander and baby cat Arya.

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Basement, House Tour, Ikea

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