August 9, 2022

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My Sweeten Story: A Fashionable Basement Renovation Produces the Final Clear-Slate Makeover

A designer transforms her dank downstairs right into a gleaming artistic zone with renovation assist from Sweeten

“After” photographs by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten

  • Owners: Inside designer Danielle Fennoy tackled her personal packed-with-stuff basement and posted her fashionable basement renovation on Sweeten
  • The place: Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn, New York
  • Main renovation: A basement turns right into a designer’s house workplace (together with laundry and storage) with gallery appears to be like
  • Sweeten common contractor
  • Sweeten’s position: Sweeten matches house renovation tasks with vetted common contractors, providing recommendation, assist, and as much as $50,000 in renovation monetary safety— totally free

Written in partnership with Sweeten house owner Danielle

An unwelcoming basement

Proud. Calm. Organized. It was arduous to think about a visit all the way down to our cellar—a darkish, dank area that I by no means wished to set foot in—summoning these emotions. However renovating this area into a totally functioning, fashionable basement gave us a devoted workspace for my enterprise whereas including a complete ground of residing area to our house. It additionally glad some severe storage wants and gave us an occasional visitor room for household visits.

Danielle-Basement-Earlier than-05

Danielle-Basement-Earlier than-01

Danielle-Basement-Earlier than-04

We stay in a three-family Brooklyn brownstone constructed within the early 1900s. We’ve owned it for three-and-a-half years. I’m Danielle, proprietor of Revamp Inside Design; Jevaun is my husband and a design director; Zidane is our 6-year-old and Katara is our canine. We occupy the parlor, backyard, and cellar ranges of the constructing, and the highest flooring are rental models. 

basement remodel

Since we purchased the place, we now have been redoing it one part at a time, and this was the final of the most important tasks. We wished to do a renovation within the basement, which the earlier proprietor had by no means refinished after a flood years in the past. It wasn’t in nice form: the drywall had been ripped out to stop mould, and the room had no air flow or pure gentle. Junk was accumulating down there. The laundry space was method within the again, and we (I) needed to stroll by means of hell to do a load. It was unhappy.

basement home office

home office

An workplace, storage, and laundry

The area wanted to turn out to be a wonderful workhorse of an workplace. However it needed to operate, too, as a regular basement and retailer our household’s issues in an organized method. We wanted locations for coats, instruments, baggage, and linens. I got here up with this gallery thought with a contemporary, open look, and we posted our basement renovation mission on Sweeten. I wished one wall to retain the uncovered masonry, for texture and grit. For the flooring, I deliberate to pour an epoxy layer over the present concrete. My working joke: If I may stroll by means of the basement barefoot, mission completed! 

Discovering new common contractors

I work within the renovation enterprise, so I initially bid out the job with contractors I’ve labored with. However they have been all tied up with tasks. I didn’t need to have competing deadlines. By way of Sweeten, I met some skilled common contractors. We ended up selecting the contractor who appeared most succesful and most excited concerning the job. The cherry on high: He was insanely straightforward to work with. 

basement seating

living basement

My working joke: If I may stroll by means of the basement barefoot, mission completed! 

Lighting the basement

The aim was to make it brilliant and spacious. After we moved in, our imaginative and prescient included a den and visitor bed room within the basement. Then I began having this recurring (and prescient!) dream during which I used to be working from house, and the conversion plan shifted: I wished to show it right into a design gallery and studio. I wanted a workspace with an enormous, open floor to work with supplies and evaluate giant drawings. Due to this, lighting could be key. Coloration is an enormous a part of what I do and it felt vital to have a brilliant, clean canvas because the backdrop for my work.

washer dryer

I knew that lighting was the side of the redo that will have essentially the most influence. We put in 18 recessed LED ceiling lights; there was not a darkish nook within the room. Susan Chan, a Feng Shui specialist and a good friend, beneficial I add “uplighting”—fixtures that direct the sunshine upwards— to raise the room’s power. I believed she was loopy and couldn’t suppose the best way to make that work—the ceilings are barely eight toes excessive. However boy, was she proper! The attractive pendant fixture I selected made an enormous distinction within the area, including each range to the sunshine and focus over the island.

All white & epoxy flooring

After we cleared out the stuff, the staff sheetrocked the partitions and poured the epoxy ground. The uncovered masonry wall didn’t end up as naturally stunning as we’d hoped it could, however we went with it. The contractors constructed out closets below the steps, put in a storage island for a piece floor, and hung plenty of open shelving. We painted the partitions, flooring, and stairs in an ideal white—not too cool, not too heat. The furnishings plan was the hardest half. I discover a “bonus room”—an every thing area with 10,000 capabilities—the toughest to get proper for my purchasers, and it was no completely different for me. I created a wide-open room and didn’t need the issues I put in it to make it really feel cramped.

basement renovation

basement storage

Attending to the end line

Because the room got here collectively, our contractor stopped by typically, checking on progress and clarifying particulars. He gave me a six-week mission schedule. The job was completed the day he promised. The standard setbacks occurred—development delays, order lags—and our mission had surprises, however the crew stored tempo and we didn’t go over finances. Sweeten additionally provided assist all through the mission, if wanted. 

Wanting on the completed mission, I’ve so many favourite bits, starting with the added area. Every ground of the constructing is about 900 sq. toes, so we elevated usable area by 50 p.c—we now have 2,700 sq. toes. The easiest reward downstairs: the right lighting. I can work across the clock and by no means know what time it’s. I jokingly name it Vegas!

Thanks for sharing your fashionable basement renovation story with us, Danielle, Jevaun, and Zidane!  

Useful resource Supplies:

BASEMENT RESOURCES: Merely White paint: Benjamin Moore. Epoxy flooring: Sourced by common contractor. Recessed Lights: WAC Lighting. Tracer Loop pendant: Luke Mild Co. BL Pole shelving system: Rakks.

Acquire a complete new ground of residing area. Right here’s what to know when renovating your basement.

Sweeten handpicks one of the best common contractors to match every mission’s location, finances, scope, and magnificence. Observe the weblog, Sweeten Tales, for renovation concepts and inspiration and whenever you’re able to renovate, begin your renovation with Sweeten.