Give your basement an extreme makeover

Turning an unfinished basement into an entertainment center gave a big family some much needed elbow room.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Kate Ashford, Money Magazine contributing writer

bar.03.jpg
powder_room.jpg
home_theater.jpg
The numbers
Purchased in 2005 for:
$775,000
Basement renovation costs:
$195,000
Other renovations:
$67,000
Market value today:
$1.2 million
Mortgage Rates
30 yr fixed 4.26%
15 yr fixed 3.30%
5/1 ARM 3.30%
30 yr refi 4.25%
15 yr refi 3.29%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

(Money Magazine) -- Though Beth and Ken Wilson's 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home in Union, Ky. wasn't exactly cramped when they bought it in 2005, they yearned for a space that could accommodate the passions of their two oldest sons (their three boys are now 17, 12 and 2) yet allow adults to enjoy activities too. So shortly after they purchased the home, the couple decided to turn the house's dark, mostly unfinished 2,000-square-foot basement into a livable lower level.

Besides adding a bedroom and a powder room, the Wilsons dedicated about half the space to the hobbies of teenage boys, with a home theater, a pool table (top right), a Ping-Pong table and an area specifically for Xbox playing.

That still left plenty of space for an exercise room for Beth and Ken, as well as a full bar. And for the family's common interests as well: Come Saturday night, the Wilsons watch movies on the 92-inch projection screen in the home theater (lower right), which is wired for surround sound. "We can all be down there but not bothering each other," says Ken.

Before the renovation, the vast majority of the basement was wasted space. The new rooms have full carpeting ($6,800) and ceilings and walls that match the rest of the house ($12,200). The fluted columns and arches on the walls around the home theater are in a classic Greco-Roman style ($11,500).

For about $7,000, a small closet was turned into a powder room (right, center), with tile flooring that matches the bar area. Besides the Wood-Mode cabinetry ($16,425) and a black granite top ($6,500), the bar also has a lot of typical kitchen amenities, says project lead Neal Hendy, including a refrigerator ($1,150) and a dishwasher ($700). Kichler pendant fixtures overhead ($300) cast a soft light.

What was the payoff?

When the basement remodel was complete, the Wilsons had gained more than 1,000 square feet of living space. Smart move, says local realtor Jane Ashcraft-West, who recently saw the home. Purchasing electronics for the new home theater and wiring the entire house for media was also a good investment: "Buyers at that price point do a lot of entertaining," she says.

Finishing a basement dos & don'ts

DO: Add Lots of Outlets Appliances, exercise equipment and televisions will all need a source of electricity.

DON'T: Chop Up the Floor If you need power in the middle of the room, it's more attractive and cost-effective to put the outlets on a column.

DO: Go Bright Overhead But add fixtures and dimmers when necessary to fine-tune the effect.

DON'T: Keep All the Light Above The under-side of upper cabinets, for example, can provide a great place for hidden lights over countertops.

DO: Use Real Wood Columns made of natural wood cost $200 more than the painted-on version but will look good for a decade.

DON'T: Overdecorate Crowded Rooms Patterned wall coverings or floor finishes in tight spaces can get claustrophobic.

DO: Make Use of Existing Framing Place pipes and ducts against ceiling beams to lessen their visual impact.

DON'T: Sheetrock the Ceiling You don't want to lose your access to the pipes. Plus, you'll save $2,000 to $3,000 if you use a drop ceiling instead.

Duo Dickinson - an architect in Madison, Conn. - contributed to this article.  To top of page

Find mortgage rates in your area


Send feedback to Money Magazine
Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
8 CEOs who took a pay cut in 2013 Median CEO pay inched up 9% in 2013 to $13.9 million. But not everyone got a bump last year. Here are eight CEOs who missed out. More
7 businesses Amazon wants to shake up From industrial supplies to educational software, Amazon is about more than just retail and books. More
Don't miss these Tax Day deals From massages and paper shredding to cookies and queso, celebrate the end of tax season with these Tax Day freebies and discounts. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.