Upping the ante in the lower level
Big screens and even bigger sound, designer chairs and smart lights that slowly dim as the movie starts rolling make basement home theatres more sought-after then ever.
Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, Vancouver Sun
What’s hot in the home’s coolest area? Here’s what the pros consider the top 10 must-haves.
1. HOME THEATRES Big screens and even bigger sound, designer chairs and smart lights that slowly dim as the movie starts rolling make home theatres more sought-after then ever. Perfect for cocooning after a rough day in the big world.
2. BELLY UP De rigueur in 1960s rec rooms, sweet watering holes are back. Now they’re bigger and better, says Norm Lecuyer, president of Just Basements. Full-on pub-style bars with pull taps, granite counters and subtle lighting mean you may never want to leave home
3. WINE CELLARS Temperature-controlled with glass doors and an ultra-sleek look — a fine vintage never had such a good friend.
4. FULL KITCHENS Some families do nearly all their cooking below stairs, reserving the main floor kitchen for show or entertaining, says Donna Correy, owner of Ottawa’s KISS Design Group. In fact, she created an entire basement kitchen f or the million-dollar-plus dream home that’s the main prize in this year’s Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario lottery.
5. PLAYROOMS Play structures, toy storage areas and other kid-friendly features give new meaning to an old term.
6. FUN AND GAMES Fuzzball, air hockey, pool and Ping-Pong tables: basement games rooms are on the rise. One of Correy’s clients even set up an entire floor hockey rink using old NHL boards and glass.
7. FITNESS ROOMS With the advent of compact, affordable exercise equipment, fitness buffs are increasingly trucking downstairs instead of down to the gym. However, Correy notes that many men still prefer the gym, while women often like the privacy of home workouts.
8. HOSE-DOWNS Spa-like bathrooms with steam and body-jet showers, whirlpool tubs, and high-end fixtures: just the thing after a sweaty session in the fitness room.
9. CONCRETE FLOORS Old-school, yes, but up-to-the-minute when you add cosy, radiant floor heat and tart up the concrete with stained, stamped or stencilled pizzazz. Also in vogue: engineered hardwood and ceramic tile.
10. BRIGHT WORLD Reds, blues, yellows, oranges, greens: be bold when painting, especially accent walls which can splash your basement with colour and character. Wall sconces at a little over six feet and casting light downward can create the illusion of greater ceiling height, says the experts. If you need to sometimes close off your stairwell, use a light-transmitting French door.