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As is often the case when you live in one spot for a number of years, this basement was an overcrowded jumble of worn out, mismatched furniture and an accumulation of junk that hadn't made it out the door yet. Sagging ceiling tiles and holes in the wall paneling were signals that it was time to take stock. With a house full of teenagers, dad felt it was their job to fix up the chaos they had, in large part, created.
Although dad was thinking of knotty pine and stucco for his future basement redo, I thought that an updated 70s look would be more fun and would suit the character of his busy gang of teens. Glossy, walnut stained veneer paneling for the walls and exotic leaf green vinyl floor tiles look very cool indeed. The durable floor tiles have the appearance of hammered metal, and make a great surface for the computer table as well. The new ceiling is now a fabulous focal point instead of an eye sore! The painted tiles are easy to produce, and replace.
The basement room is long and narrow, which is a design challenge described as bowling alley syndrome. I solved this by using pared down furniture, and divided the space into separate zones so that all the kids could do their own thing without falling over each other. The geometric pattern on the ceiling also helps to break up the length of the room.
There's rarely enough space for more than one person at the computer, so I set up a long table made from a hollow core door and supplied plenty of chairs. This work/play area is set up at one end of the room so a small group can gather round.
In the lounge area, I placed a slim sofa along the side of the room directly across from the flat-screen TV. Storage is simple and accessible. Inexpensive shelving units have been turned on their sides and stacked in cube formation around the TV. We also built two small round coffee tables, which help to keep the traffic flowing -- and there are no pointed corners to bump into.
If possible, the laundry room underwent an even bigger transformation. With all the junk removed and every surface painted white, this space became an inviting spot in which to work. We installed a new washer and dryer, some cleverly designed storage units, and cheerful fabric cover-ups to complete the Facelift.
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To get a work surface large enough to accommodate the gang, custom build your own table from a hollow core door. The edges are finished with 1 1/2" x 1 3/4" bullnose trim, mitered at the corners, primed and painted. The same hammered aluminum-look vinyl tiles used on the floor have been cut to size and glued to the top. The table legs come with castors and mounting brackets.
A good quality oil-based primer was applied to the many different surfaces -- concrete, drywall, wood, and the metal ducts to prepare them properly for paint. The all-white paint job transforms the room into a fresh, clean unified space. Note: Do not paint over copper pipes.
Storage solutions are easy to find today with well-designed shelving, boxes, and crates in metal, wood, laminate and fabric finishes.
The small round coffee tables are built on castors and have lazy-Susans installed inside. The top and base (23" diameter) and frame strips (14 7/8" x 2") were cut from 3/4" plywood,. 3/8" flexible plywood is wrapped around the frame and a 16" opening cut. Round mirror cut at the glass store is glued to the top and trimmed with door edge moulding.
Ethereal images of the eight kids illuminate the computer wall. We built aluminum light boxes lit from within by battery powered fluorescent lights. A portrait of each child was blown up and transferred onto acetate along with a sky background.
A natural palette of nutty browns and light, leafy green produces an inviting mood in this teen hangout. Inexpensive but upbeat design details, including the geometric ceiling pattern and cube-style shelving are easy and fun to make. The birch veneer paneling is finished with a rich, oil-based walnut stain and gloss varnish.
Masonite sheets were cut into 16-inch squares and then painted to create the new ceiling. It's important to prime both sides of the tiles to seal, and then apply a base coat. We cut a stencil for painting the diagonal stripes. The ceiling was framed and the tiles nailed in place with an 18 gauge brad nailer. Draw your pattern to scale on paper first, and install the tiles working from the middle out. For paint colours click on resources.
Vinyl floor tiles are also laid on the stair treads and we added a bullnose trim to the steps. These design details link up the stairs with the new floor and the computer desk. If you are painting a staircase that must be used while you are working, paint every other step and give the paint four or five days to dry and cure before walking on the fresh paint.
Storage Around The TV
Cube-style open storage is built up around the TV by turning laminate and wood units on their sides and stacking them up against the wall. Each unit is solidly attached to the wall for stability. The backs were taken off the white laminate cases, painted in a bright combination of colours (see resources) and reattached.
Today, durable vinyl tiles are available in every pattern you can imagine from wood, slate and ceramic to pebbles and water. These pale leaf green, 2' x 2' tiles from LSI Flooring have the mod look of hammered aluminum. Please click on resources for details.