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Emma's Bachelorette
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Chances are, if you are moving into a basement apartment in an older building, it will look like this one. Emma's place had wall paneling that cast a gloomy, yellowing light over the entire space. There were support beams stuck in the middle that can't be eliminated as they hold up the house. Ugly carpet and vinyl covered the floors, and the kitchenette was serviceable but dated. Not much to welcome the free spirit of a young woman.


It's hard to believe that this fresh, cheerful abode is a basement apartment. It has been transformed with color and a few clever design tricks. A partition was built to separate the living and sleeping areas, with bookshelves for much needed storage on the living room side. A grid of thin strips of wood was added to the flat side, which acts as an oversized headboard for the bed with lights installed for reading. This was all painted in Emma's favorite color--raspberry.

The Retro orange counter in the tiny kitchen is back in fashion again, but we updated the cabinets with paint that gives the appearance of hammered metal for the uppers, and a deeper burnt orange below the counter. A hanging storage unit divides the kitchen from the living area, and we built another ingenious storage system using a sheet of aluminum and a series of stainless steel cups, containers and tins to hold everything from fresh spices to small cooking utensils.

Reflection and sheen will always produce the illusion of space, so we put this rule to work in many forms. The paneled walls were painted flat white and then striped with high gloss varnish. Light plays off the alternating sheens creating a shadow stripe effect that adds height and space to the room.

There is also a wall of framed mirror in the living area and the kitchen backsplash is mirrored tile decorated with vibrant orange grout.

Low level furnishings keep the room in comfortable scale, and full-length curtains are hung over the small basement windows.

The white walls and white cork floor let the room breathe, while the raspberry partition and orange and steel gray kitchen are young and hip, and the perfect antidote for this fabulous Facelift.

Click on the small photographs on the right to view each of the different angles of the room.

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