Our homeowners, a pair of busy doctors, were in desperate need of extra play space for their two pre-teen children. This 1,700 square foot daylight basement in Southwest Portland went virtually unused except to store Christmas decorations and a mish-mash of cheap furniture collected throughout the years. The dark wood paneling, unused fireplace, maze of hallways, low ceilings, and a cramped, outdated bathroom only added to its unpopularity with the family. An oversized guest bedroom took up valuable spacebut sat empty except for two or three times a year.Ironically, the worst style offender, the unfinished under-house garage got the most traffic because that was where the ping pong table lived. Unfortunately, it was at the opposite end of the home and out of mom’s earshot.
Knowing this would be a large undertaking both financially and logistically, the homeowners considered moving and even looked at otherhomes on a couple of occasions. But in the end, their love of the SW Vista Hills neighborhood and close proximity to schools, work and downtown, led them to the decision to stay and remodel. Enter Mosaik Design& Remodeling and interior designer Jenny Guggenheim with Fig Design Studio.
This basement remodel is the perfect example of skillful, sustainable design, since reclaiming space you already have instead of adding on is kinder to the environment, less costly and far less disruptive than moving. The best design for this lower level was a clever, multi-purpose approach that would satisfy each family member’s needs, personal style and interests. The new design included removing almost every wall by adding large steel beams, raising the ceilings by reworking both furnaces and the ductwork, sealing each and every air gap, adding new soundproof insulation, new 4 inchwhite oak hardwood flooring, installing all new windows and opening up the staircase. The under-house garage was divided and became a perfectly-sized guest bedroom on one side with a storage and workout area, complete with a plasma TV, on the other.
We wanted to create a livable, well-functioning space for this family, but more importantly, we wanted to create a space that told a personal story about the people that live here. So, we began collecting memorabilia, artwork, old photos, and many other sentimental items to help tell their story. Among these is the baseball glove that belonged to the mom’s father, who passed away during the project construction. She said it brought back wonderful childhood memories of when they attended Mariner’s practice games together to catch balls. It now holds a place of honor in a custom, locally-made display case above the kitchenette.
The kitchenette, easily accessed from both main areas, houses a microwave drawer, an undercounter fridge and even a disposal at the sink. All area must-haves for hungry, messy kids and their friends, says homeowner mom. The colorful glass backsplash brings everything together and the hardworking quartz countertop ties in with the blue-grey cabinetry and custom sofa. Chrome corbels from Rejuvenation, which originally held train luggage racks, now add vintage charm and integrate seamlessly into the travel theme.
The homeowner’s love of the Portland Trailblazers and the Seattle Mariners is especially evident in the new ping pong room. The life-sized poster of Clyde Drexler, with it’s reclaimed fir frame, takes center stage along with the custom-framed kid’s artwork, signed by then-Mariner Ichiro Suzuki. The couple purchased a foosball table to round out the total experience and have another game available for multiple groups of friends. Finally, stadium lighting, locally produced sustainable furniture topped with reclaimed fir and pops of red against the blue-grey and white walls, give this space a fun, contemporary industrial vibe. Originally, we planned to paint the walls in here “Blazer Red”, but as time went on, it didn’t feel right and I was losing sleep! When we landed on the blue-grey, everything fell into place.
Another central theme for this remodel was the family’s love of travel, which was incorporated into the family room area. A large, colorful wall map is a playful focal point that also allows the kids to place stickers on all of the places they have visited. During the remodel, the family traveled to Spain, which was the inspiration for the incredible local “collage” style paintings of each child. They take their place of importance on the entertainment center, lit with art lights. The collection of vintage globes, Moroccan poufs, pillows in globally-inspired fabric, the guest bedroom dresser and hand-printed wallpaper were also inspired by their recent trip, evoking excitement for the next journey.
The fresh blue Eames chair, custom rug design made from FLOR tile squares and beautiful blue-grey cabinetry are all complimented with the super comfortable, low maintenance, grey sofa–locally made of course. Behind the cabinet doors are custom partitions for more than 150+ DVD’s, board games, gaming storage and media components.
The bathroom remodel was greatly improved with layers of lighting, the perfect yellow paint and an open shower with glass mosaics and a pebble floor. The vintage fixtures from Schoolhouse Electric add a bit of whimsy along with the towel “hooks” sourced at a local salvage store, Old Portland Hardware. The mirror frame, built from reclaimed fir, really adds a sense of warmth when paired with the newly framed “Portland” artwork that was previously collecting dust in an upstairs office!
One of the most refreshing things about this project was the homeowner’s complete trust in Mosaik Design & Remodeling. It is not very often that you get to have complete aesthetic control. Also, the kid’s were really involved with the project, sat in on many presentations and helped with the DVD storage and pouf selections. They were having as much fun throughout this whole process as we were and spend most of their time in their newly remodeled space by showing it off to their friends as often as they can. As they have both said, “Who wouldn’t want to be here all of the time? It has everything you would ever want as a kid”. Our homeowners couldn’t be happier with their newly reclaimed square footage. Now, the “kids can just be kids” while mom listens to them laugh and play—music to her ears.