Gathering Spaces

These lower-level chill spots feature the best in basement renovations


Published:

FURNISHINGS | inspired designers

 


ROOM PHOTO BY JEFF GARLAND

 


PORTRAIT OF THE M.J. WHELAN TEAM COURTESY OF M.J. WHELAN CONSTRUCTION

WHO: The team at Milford-based M.J. Whelan Construction (mjwhelan.com), headed by President Matt Whelan, along with Executive Superintendent Chris Huber and Senior Designer Chuck Olewnik, are known for their experience, creativity, and expertise. Innovative craftsmanship is the foundation of the company’s original custom homes, and aptly reflects the unique personalities and lifestyles of their clients. The firm has earned numerous Detroit Home Design Awards over the past four years in categories such as Home Theater, Sustainable Design, and Historic Renovation, just to name a few.

DESIGNERS’ GOAL: The M.J. Whelan design team collaborated closely with their clients to transform the 2,500-square-foot basement, above, of this Milford French Country-style home. “This basement remodel was as fulfilling as it was challenging,” Huber says. “It was a bit tricky to get the long lines and pillars to align perfectly around existing ductwork and plumbing, but after a lot of thought and trials, we managed to pull it off.” The designers constructed a space that met all of the homeowners’ specifications for ample storage, strategic lighting, and an entertainment area, including a bar, billiards room, exercise room, and a game space. The design also features a rear foyer coming in from the backyard that includes cubbies, and a custom barn door to separate that entry. “It was a joy working with the homeowners, who were open-minded in some areas and held steadfast to some of their own ideas,” Huber says. “In the end, the overall feel of the new living space is clean, warm, and inviting. I’m very proud of what our team accomplished here.”

“The details in this space are endless!”
— MATT WHELAN

M.J. WHELAN’S TIPS FOR CREATING A GREAT REFINISHED BASEMENT:
• “Include open concept elements such as glass in the exercise room, so parents have a full view of their kids playing in the entertainment area,” Chuck Olewnik says.
• “Custom built-ins are an excellent solution for storage and housing entertainment units,” Matt Whelan says.

GET THE GOODS

Bellingham Waterstone Collection (in bar area), to the trade, Cambria, cambriausa.com

 

 


Studio Moderno Premier hardwood oak in Fellini, to the trade, Provenza Floors, provenzafloors.com
 
 

 


Townsend roll arm upholstered four-piece sectional with chaise in stone, starting at $4,595, Pottery Barn, Troy, Rochester Hills, and Novi
 


 
 
 


Birmingham 8-foot pool table (not shown) in weathered gray, $5,999, Allstate Home Leisure, five area locations, homeleisure.com

 

Wells leather swivel arm chair in Statesville molasses, $1,299, Pottery Barn, Troy, Rochester Hills, and Novi
 

 


ROOM PHOTO BY MARTIN VECCHIO

 

PORTRAIT BY BRAD ZIEGLER

WHO: For the past 15 years, principal designer Armina Kasprowicz, of Rochester Hills-based Armina Interiors (arminainteriors.com), has been creating beautiful custom interiors by drawing upon her extensive travels and multicultural background. Her fluency with a wide variety of styles and her unique ability to blend them, along with her collaborative approach, is what sets her apart and has helped her earn multiple Detroit Home Design Awards.

DESIGNER’S GOAL: Kasprowicz transformed an otherwise dull and outdated basement in a Rochester Hills home into a luxurious and functional area where family and friends can play and unwind. “The previous space failed to attract family activity because it was divided into separate rooms,” the designer says. “We knocked the walls down to create an open layout.” The basement overhaul, right, included converting an old exercise room into a sophisticated wine cellar with an adjacent small dining area that doubles as a tasting space. Kasprowicz layered different textures, styles, patterns, and finishes, and the result is an elegant yet comfortable environment.

“The challenge was to create a space that would feel sophisticated and modern, while fitting a traditional home.”
— ARMINA KASPROWICZ

ARMINA KASPROWICZ’S TIPS FOR CREATING A GREAT REFINISHED BASEMENT:
• Furnishings from other areas of the house should reflect some continuity in the basement; however, this can also be a space where you can be creative, extravagant, and bold. You can use décor ideas that you love but wouldn’t necessarily apply to your formal living space.
• If the size of the space allows, create a guest suite — it helps to boost the resale value of the home.
• I don’t recommend installing hard-wood flooring and carpets in the basement. A better choice is laminate flooring, because it’s scratch- and moisture-resistant.
• Choose sound-absorbing materials for floors, ceilings, walls, and doors to deaden noises created by lower-level mechanical systems.
• Try to make the space work for everyone, and don’t be afraid to use your imagination to make it fun and adventurous. The goal is to have a layout that encourages the family to spend time together.

GET THE GOODS


Ophelia pendant (not shown in room photo), to the trade, Arteriors, arteriorshome.com

 

 


Lafayette sectional sofa in Opala leather, $4,999, Modloft, modloft.com
 
 

 


Olympia oval mirror, to the trade, Arteriors, arteriorshome.com
 


 
 
 


Venice sconce in bronze with antique mirror (not shown in room photo) by Thomas O’Brien, $629, Circa Lighting, circalighting.com
 

 

Soho arm chair in antique brass and rich chocolate velvet (not shown in room photo), to the trade, Sun Pan, sunpan.com
 

 

 

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